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Twice a year, the Fire Department flushes water lines through the City’s fire hydrants. Hydrant flushing is an important preventive maintenance activity that maintains the integrity of the water system and enables the Fire Department to ensure hydrants are in working order. The flushing removes sediment and deposits that naturally accumulate in water pipes. Removing these materials through flushing maintains the quality of our water.
Hydrant flushing is similar to draining and flushing your own home water heater (which should be done regularly, according to manufacturer’s instructions). Flushing your own water heater also ensures the water quality in your home by removing sediment and deposits that build up in the water heater.
The Fire Department flushes hydrants by district. View the Department’s street listing (PDF) to determine your flushing district (PDF), then view the Hydrant Flushing Calendar (PDF) to see when hydrants in your neighborhood will be flushed. Please drive with caution when Fire Department crews are in the streets flushing hydrants.
If tap water is used during flushing, it may contain sediment and some discoloration. If the water is discolored, simply shut the water off and wait a few minutes. Then run cold water for a few minutes to allow new water to enter your pipes. If the water is still discolored, wait a few more minutes and run the water again. In some cases, discoloration will occur for a few hours. This discoloration only affects the appearance of the water – it does not affect the taste or quality.
Avoid washing laundry during scheduled flushing times, as the flushed sediment could discolor white clothing. Wait until the water runs clear at the tap, then wash a load of dark clothes first. If you wash clothes during flushing and they are discolored or stained from the water, contact the Fire Department. The Department has a supply of Rover, a special detergent that can remove stains caused by flushed sediment.
Yes, the water is safe. However, the Fire Department recommends that you run the cold water until it is clear. If the water pressure or volume seems low, check your faucet screens or trapped particles.