Operator flushing hydrant

Hydrant Flushing: What’s the Point?

7/18/2018 Hydrant Flushing: What’s the Point?

You have probably seen it many times and thought to yourself, “what a waste of good clean water!” Flushing hydrants can be frustrating to residents, but now you will understand why it is very important! While it may seem like a waste of good clean water, flushing of hydrants is essential to keeping your water safe and maintain the integrity of a pipe. Flushing hydrants can be done to not only test the fire flow capacity in the event of a fire, but also to remove sediment and rust from the water, or to maintain proper chlorine concentrations in your area.

Chlorine naturally degrades the longer it is in water, which means that water sitting in pipes for long periods of time or further out from the treatment plant can have concentrations lower than acceptable, creating danger. Hydrants are flushed to keep water moving and keep pipes from stagnating in this case.

Another reason hydrant flushing can be necessary is if water becomes stagnant in pipes, or water becomes contaminated. Sediments, rust, and even chemicals can sometimes leach into a water system from broken pipes or even the linings of the pipes themselves.

The final reason hydrants may be flushed is to test or record flow values. Pressures and flow rates at hydrants can be drastically affected by other users’ usage of water, or even possibly a burst pipe. Periodical testing ensures that there is enough water supply.

To summarize, if you see a fire hydrant running for hours on end, we aren’t just wasting water. So, why not transport the water unsuitable for drinking to water a park or put it to good use? While this is a noble venture, it often proves much too costly, and dumping the excess down storm drains is the only viable solution.

If you still have questions or concerns about hydrant flushing, call the district!