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Hydrant flushing program to begin Feb. 15

Annual program helps maintain pipes, storm water system

Post Date:01/29/2018

Worker flushing a hydrant in Vacaville.The City of Vacaville Public Works Department is set to resume its annual hydrant flushing program beginning February 15.

The first area of the City to be addressed will be the Foxboro area.

Hydrant flushing is part of a routine maintenance program that is necessary to maintain the integrity of the city-wide water system. Flushing the system removes sediment and deposits, which can cause water quality deterioration and taste and odor problems. Water from the hydrants is dechlorinated and enters the City’s storm water system, which in turn allows Public Works staff to identify any potential problems in the system. 

Flushing normally takes place between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. If after the pipes in your neighborhood are flushed and you see discoloration in your water, you should:

  • From the bathtub furthest from the front of your home, open the bathtub cold water valve fully and allow the water to run for several minutes and then shut the bathtub faucet off. 
  • Now from your kitchen sink faucet, run cold water and check the clarity.
  • If the water is still not clear, wait a few more minutes and check again.

In some cases, you may experience slight discoloration for a few hours as your home water pipes continue to be flushed of the discolored water. This discoloration only affects the appearance of the water; it does not affect the taste or water quality.

If you have any questions, please call the Public Works Maintenance Division at (707) 469-6500. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: Why does the water system need to be routinely flushed?
A: The city’s water distribution system is a complex network of pipes and storage reservoirs where sediment or deposits may naturally accumulate over time. If not removed, these materials may cause water quality deterioration, taste and odor problems, or discoloration of the water. Water may also lose its chlorine residual in lesser used parts of the distribution system, resulting in degraded water quality. Flushing removes the “old” dechlorinated water, replacing it with fresh water. We refer to this as “turning over the water” in the system.

Q: When does flushing normally occur?
A: Normally, flushing takes place for approximately two months during early spring, starting mid‐February. Flushing is done during daylight hours (7AM – 3PM) so staff can properly monitor the activity while maintaining the highest degree of safety while working in the roadway.

Q: What should I do when I see city crews flushing hydrants in my area?
A: If you see a city crew flushing hydrants, PLEASE DRIVE CAREFULLY.

Q: What should I do after the flushing?
A: You could see some water discoloration at the tap due to hydrant flushing. If you encounter discolored water, close the sink tap. From the bathtub furthest from the front of your home, open the bathtub cold water valve fully and allow the water to run for several minutes and then shut the bathtub faucet off. Now from your kitchen sink faucet run cold water and check the clarity. If the water is still not clear, wait a few more minutes and check again. In some cases, you may experience slight discoloration for a few hours as your home water pipes continue to be flushed of the discolored water. This discoloration only affects the appearance of the water; it does not affect the taste or water quality.

Q: What should I do if my water pressure or volume seems low after flushing?
A: Check your faucet and washer screens for trapped debris.

Q: Why does the water look funny after hydrant flushing?
A: When a hydrant is opened, there will always be temporary incidences of discolored water containing fine sediment particles. There is no health hazard associated with discolored water. Allow a few hours for discoloration to dissipate. To verify the water has settled, allow your cold water tap to run a few minutes. If the discoloration persists for more than twenty‐four (24) hours, please contact our Public Works Maintenance staff at (707) 469‐6500.

Q: Is it OK to drink sediment‐laden or discolored water after a nearby hydrant is flushed?
A: The water provided to your home is contained within a closed, chlorinated system, and is safe for human consumption. However, it is always recommended that water users take measures described above to flush the water system within your house to achieve clarity, or simply wait until the water has cleared naturally before using it for potable purposes.