WATER UTILITY SERVICES

Frequently Asked Questions about the System-Wide Cleaning

Q: Why are you flushing water from hydrants?
A: In some areas water moves very slowly through the distribution pipes, due to lower demand for water. Slow movement may cause sediment to build up over time resulting in a film accumulating along the pipe walls. Flushing lines causes the water to move very quickly, cleaning the pipes and bringing the more freshly chlorinated water down the lines. Particularly when we have temporarily switched disinfectant from chloramines to free chlorine, flushing water throughout the system speeds the transition and aids the cleaning process.

Q: Isn’t flushing a waste of water?
A: Though it may seem like a waste, no. We are required by the state to maintain a certain residual level of disinfectant throughout the system, which would be impossible without routine flushing. Particularly when we have temporarily switched disinfectant from chloramines to free chlorine, flushing water throughout the system speeds the transition and aids the cleaning process. The amount of water used for flushing is relatively small compared to the overall amount of water used throughout the year.

Q: Why are you doing this (changing the water disinfectant from Chloramines to Free Chlorine)?
A: Temporarily converting from chloramines to free chlorine is done, in conjunction with flushing, to clean and remove any built-up material inside the pipes. Overtime sediment and other material can accumulate in water pipes. If not controlled, this can reduce the quality of your drinking water. Material in water pipes can become accustomed to the chloramine disinfectant that is routinely used. Switching to free chlorine, which is a stronger disinfectant, for a short period of time, removes that material and ensures the quality of your water during the flushing process. Using fire hydrants to conduct a system-wide flushing of our distribution mains, combined with the disinfectant change is a very effective method for cleaning out this sediment and other built-up material. This procedure is a standard practice that is used nationwide.

Q: Is there anything I will notice during this process?
A: You may notice a slight chlorine taste and smell to water during this four-week period. This is normal and poses no health risk. If you would like to minimize this odor, you could put a pitcher of water in the refrigerator until cold and then drink.
You may also see our crews with fire hydrants open and water flowing. This is part of the water main flushing activities. The flushing may result in some increased cloudiness, color or sediment in your drinking water for a short period of time.

Q: When will you start?
A: We will begin this process on August 20, 2018 and end approximately September 30.

Q: How long will it last?
A: The system-wide cleaning (conversion from chloramines to free chlorine) will last for approximately 40 days to get to the outer most points of the distribution system.

Q: Is this the first time you have done this?
A: No it is not. We performed this exact same process in 2007, 2011 and 2013. As we continue to grow and expand our distribution system it takes water longer to reach customers. Also in some areas water moves very slowly because of low demand. This leads to the potential for sediment build up and the formation of biofilm.

Q: Do other water systems make this temporary disinfectant switch?
A: Yes. This is common industry practice. Many utilities throughout the country that use chloramines as a distribution system disinfectant, convert to free chlorine annually for water line flushing. This process is recognized by the American Water Works Association as a best management practice and is proven to sustain high quality water, reduce maintenance and extend the overall life of the system.

Q: How will this temporary switch affect kidney dialysis procedures?
A: The processes already in place to remove chloramines in the water will also remove free chlorine. No change or adjustment should be needed. However if you have any concerns, please contact your health care provider for more information.

Q: I have a fish tank. How will it affect my fish?
A: The processes already in place to remove chloramines in the water will also remove free chlorine. No change or adjustment should be needed. However if you have any concerns, please contact a pet store or aquarium expert for more information.

Q: Will there be anything special needed for switching from free chlorine to chloramines after the flushing period for dialysis centers or fish tank owners?
A: All methods for removing chloramines will also remove chlorine, but the reverse is not true. No adjustment should be needed for this temporary conversion to free chlorine, or from free to chloramines, however be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your dechlorination equipment

Q: Who can I contact with additional questions or concerns?
A: Contact our Customer Service Representatives at 299-CITY (2489).