The process of periodically flushing fire hydrants is an important preventive maintenance activity. This allows DPW employees to test hydrants for flow and operations. Should any repairs be required it is noted and the repairs are scheduled before cold weather sets in. At this time the hydrants are also pumped down to prevent freezing during the winter season.
Flushing, although it may appear to waste water, provides the DPW the means to clean and refresh the entire water distribution system. By discharging a large volume of water through a fire hydrant, water flow within the pipeline is increased. This increased flow actually scours the inside of the pipeline, removing and then transporting silt and mineral deposits out of the water system.
The above procedures are necessary to maintain the integrity of the water system.
During the flushing process, it is not uncommon for a yellow, brown or reddish tint to appear in the water. Harmless mineral deposits settle in the water mains and flushing the fire hydrants stirs the deposits sometimes causing discoloration of the water.
The main impact of hydrant flushing is discolored water. Here’s what you should do if hydrant flushing is taking place in your neighborhood:
- If possible avoid using water while the hydrant flushing is taking place. By not using water from the tap (cold or hot) or running appliances that use water (dishwashers and washing machines), you can prevent discolored water from entering your household plumbing system altogether.
- If you encounter discolored water following hydrant flushing, run the cold water taps only. Do not use hot water taps throughout your home at bathroom sinks, tubs, kitchen faucets etc. for 5 to 15 minutes or until water clears. This allows discolored water to work its way out of your household plumbing system. By not using your hot water taps, this should prevent discolored water from entering your hot water system. If you do experience discolored water on your hot side, flush in the same manner as the cold system.
- Don’t do laundry while or shortly after flushing is taking place. The discolored water can sometimes stain fabrics. Wait until water runs clear at your taps before using your washing machine, and wash a load of dark clothes first.
- If laundry appears to be stained, keep articles wet. Do Not Dry. Rewash load using a stain/rust remover (such as a product called “Rust Out”). Do Not Use Bleach on stained laundry as bleach will “set” the stain.
- If, after flushing your water pressure or volume seems low, clean faucet screens to remove silt and mineral sediment that could be obstructing water flow.
Important NoticeIf you notice anyone using a fire hydrant other then the Brownstown Fire Department or the Water & Sewer Department, please notify us at once during normal business hours at 734-675-4000. If it occurs after hours, please notify the Police Department at 734-675-1300. Do NOT CALL 911. It is illegal to use our fire hydrants without a permit from the Water & Sewer Department.