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Water Main (Hydrant) Flushing Program

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What is the Water Main (Hydrant) Flushing Program?
To improve water quality and minimize discoloration, City of Eau Claire water mains are comprehensively flushed.  The procedure involves the systematic opening and closing of hydrants, one section of main at a time, to force the water through the pipes at high velocity, removing accumulated mineral sediment until the water is clear.  The operation may take from a few minutes to over an hour.

How will flushing affect water service?
When flushing crews are working close to your residence or business, you may experience periods of very low pressure or even a complete stoppage of service.  We attempt to notify customers in advance if flushing is expected to result in a complete water outage, but such outages are rare.

Flushing operations may also lead to discolored water, which can be drawn into homes and businesses if the water is being used during or immediately following the flushing.  Such events should affect customers for a few hours at most.  The discoloration is caused by iron (red color) or manganese (black color) particles being dislodged from the water main which can stain porcelain and laundry.  If discoloration occurs, open the cold tap nearest the water meter—usually a basement sink—to full flow until the water runs clear. In some situations this may take 5 to 10 minutes.  It is also advised that you make sure your water is clear before doing laundry or other projects for which discolored water could cause problems.

What are the benefits of hydrant flushing?
• Improve water quality and remove mineral deposits from water mains
• Ensure that all hydrants are functioning properly for fire protection
• Helps verify sufficient flow for fire protection
• Draws in freshly treated water to low flow areas

When is hydrant flushing performed?
The procedure is usually performed in warm-weather months toward the end of summer and into early fall.  During the flushing season, most crews work between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, with some employees working at night from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., primarily in the Downtown and Third Ward areas.

A precise schedule of flushing operations is difficult to determine more than a day or two in advance.  If you would like more information or would like to be notified before work will be done in your area, please call 715-839-5045 to speak with an employee of the Utilities Division.