Liquid News

IRWD Stresses the Importance of Flushing Water Lines

The Care and Feeding of Fire Hydrants

Customers who notice Irvine Ranch Water District crews working at fire hydrants and see water running into the street may think that the District is ignoring its own water conservation philosophy. This is quite the contrary - the periodic process of “flushing” fire hydrants is an important step in preventive maintenance.

“Although it may appear to waste water, this process is part of a routine maintenance program necessary to maintain the integrity of the water system and to continue delivering the highest quality water possible to our customers,” said John Hills, director of water quality.

Flushing the water system on a routine basis removes sediment from lines and keeps the entire distribution system refreshed. IRWD began this preventive maintenance program in 1993. During the first full cycle it took two years for crews to travel through the entire District flushing hydrants in one neighborhood at a time. IRWD maintains some 900 miles of drinking water lines throughout its service area from the foothills to the ocean.

All fire hydrants and water mains more than 12 inches in diameter are flushed annually. Water mains that are less than 12 inches in diameter are cleaned every three years.

During the flushing procedure, residents in the immediate vicinity of the work might experience a temporary discoloration of their water. This is primarily because of harmless silt and does not affect the safety of the water. Crews post signs in the areas in which they are working to help make customers aware of the preventative maintenance activity. If you experience discoloration in your water after crews have been flushing in your neighborhood, clear the pipes in your home by running all of the water faucets for a minute or two.

More water IRWD quality information is available on our website.

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