WMU flushing hydrants  again

Published 11:24 am Tuesday, April 4, 2017

As Winchester Municipal Utilities completes its annual hydrant flushings, customers can expect some minor differences in their water.

WMU General Manager Mike Flynn said hydrant flushing is required annually by the Kentucky Division of Water.

“When they perform as inspection of our facilities, the waste water treatment plant and the distribution system, they ensure that we’ve done the flowings every year,” Flynn said.

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Flynn said hydrant flushings take place every spring and start with the hydrant closest to the water treatment plant.

“We then move through the system from one end of the county to the other,” he said. “We’ll end up on the eastern portion of the county around Powell County and Mount Sterling area.”

Flynn said flushing an individual hydrant takes approximately 10 minutes, but the county-wide process lasts about five weeks. Depending on the age of the infrastructure, some customer may notice the flushings more than others, he said.

“There is some potential for discolored water,” Flynn warns. “Some areas are a little more difficult than others. With newer pipes in the ground, some neighborhoods might not see as much discoloration or other problems. Older areas are going to see discoloration.”

Flynn said customers should also anticipate some changes in water pressure and volume.

“If we’re flowing a hydrant in your area and have it wide open, a home down the street might notice some pressure drop off,” he said. “Volume and pressure typically go hand in hand. You might also notice that a faucet that typically has a strong stream might only have a half stream. That’s only going to occur while we’re in the area, though.”

Flynn said flushings are necessary for two reasons: to ensure the quality of water and to test pressures of hydrants.

“Moving water through the pipes helps remove the sediment and is going to improve water quality for drinking and other consumption purposes,” he said. “The discoloration caused by this has nothing to do with contamination of the water. What we’re doing is pulling the tuberculation of minerals in the water that form in the pipes. Minerals like calcium and iron that are naturally-occurring with water react with the pipes. Flushing the hydrants removes those deposits from the pipes.”

The other benefit of flushing hydrants is to check the pressure and flow velocities, which is important for local fire departments.

“The fire department uses that number to submit insurance rates for our community,” Flynn said. “Right now we have a class 2 rating, which is the highest for communities our size. We try to do our best to maintain that rating.”

Flynn said customers who experience discolored water can flush their lines by running a faucet wide open for a few minutes in their home. Customers should also avoid washing clothes on the day when their street is scheduled for flushing to avoid any discoloration of clothing from the water, he said.

Flush schedules are posted daily on the Winchester Municipal Utilities Facebook page, in The Winchester Sun and at wmutilities.com.

Flynn encourages customers to report any discoloration or other problems to the WMU front office by calling 744-5434, but stresses that water is still safe for drinking and other use and undergoes the same quality tests required year-round.

“The water is not harmful in any way,” he said.

About Whitney Leggett

Whitney Leggett is managing editor of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. To contact her, email whitney.leggett@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0049.

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