There are many benefits received from flushing hydrants:
- Enhances water quality by removing sediments from mainline pipes,
- Helps to find any weaknesses in the water system,
- Confirms that fire hydrants and valves are operating correctly,
- Aids in identifying closed valves and weak flows in the water main, AND
- Makes sure there is ample water flow for fighting fires.
The City of Cedarburg has about 625 hydrants, and CL&W is required by the Department of Natural Resources to “flush” each hydrant annually. In Cedarburg, every hydrant is flushed in the spring. The entire process takes about two weeks, allowing for five to seven minutes per hydrant. During the flushing, CL&W personnel grease the hydrant’s valve and analyze the water pressure. About 7,000 gallons are flushed through each hydrant, at a cost of about $22.40 per hydrant. Your water bill includes a “Fire Flow Capacity Charge," which helps cover the cost of maintaining fire hydrants in Cedarburg.
During the hydrant flushing, some customers may experience temporary discoloration of water. If this happens to you, you can turn on an outside spigot or a cold water tap in the lowest level of your home, and let the water flow until it clears. The discoloration is caused by harmless mineral deposits which settle in the water main and are stirred during the flushing activity.
If your home or business is at the highest elevation in Cedarburg (west of Harrison and north of Bridge), you may experience a temporary reduction in water pressure during flushing. Because of the elevation, gravity does not force the water through the pipes quite like it does elsewhere in Cedarburg. Booster pumps are routinely operated to maintain adequate pressure, but during flushing, the pressure may temporarily decline if too many customers are trying to use the water at the same time. The pressure will quickly return to normal for household use once the flushing is complete.
When you see Cedarburg Light & Water personnel flushing hydrants, you can feel good knowing they are performing important preventive maintenance to insure the integrity of the water system so we can deliver the highest quality of water to our customers.