Did you happen to notice your water running brown last week? Southborough’s Department of Public Works flushed all the hydrants in town, which DPW Director Karen Galligan says can temporarily discolor the water.
But Galligan says the water is still safe to drink, even though it may not look so appealing. She sent along some information on the flushing program, including how to get your water running clear again.
We flush hydrants throughout town for water quality purposes, it takes us about 4 ½ days to do the entire town, so we are done flushing now (Friday afternoon). We flush the last week of April every year. Even though the water system is designed so that water has several routes to reach any location, generally speaking, most mains tend to flow in one direction. Water travels slowly through the water mains and sediment settles at the bottom of the main. The flushing program reverses the flow of the water in the main. The reverse in flow direction flushes the sediment from the system through the hydrants. We flush the hydrant until the water runs clear.
When a resident uses their water while the main on their street is being flushed they bring the discolored water into their home. The discoloration is just the sediment and it is safe to drink, it just isn’t too appealing (the sediment does have bits of rust, in it). The best way to purge a service of the discolored water is to run cold water until the water runs clear. I suggest using the bathtub faucet because it flows more water. The water should run clear in 10-20 minutes, unless your service is very long, then it may take longer.
If you have aerators on your faucets you might want to rinse them out in case the screen caught any debris. If your hot water is discolored, it means that you pulled the sediment into the water tank. You should flush out your service with the cold water faucets and then, when you are sure you have purged the pipes in your home and everything is running clear, you should run your hot water and try to clear that up.