Hydrant flushing typically occurs twice a year—in the spring and fall. Newburyport is currently in the middle of hydrant flushing right now, and it should wrap up in another few weeks. Why does the city do it? Hydrant flushing is beneficial for the city street water pipes and ensures the safe operation of hydrants. However, the process dislodges buildup in the street pipes that then travel to your home. It’s key to know when your street is being flushed so you can take the proper precautions to protect yourself and your home.
When your street is being flushed, your water turns brown, and particles can become lodged in shower heads and faucets and settle in the bottom of water heaters. If your street is currently flushing, you should avoid drinking water from your faucet—this includes water for your pets. Along with clogging water filters and temporarily contaminating your drinking water, hydrant flushing can also discolor clothing if the water is used to do laundry.
When it’s your streets turn to be flushed, I recommend that all of my Blue Ribbon Water customers change their water filter to bypass mode. If you have a water filter, all of that ‘muck’ will be filtered out, which is good. But filters have tiny, tiny pores that can become clogged as the water passes through it, lowering your water pressure and shortening the life of your filter. We alert all of our Blue Ribbon Water customers when it’s time to change their filter settings to preserve its longevity and to give our customers an advanced warning to plan around hydrant flushing schedules.
So how should you plan for hydrant flushing? The City of Newburyport recommends a few steps that apply to both those with and without a filter.
- Keep your eye on the city website for what day your neighborhood is being flushed.
- On that day, limit the use of water and delay doing laundry.
- Avoid drinking water from a faucet.
- Do not use hot water, as particles can settle in the bottom, and take longer to clear.
- We recommend to our customers with filters to put it in ‘bypass’ mode, if available.
- At the end of flushing, run an outside faucet, or utility sink until the water clears up.
- Put your water filter back in operation mode.
Newburyport provides a list of streets every morning on their homepage. They do not publish streets in advance, so you do need to check every day.