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How to Prepare for Hydrant Flushing – Scheduling & Tips

By Bill Cooper, Newburyport.Com Correspondent
As President & Co-Founder of Blue Ribbon Water, Bill Cooper utilizes his extensive sales and marketing experience combined with strong knowledge of local municipal water challenges to create an environmentally conscious company that delivers whole house water filtration systems. Blue Ribbon Water’s focus is to deliver “Cleaner, Healthier, Great Tasting Water” (sm) throughout the entire home, restaurant, or business. The company was founded on three simple principles: 1) Be the expert on the water in each town we do business, so our solutions is the best possible. 2) Deliver superior full customer service including installation and scheduled filter changes. 3) Be honest and don’t sell customers what they don’t need. Other water filter companies, or plumbers who do water filters ‘on the side’, lack in all these areas. For instance, many residents are told they need an expensive water softener when they do not. City water rarely needs a water softener. Other companies leave it up to the customer to remember to have their filter changed. Blue Ribbon Water keeps a database of filter changes and automatically alerts the customer. Bill has lived in Newbury with his wife Debra for over 30 years. They raised their two boys here, and Bill was on the Newbury Finance Committee.
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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.

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