Hydrant Flushing Facts & Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we perform hydrant flushing?
Hydrant flushing is important to the general maintenance of Township's water distribution system. Regular inspection and testing of fire hydrants, and flushing the hydrants is required for compliance with the New Jersey Water Quality Accountability Act and ensures adequate water flow is available to residents, businesses, and firefighters. It also helps maintain water quality by clearing iron and other mineral deposits from the water distribution mains. Hydrant flushing helps ensure water quality and reduces the occurrence of rusty water during periods of high water demand, such as a major firefighting effort or high usage during a sustained drought.
Why is my water rust colored from the hydrant flushing?
Hydrant flushing may make the water temporarily appear rust-colored because the iron and mineral deposits in the water system get stirred up. Homeowners should also routinely drain and flush the house water heater as iron and mineral deposits will collect in the bottom of the tank.
Is my water safe?
Although your water may be discolored during hydrant flushing and may look unclear or tinted, your water is safe and is not harmful or contaminated. The water is safe to use and consume, however it may stain laundry. The main component of the discoloration of the water during hydrant flushing is caused by iron deposits from inside the water mains. The source of the iron is naturally occurring from ground water and deposits in the iron pipes that make up the water distribution system.
Does my water get tested regularly?
The Township of East Brunswick is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to test the water in our system throughout the year. Chlorine levels and pH are monitored daily. To ensure the highest possible quality of water and in accordance with regulations, samples are collected from areas throughout the water system each month and tested for bacteriological contamination. The results of these tests are outlined in the annual Water Quality Report (sometimes called the Consumer Confidence Report) available on the Water Utility website at www.ebwaterutility.org. The most recent report shows the Township of East Brunswick's water complies with all required testing parameters.
Why is my water is discolored, but my neighbor didn’t notice any discoloration?
If you are home when the flushing is going on and you turn on your water it may be discolored because you are drawing in the water as the distribution system is being flushed and stirring up the iron and mineral deposits. If your neighbors turned on their tap when no flushing is occurring, they most likely will not notice any discoloration.
What should I do if my water is discolored?
If possible wait until flushing has subsided in your area then run the cold water tap until the water runs clear. If you have a water softener and are experiencing discolored water, place the unit into regeneration or cleaning mode after hydrant flushing is completed in your area. Remember rust colored water is safe, but it may stain laundry. If this happens, keep clothes wet and treat them with stain remover.
How often is hydrant flushing done?
Hydrant flushing is performed throughout the system two times a year; generally once in the spring and again in the fall.
Tips for Minimizing Water Discoloration during Hydrant Flushing Operations
If possible, limit your water use.
Wait until flushing has subsided in your area then run the cold water tap until the water runs clear.
Remember rust colored water is safe, but it may stain laundry. If this happens, keep clothes wet and treat them with stain remover.