Utility authority to begin water main flushing program Monday

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More than 7.600 fire hydrants are checked as part of the annual water flushing program, which starts today. Photo courtesy CFPUA.
The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority is responsible for more than 7,600 fire hydrants. Photo courtesy CFPUA.

Beginning Monday, and continuing throughout the summer months, crews with the Cape Fear Public Utility’s (CFPUA) Water Quality Section will be conducting the authority’s annual flushing program for its 1,100 mile-long drinking water system.

As part of CFPUA’s commitment to provide safe, reliable drinking water, its crews flush all of its mains to maintain water quality, improve system flow and protect pipe integrity, according to CFPUA Spokesman Mike McGill.

In addition to the 1,100-plus miles of water mains CFPUA maintains, it is also responsible for more than 7,600 fire hydrants and nearly 15,000 water valves. While CFPUA crews flush the system, they also test large water main line valves and fire hydrants to make sure they are operating properly.

This is the third year CFPUA will conduct the program during the summer. Flushing occurs during the summer months because warmer weather can increase the possibility of issues with disinfection byproducts and, with the work being conducted at night, conditions are safer for employees – and customers — by eliminating the potential for nighttime freezing of roadways and sidewalks.

“Flushing is a routine operation, conducted by tens of thousands of water utilities every year,” McGill said in a news release. “During the work, water is forced through pipes at high velocity and systematically flushed out of the fire hydrants, removing accumulated mineral sediment. Because of the process, it is possible that customers may experience periods of low pressure and/or water discoloration while flushing is taking place in their area.

“Therefore, it is recommended that customers refrain from washing clothes and minimize water use while flushing is being conducted. Customers who experience discoloration are advised to run the cold water for at least one minute to allow the lines to clear.”

The program work is conducted between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. to minimize neighborhood impact. The entire flushing program is expected to run through the end of September. Section maps and updates will be posted on CFPUA’s website, www.cfpua.org. Click on the 2015 Flushing Program link under Quick Links.