Annual Fire Hydrant Flushing

Residents may experience water discolouration and pressure fluctuations from September to October 30 as a result of routine water main flushing to ensure the continued delivery of clean, safe drinking water. Higher flow rates have the potential of releasing particles of rust from the interior surfaces of older, cast iron water mains.  Although this does not represent a health concern, residents in the affected area may experience a slight red or brown discolouration in their tap water.  Customers are advised to avoid washing laundry if they notice the discolouration. 

What is water main cleaning (hydrant flushing)?
The City needs to periodically release water from hydrants.  Hydrant flushing is necessary to test the hydrants to make sure adequate flow and pressure is available.  Flushing is also done to remove sediment from the pipes in order to maintain water clarity and quality in the distribution pipes.
Do you see sediment or discoloured water in your tap water?
Hydrant flushing activities may create temporary instances of discoloured water from sediment.
While drinking small quantities of discoloured water is not likely to cause a health risk, it is recommended that residents wait until the water runs clear before consuming water.  If you see discoloured water coming out of your faucet, please wait 2 hours to allow for the sediment to settle.  Then run your cold water tap (not hot) for a short period of time until the water runs clear.  You may need to remove and clean the tap screen.
Should you have any questions, please contact our Water Wastewater Division at (519) 631-0368.
Does this affect my property?
If you receive municipal water and wastewater services, hydrant flushing will impact your home or business.  Please continue reading the following important information on how flushing may affect your property.
When does watermain cleaning (hydrant flushing) take place?
The City of St. Thomas's annual flushing program begins in the fall and normally takes place in the evening to help reduce impact on residents.
How can you find out when flushing is happening?
The City of St. Thomas Water Wastewater Division uses the following methods to inform customers of planned hydrant flushing:
     -   Post notification on City Website
     -   Post on Social Media
NOTE:  Due to the regular operational work taking place during the hydrant flushing period, we are unable to provided exact timelines for flushing on a specific street.
 
What do I do if my Medical Equipment depends on water?
Customers with medical equipment requiring continuous water supply or continuous water pressure are requested to contact the Water Wastewater Division at 519-631-0368.
How can you reduce drawing discoloured water into your plumbing?
Put water softeners on bypass to avoid excessive amounts of iron or manganese passing through the media filter to reduce drawing discoloured water into your plumbing.  If possible, leave it off during the advertised flushing timeline.
What should I do if I see Water Staff on my street flushing a hydrant?
Do not flush toilets or turn taps on.  Ensure water softeners are on bypass to prevent recycling during the process and to avoid excessive amounts of iron or manganese passing through the media filter.  Leave off for several hours.
What if you are not home during flushing?
Upon return, check the clarity of water by running a cold water faucet in the basement or main floor (closest point of entry).
What should I do if I see discoloured water coming out of my faucet?
If you see a reddish, yellow, or brown tint to your tap water, do not be alarmed.  It is recommended you do not use the water or do laundry for about 2 hours.  This will give the sediment time to settle.  After 2 hours, run a cold water faucet for about 5 minutes to make sure the water is clear.  Do not choose a faucet with a water filter connected to it, as sediment may clog the filter.  Do not use a hot water tap as doing so may draw sediment into your hot water tank.  If water pressure or water volume seem low after flushing has been completed, check faucet screens for trapped particles.
If the water does not clear after 30 minutes, or you have reduced pressure or flow, please contact the Water Wastewater Division at 519-631-0368.