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System Flushing and Chlorine Disinfection

Illinois American Water has over a century of experience in the state. We take pride in providing our customers with high-quality water and reliable wastewater service. Occasionally, customers have questions about various company practices including water system flushing and the use of chlorine in the water treatment process.

Water System Flushing

We conduct an annual flushing program of our water distribution system to help ensure continued high-quality water service. Flushing the water system entails sending a rapid flow of water through the water mains. As part of the flushing program, fire hydrants are checked and operated to help ensure fire protection in the community.

Flushing of the water distribution system is performed every year primarily to remove sediment in pipes. These sediments, which do not pose a health concern, are comprised mostly of minerals which have accumulated over time in the pipes. An annual flushing program helps to keep fresh and clear water throughout the distribution system.

While a flushing program is underway in your community, you may experience a slight drop in water pressure or temporary water discoloration. Please refrain from doing laundry during the time of day the flushing program is taking place in or near your neighborhood. If tap water is discolored, we recommend allowing several cold-water faucets to run for a short time until the water runs clear. Using more than one faucet allows the water to clear faster.

Flushing Notices
Several different methods are used to notify customers of flushing activity in their area. These may include any of the following:  local media, advertisements in your local newspapers, door tags left at your residence, bill messages, and signs placed in the neighborhood.

Chlorine Disinfection
In addition to system flushing, chlorine disinfection is another important aspect of maintaining distribution system water quality. Chlorine is used as a disinfectant in the water treatment process to defend against the potentially harmful effects of bacteria.

Chlorine levels are maintained in compliance with Illinois EPA regulations for public health protection. Illinois American Water maintains chlorine levels within a specific range in order to optimize the disinfecting process while minimizing the impact of taste and odor of the chlorine. We monitor the levels of chlorine in our distribution system, which allows us to make adjustments when necessary.

Please be aware that some home treatment devices can remove chlorine. If you decide to use a home treatment device, it is important that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintaining the device. To better understand the chlorine levels maintained in your service area, view our most recent water quality report online at

Customers may contact customer service at Illinois American Water, seven days a week, 24 hours a day at 1-800-422-2782.