Hydrant flushing is an essential part of our annual system maintenance program
Each year, Pennsylvania American Water flushes the pipes in its water distribution system. This is an essential part of our system maintenance program, which helps us to continue to provide you with high-quality water service. Although we’ve been carrying out this maintenance program for decades, we do receive questions from time to time about why we flush.
Why flushing is important
Flushing our system helps to clean out any buildup of mineral deposits and sediment inside the pipes. These harmless deposits can occur when there is a reduced water demand. We also flush our hydrants to make sure they are operational and to check fire flows in our system.
How we flush our pipelines
Flushing involves simultaneously opening fire hydrants in a specific area to create increased water flows. When crews are in your area, you may notice a drop in water pressure or discolored water. Discolored water may occur because the sediment in water mains gets stirred up when the fire hydrants are used and when the flow of water in mains is changed. This is normal. If this happens, it is not harmful. Simply let your water run until it is clear.
What to do to prepare for flushing in your neighborhood
- Draw water for cooking ahead of time.
- Store a large bottle of water in the refrigerator for drinking.
- Check for discolored water before using the washing machine or dishwasher
Note: If your laundry becomes stained, DO NOT USE BLEACH AND DO NOT PUT YOUR LAUNDRY IN THE DRYER. Rewash clothes immediately using more detergent or a heavy duty detergent and add a rust remover. Most rust removers can also be used on stained fixtures.
We'll notify you when we're getting ready to flush your neighborhood
We use our customer notification system to notify customers before we begin flushing in their neighborhood. To receive these alerts by phone, text and/or email, you must opt-in to these types of non-emergency alerts. These alerts are also posted to our Alerts page.
Enrolling is easy. Log on to our online customer portal, MyWater. On the Alert Settings tile, click on the Edit button, which will take you to the page where you can update your contact information and preferences. Or, contact Customer Service at 1-800-565-7292.
Want more info?
Download our 2021 Hydrant Flushing 1-Pager.
Building Flushing After Dormant Periods
As buildings reopen following the COVID-19 public health emergency, businesses, school districts and property management teams will begin the process of restarting building systems that have been dormant for a significant amount of time. Proper reopening procedures help in verifying that water systems and equipment are in safe working order.
Extended periods of inactivity can cause lead leaching or legionella growth. Taking proper steps can help minimize potential exposure to both these contaminants.