Illinois American Water to make Annual Treatment Change Work includes Flushing of Water Mains and Fire Hydrants

Alton, Ill. (Sept. 16, 2022) – Illinois American Water’s Alton District water system is undergoing an annual treatment change starting Sept. 19.  This change is temporary.  Work will also include the flushing of water mains and fire hydrants.  The treatment change and hydrant flushing support continued water quality and fire protection to homes and businesses; it will occur across the Alton District water distribution system for the next several weeks.  The maintenance program will occur in all direct service communities in the Alton District, including Alton, Godfrey, Grafton, Elsah, Forest Homes-Maple Park, Joywood areas and also sale-for-resale (wholesale) communities including – Chautauqua, Fosterburg Water District, Jersey County Rural Water and the Village of Brighton.

Treatment Change
Illinois American Water’s water quality team will be switching treatment to a form of chlorine known as “free chlorine,” which does not contain ammonia. This stronger disinfectant is typically used by water utilities when flushing water mains and fire hydrants. Chlorine is commonly used in public water systems as a disinfectant and is monitored closely by our water quality professionals.

During the temporary treatment change, customers may experience a more noticeable chlorine taste or odor in their water. There is no reason for concern. This is due to the switch in chlorine types. 

Institutions with additional water purification filters for special needs, for instance Hospitals and Dialysis Centers, have been contacted about this work and are aware of the treatment change. Anyone with questions about home health care equipment should reach out to their healthcare provider.


During this period, fire hydrants will be evaluated for functionality, repaired when necessary, and flushed.  The process of periodically flushing hydrants is essential in identifying fire hydrants in need of repair and maintaining optimal water quality throughout the potable water distribution system. 

Through the discharge of water from the fire hydrant(s), water flow rates are increased to provide a scouring effect that removes mineral deposits that may accumulate in the water main.  While the majority of mineral deposits are removed from the hydrant discharge, it is not uncommon for customers to experience a temporary discoloration of water within their residence or dwelling.  The removal of these deposits is critical in maintaining water quality.

When fire hydrant flushing is occurring, the following items should be considered:

  • If possible, avoid using water while flushing is taking place. Use of water during the flushing event may result in discolored water entering the premise plumbing of the residence or dwelling. 
  • If you encounter discolored water during hydrant flushing, run water from the cold water tap only until discoloration subsides. Do not use hot water until discoloration is no longer present when flushing from the cold water tap.  This may require flushing of cold water from multiple taps. 
  • Do not do laundry during, or shortly after, the hydrant flushing event. Discolored water may stain fabrics.
  • If, after flushing from the cold water tap(s), water pressure appears lower than normal, clean the faucet aerator. Mineral deposits may obstruct flow through the aerator (screen), resulting in lower pressure.
  • When water discoloration or pressure problems persist, contact Illinois American Water at 800-422-2782.
  • For additional concerns, regarding potential water quality issues, contact the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency at 217-782-1020 or Illinois Emergency Management Agency at 800-782-7860.



The maintenance program will occur in all direct service communities in the Alton District including -Alton, Godfrey, Grafton, Elsah, Forest Homes-Maple Park, Joywood areas and also sale-for-resale (wholesale) communities Chautauqua, Fosterburg Water District, Village of Brighton and Jersey County Rural Water. Customers are being notified of this work by Illinois American Water via the company’s notification system which calls, emails and/or texts customers based on their preferences.  Customers are encouraged to update their contact information so they can receive communications about water service emergencies and work.  Customers can update their information online via MyWater or by calling 800-422-2782.  For additional information, customers can visit or contact Illinois American Water’s customer service center at 1-800-422-2782.

Illinois American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and wastewater services to approximately 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville. For more information, visit and follow Illinois American Water on Twitter and Facebook.


Media Contacts

Karen Cotton

Senior Manager External Communications