Recently, community members may have seen city personnel flushing out hydrants within Washington Court House.
David Gardner, the superintendent of the Waste Water Treatment Plant, explained the process of flushing out the system is done once a year—with the decision of when and how to flush it being made by Lance Heath, distribution superintendent.
“We run our system a little bit differently than a typical entity. We have high-service pumps here at the water plant that actually puts water into the system after we’ve cleaned it—created the product. They pump the water out into the system and into the towers. A lot of folks, in fact most places, will fill their water towers and then kind of shut down and let their water towers give the city their water. We never shut off—we run 24/7, 365. We never shut down, we never stop producing water unless a dire emergency happens,” said Gardner.
Since the pumps are never shut off, the flow of water remains consistent.
“Certain things will precipitate out. You get a little bit of sediment here and there, and what happens is, overtime, that stuff will kind of settle on the bottom of the pipes,” said Gardner.
The process of cleaning out the sediment involves systematically working from one end of town to the other, according to Gardner, by going against the usual flow of water in the pipes. Changing direction helps to knock the sediment loose and exit via the hydrants.
“If left unattended long enough, you run the risk of it becoming worse,” said Gardner.
Occassionally, if a person turns their water on when this occurs, they may notice sediment coming out with the water.
“Usually if you let it run for a little bit, it’ll clear up on its own. It’s usually just a very (small amount) of water that may or may not get sucked into your line. Let it clear up, and everything should go back to normal for everybody,” he said.
Not only does flushing the hydrants help to clear sediment, it also checks to make sure all hydrants are working. If a hydrant is not working properly, the local fire department is informed and maintenance can be scheduled, according to Gardner.
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.