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What is Water Main Flushing?

Water main flushing is an important part of water distribution maintenance as it aids in the improvement of drinking water quality. 

Flushing involves isolating a section of the water distribution system and opening hydrants to release water at a high flow rate.  The increased  water flow  aids in the removal of material that has built up overtime in the water mains , such as biofilm, nodules of iron and accumulated sediment.  Flushing water through the mains continues until the water reaches a satisfactory level of clarity (low turbidity). 

In the Greater Vernon area a unidirectional flushing program is carried out throughout the year starting in the spring time and continuing through until freezing weather limits the program in the fall.  In addition, operation crews use flushing to improve water quality in isolated areas in response to customer concerns or events.  Flushing is an integral part of our regular maintenance program and Greater Vernon Water places regular Notices in the local Sunday newspaper advising of locations that may be affected.  Customers are encouraged to check our website for daily updates.   Operations crews also post signs indicating that there is flushing occurring in the area.  Customers located in the flushing area may notice an increase in the water colour, a decrease in the water clarity and temporary reductions in water pressure.  Greater Vernon Water advises customers to minimize water use when lines are being flushed in their areato reduce impact on household appliances and water systems. Customers may choose to store enough water for one day if it is considered necessary..  Greater Vernon Water strongly suggests that customers not do laundry or operate the dishwasher when flushing is occurring in their area

Should you choose to use water when water main flushing is in your area, you may choose to boil water or use a safe alternative if used for consumption. Customers that are affected by dirty tap water should run their cold water tap closest to their water meter (outside tap if possible) for 2-3 minutes or until it clears. 

It is important to note that even if flushing is not occurring directly on your street, the connecting streets in your area could be affected as well.  For this reason, please be aware of flushing signs that are posted in the surrounding area.