From radiators to water mains, flushing is a great way to make sure everything is in good working order. It is vital to public safety that fire hydrants work when we need them. The BCWA hydrant flushing program gives the crews a chance to inspect each hydrant to make sure it’s good working order. Flushing removes sand and sediment that settles in the water mains over time. Flushing is also a good practice for ensuring water quality by turning over some of the water that may have been at the dead end of a line.

What is the Water Main (Hydrant) Flushing Program?
The BCWA distribution system includes approximately 230 miles of water pipes, and 1000 fire hydrants. To improve water quality and minimize discoloration, BCWA water mains are flushed yearly. The procedure is performed in warm-weather months and involves the systematic opening and closing of hydrants, one section of main at a time, to force the water through the pipes at high velocity, removing accumulated mineral sediment until the water is clear. The operation can take from a few minutes to over an hour, although most last about 10 minutes.

How Will Flushing Affect Water Service?
Flushing will generally improve the quality of the water. Residents in the immediate vicinity of the flushing may notice a slight drop in water pressure, cloudy water from air in the lines or sediment in the water. Flushing operations may also lead to discolored water, which can be drawn into homes and businesses if the water is being used during or immediately following the flushing. Such events should affect customers for a few hours at most. The discoloration is caused by iron (red color) or manganese (black color) particles being dislodged from the water main which can stain porcelain and laundry. Try to avoid using water or doing laundry if flushing is occurring nearby. If discoloration occurs, open the cold tap nearest the water meter – usually a basement sink – to full flow until the water runs clear. In some situations this may take 5 to 10 minutes. At BCWA, flushing is performed during the evening (10pm -5am) so that disruption to customers is kept to a minimum.

This work is part of ongoing efforts to improve water quality and delivery throughout Bristol County. Thank you for your patience, cooperation and understanding. Any questions about the program may be directed to BCWA at 245-2022

A schedule for Flushing during Spring 2014 is:

Barrington – April 27 – May 8
Warren – May 6 – May 15
Bristol –May 13– June 12

Should you have any concerns or problems please call our emergency telephone number 401-245-5071.


Thank you for your cooperation