As part of its ongoing preventative maintenance program, Bristol County Water Authority (BCWA) will be conducting its fire hydrant flushing program over the next few weeks. Flushing will be done on Sunday through Thursday nights between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Customers may temporarily experience discolored water when hydrants in their neighborhood are flushed. If you experience discolored water after 6:00 a.m., run the cold water for 5-10 minutes until it clears

Please call the BCWA Emergency number at 401-245-5071 if you have questions or concerns.

Planned Flushing Schedule 

  • Week of 4/16    –   Barrington
  • Week of 4/23    –   Barrington and Warren
  • Week of 4/30    –   Warren
  • Week of 5/7      –   Warren and Bristol
  • Week of 5/14    –   Bristol


Q. Why does the BCWA perform hydrant flushing?
A. Hydrant flushing is the quick release of water from fire hydrants. It’s a controlled procedure that is vital to the general maintenance of the town’s water distribution system. It ensures adequate water flow is available to firefighters, residents, and businesses. It also helps maintain the town’s water quality by clearing iron and mineral deposits from the water mains (distribution pipes).

Q. What are the effects of hydrant flushing?
A. Hydrant flushing helps ensure consistent water quality and helps avoid the random incidence of rusty water if there is a high demand for water, such as a major firefighting effort or high usage during a sustained drought.  Sometimes hydrant flushing can make makes the water temporarily appear rust-colored because the iron and mineral deposits in the water get stirred up.

Q. Why is my water discolored from the hydrant flushing? Is the water safe?
A. Sometimes hydrant flushing can make the water temporarily appear rust-colored because the iron and mineral deposits in the water get stirred up. Water is safe to use and consume during hydrant flushing, however, it may stain laundry. The main component of the discoloration of the water during hydrant flushing is caused by iron deposits from inside the water mains. The source of the iron is naturally occurring from groundwater wells and deposits in the ductile iron pipe that makes up the underground water distribution system.

Q. Why is my water is discolored, but my neighbor didn’t notice any discoloration?
A. If you were home when the flushing was going on and you turned on your water, your water may be discolored because you are drawing in the water as the distribution system flushing stirs up the minerals and iron. If your neighbors were not home all day and returned home in the evening and turned on their tap when no flushing was occurring, they most likely will not notice any discoloration.

Q. My water is discolored. What should I do?
A. Wait until flushing has subsided in your area then run the cold water tap until the water runs clear. If you have a water softener and are experiencing discolored water, place the unit into regeneration or cleaning mode after hydrant flushing is completed in your area. Remember discolored water is safe, but it may stain laundry. If this happens, keep clothes wet and treat them with stain remover.

Fire Hydrant Flushing Program
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