The City of Attleboro maintains an annual program of hydrant flushing over a period of several weeks in the Spring or the Fall. Flushing is performed to improve the overall long-term quality of the water and is carried out as long as drought conditions do not prevail. Flushing generally is started in areas closest to the water treatment facility and progresses outward from there.
The flushing process removes accumulated sediments, such as iron and manganese precipitates, as well as any other material which may have infiltrated the distribution system during a water break or during water main construction. Whenever a hydrant is opened, the interruption in water flow causes these sediments to become dislodged and move along in the system.
Some sediments may travel to residential water services and momentarily affect the quality of tap water. The water may appear dirty or discolored. For this reason flushing is performed during the overnight hours to minimize any disruption to water quality. If your area is scheduled for overnight flushing, or if you notice the flushing crew working in your neighborhood, avoid doing laundry or otherwise using the water if at all possible.
If you do experience dirty water due to hydrant flushing, run the cold water in the house for several minutes until the water runs clear and clean once again. While hydrant flushing might appear wasteful, it is essential in maintaining the cleanest and safest drinking water possible. It also provides the opportunity to test the operation of the fire hydrants and their ability to aid in fighting fires.