Hydrant Flushing to Resume Next Week
Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018
Town of Hillsborough personnel will resume flushing and performing basic maintenance of fire hydrants in the town’s water system early next week.
The program, which was suspended as Hurricane Florence approached the state, was initially thought to be the cause of last week’s discoloration in the town’s drinking water. The discoloration was later determined to be caused by lowering the water level in the town’s reservoir to avoid damage to the under-construction spillway.
Hillsborough’s water remains safe to drink and use despite discoloration, which can occur when small particles of iron and manganese that have settled in a water main are stirred up. Similarly, when air bubbles enter the water system during flushing, they may cause cloudiness in the water.
Those who see discoloration in their water should use the water from their faucets to flush their water lines. If the water does not clear within five to 10 minutes, contact the town at 919-732-3621.
If discoloration is present, water customers should avoid washing light-colored fabrics because the higher levels of iron and manganese may discolor the material. They can resume washing these fabrics once discoloration in the water is no longer seen.
About the program
The town typically releases water from hydrants twice a year. The process helps remove sediments and reduces disinfection byproducts, helping maintain the water system’s circulation and water quality. Typically, about 6 million gallons of water — four to five days of supply — in total is used for flushing.
Town staff will open each hydrant to flush the water system. They also will lubricate hydrants and identify any follow-up repair needs, ensuring proper operation in the event of a fire.
Workers will resume flushing in the center of town and move north and south simultaneously. Flushing is expected to continue through the second week of November.
Access to hydrants
During the process, town personnel may need to trim plantings or remove other items to ensure adequate access to hydrants during emergencies and maintenance.
Citizens may be asked to relocate plants and other items in street rights-of-way where necessary to provide a clear, 3-foot-wide area around a hydrant. The town encourages anyone with a hydrant — whether private or in an adjacent street right-of-way — to ensure the hydrants are accessible.
Plants relocated in the right-of-way should not interfere with visibility of vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and traffic signs. Plants also should not interfere with utilities or street drainage. Property owners should obtain permission from the town before making landscape improvements, such as plantings, within the street right-of-way.