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Hillsborough to Begin Hydrant Flushing in September

Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019
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Note: The Town of Hillsborough’s fall program for fire hydrants has been delayed due to low flows in the Eno River, the town’s water source. See the news release for additional information.

Town of Hillsborough personnel will flush and perform basic maintenance to fire hydrants in the town’s water system beginning Sept. 9 and lasting through mid-November.

The town typically releases water from hydrants twice a year. The process helps remove sediments, helping maintain the water system’s circulation and water quality. About 6 million gallons of water — four to five days of supply — will be 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. Flushing will begin in the central portion of Hillsborough and then move simultaneously north- and southward within the town’s service area.

Access to hydrants

During the process, town employees may need to trim plantings or remove other items to ensure adequate access to hydrants during emergencies and maintenance.

Community members may be asked to relocate plants and other items in street rights of way to provide a clear, 3-foot-wide area around a hydrant. Anyone with a hydrant — whether private or in an adjacent street right of way — should ensure the hydrants are accessible.

Plants relocated in a right of way should not interfere with utilities, street drainage or the visibility of vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and traffic signs. Property owners should obtain permission from the town before making landscape improvements within a street right of way.

Cloudiness or discoloration of water

Opening the hydrants might cause some temporary cloudiness or discoloration of water. Discoloration can occur because small particles of iron and manganese that have settled in a water main may be stirred up. Iron and manganese are naturally occurring minerals that also are contained in food. Discoloration from these minerals does not make water unsafe to drink, but it could discolor fabric. Similarly, when air bubbles enter the water system during the hydrant flushing, they may cause cloudiness in drinking water.

If discoloration or air bubbles appear in the water, customers should run cold water for a few minutes until the water and/or air bubbles clear. If the water does not clear within five minutes, contact the town at 919-732-3621.

More information

A video on fire hydrant flushing is available on the town’s YouTube channel.