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Fire Hydrant Flushing and Maintenance Delayed

Monday, Sept. 9, 2019

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.

The program to flush water lines and to perform basic maintenance to fire hydrants was set to start today and to continue through mid-November. The town is under a Stage 1 restriction for water withdrawal from the Eno River as the Eno’s average flow has fallen below 10 cubic feet per second for seven consecutive days, according to a U.S. Geological Survey stream gauge on the river.

The restriction is set by a voluntary capacity use agreement of the Eno River, which strives to keep a minimum flow in the river at all times for water quality and aquatic life purposes. In addition to Hillsborough, the Orange-Alamance Water System and Resco Products (formerly Piedmont Minerals) are participants and subject to the Stage 1 restriction. Hillsborough is limited to withdrawing 1.51 million gallons per day from the Eno under the restriction. It had been averaging withdrawals of 1.8 mgd.

The town is managing the restriction internally by adjusting its water tank storage and delaying the hydrant flushing program. The water supply at the West Fork Eno Reservoir is not in jeopardy. However, the reservoir has been maintained at a lower than normal state during Phase 2 construction to expand the reservoir.

No mandatory restriction is in effect for water and sewer customers. However, customers can help the town during its temporary withdrawal restriction by conserving water. Below are some water conservation tips:

In the bathroom —

  • Shorten your shower. A one- or two-minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons of water each month. Take a shallow bath instead of a shower for greater water savings.
  • Replace your showerhead with low-flow showerheads or install flow restrictors.
  • Flush only when necessary and dispose of trash in the trash can. Each time you flush a small bit of trash, you waste 5 to 7 gallons of water and you risk clogging sewer pipes.
  • Check for toilet leaks. Drop a dye tablet or a few drops of food coloring in your toilet tank and allow at least three hours. If the color begins to appear in the bowl without flushing, your toilet has a leak that could be wasting thousands of gallons of water each year.
  • When brushing your teeth, wet your toothbrush and then turn off the water.
  • Rinse your razor in a partially filled sink instead of under a running tap.
  • Check faucets and pipes for leaks, and replace worn washers. A small drip from a worn washer can waste 20 or more gallons a day. Large leaks can waste hundreds.
  • Put a plastic bottle in your toilet tank. Do this by filling the bottle with water and a small amount of pebbles to weigh it down. Then place the bottle in your toilet tank, away from operating mechanisms. This can save you 10 or more gallons of water each day.
  • While waiting for bath water to warm, place a bucket under the faucet to catch the cold water. Use the water later for house plants or to refill the toilet tank after flushing.
  • Building or remodeling your home? Ask your builder to install ultra-low flush toilets and faucets.

In the kitchen and laundry —

  • Keep water in the refrigerator for drinking. Don’t run the tap waiting for cold water.
  • Rinse vegetables in a pan of water — not under a running tap.
  • Use your dishwasher and washing machine for full loads only.
  • Ready to replace some large appliances? Replace old washing machines with front-loading units, which may use 38 percent less water than top-loaders. And replace old dishwashers with new water- and energy-efficient models.
  • Use paper or plastic plates, cups and utensils that do not require washing.
  • Do not leave water running if you wash dishes by hand. Fill one sink with soapy water and one with rinse water. If you have only one sink, use a dish rack and rinse with hot water.
  • Use the smallest amount of detergent possible when washing dishes by hand. This reduces the amount of rinse water needed.
  • Check your kitchen/bath pipes and faucets for leaks and replace worn washers immediately. Many indoor leaks also may be detected by listening carefully for running water or by looking for wet spots in the yard between the water meter and house.
  • Use the garbage disposal less and the garbage can more often. Better yet, compost!
  • Defrost frozen foods in the microwave or refrigerator instead of under running water.