Annual Water Main Flushing
2013 Water Main Flushing
Each spring, Fairfax Water flushes its water mains
by opening fire hydrants and allowing them to flow freely for a
short period of time. We do this to maintain the high water quality
in our distribution system. Last year, Fairfax Water changed the
process for flushing hydrants. Historically, the flushing was done
during the overnight hours. Last year, we flushed during the day to
better protect our employees’ safety and to better direct water flow
to reduce potential property damage resulting from running water.
This change in timing was very successful based on the increased
number of hydrants flushed and the lack of injury to employees.
Although the majority of hydrants will be flushed during the day, we
may occasionally elect to flush some hydrants at night to avoid
traffic disruption at major intersections.
You will likely notice Fairfax Water personnel in your neighborhood
operating hydrants from April through June. You will be able to
recognize our employees at work by a number of identifiers. Our
employees will be driving vehicles identified with the Fairfax Water
logo and will be displaying a sign that identifies the employee as
part of the Fairfax Water flushing program. In addition, all
employees will be wearing uniforms with the same logo.
Flushing may result in some temporary discoloration and the presence
of sediment in your water. These conditions are not harmful and
should be of very short duration. Keeping an open container of
drinking water in the refrigerator allows the chlorine to dissipate,
which usually improves the taste of the water.
If you have questions about this program or the work being conducted
in your area, you may call our dispatch operator any time of the day
or night at 703-698-5613, TTY 711.
Temporary Change to Free
During this period of time, a slight change is made
in the water treatment process to facilitate an effective flushing
program. Throughout the year, chloramines, or combined chlorine,
is added to the water as the primary disinfectant. During the spring
flushing program, chlorine is added in an uncombined state, commonly
referred to as free chlorine. Free chlorine is somewhat more volatile
than combined, providing exceptional availability to react with
sediments suspended during flushing. Fairfax
Water will use free chlorine as the primary disinfectant from
April 1, 2013, through the end of July 1, 2013. Depending on your location within the distribution
system and usage patterns, it could take up to a week for your
drinking water to transition from combined to free chlorine at
the beginning of April, or from free chlorine to combined chlorine
at the beginning of July.
You may notice a chlorine taste and odor in
your drinking water while free chlorine is utilized. If you are
especially sensitive to the taste and odor of chlorine, try keeping
an open container of drinking water in your refrigerator. This
will enable the chlorine to dissipate thus reducing the chlorine
taste. Remember – drinking
water has a shelf life! Change out the water in your refrigerated
Please note: If you have an aquarium or pond always test the water
you add to your aquatic environment to be sure it is free of any
chlorine before adding fish or other animals. Chemical additives
with directions for removing either free chlorine or chloramines
from water for use in fish tanks or ponds are available at pet/fish
supply stores. See our Water Quality
FAQ page for additional information.