We clean water mains to improve water quality by removing sediment. Water travels slowly through the mains, causing sediment to settle at the bottom and build up over time. A change in direction or an increase in the rate of flow of the water in the mains (e.g., due to water main breaks, or hydrant use for firefighting) can disturb the sediment and discolour the water.
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Water main flushing is the process used to clean water mains. Water system valves are turned off to isolate a section of the water main. Water is then flushed through in one direction at high speed to produce a scouring action that removes built-up sediment. Clean water is always used to flush water mains. After flushing, the water exits through an attachment to a fire hydrant.
Water mains are underground pipes that carry water from the reservoir to your street.
We flush most of the water mains by forcing water through them at high velocity and discharging it through hydrants. This water flow scours and cleans sediment from inside the mains. We leave the hydrant open until the water runs clear. The flushed water will be de-chlorinated before entering the catch basin.
Flushing takes approximately 30 minutes to an hour. We require all taps to be turned off and no toilets flushed during the flushing time as indicated in the notice to residents for individual households to ensure that the work is done properly.
We will notify you via letters delivered to each residence prior to commencement of work. The letter will contain instructions and information on the program. If you live in a multi-family complex, staff will contact your property manager/landlord on when the work will begin and will include information on how long it will take.
Do not use your water or flush your toilet when we are cleaning the water mains on your street. Using your water or flushing your toilet could draw sediment into the water pipes of your building, into water filters, washing machines, hot water tanks, etc. Turn off any time-delayed water systems, such as dishwashers, coffee makers, and lawn sprinklers.
Consider rescheduling the use of this equipment before or after the water main flushing. Make sure the cold water tap runs clear before connecting to the in-home water-dependent medical equipment.
As a precautionary measure you may store a sufficient reserve of potable water for use during the flushing hours.
Please turn off all time delayed water line appliances during the flushing period. If you have water conditioning systems such as water softener or filtration system, you may want to shut off the water supply valve to these systems, until after the water main flushing is completed.
Yes. The City of White Rock Fire Department is informed of the flushing time, date, and location. Water for fire suppression is available from the water system at all times during the flushing program.
Your water may be discoloured. Water is sometimes discoloured after water main cleaning, but this should not last long. Do not use discoloured water for any purpose that require clean water, such as preparing food and beverages, medical and dental procedures, or laundry.
Customers are advised to fully open their cold water faucets in their laundry tap, kitchen and/or bathroom to flush this water out of their service piping and plumbing lines. In most cases, the water should begin to run clear again within a minute. If it does not clear, please let us know by calling 604-541-2181 or email the Water Department.
If this happens, call 604-541-2181 or email the Water Department.
Drinking discoloured water should not make you sick; however, it may not smell, taste, or look pleasant.
Immediately after the cleaning you may notice that your water is cloudy or has a chlorine smell.
It is safer for staff to work on the streets in daylight. Also, it is easier in the daylight to see when all the sediment has been flushed out and the water is running clear.
We will discharge the water into the street catch basins. We will be using an environmentally friendly product (sodium thiosulphate) to remove the chlorine from the water before it is discharged.
No. The City takes special precautions to ensure that the quantity and quality of the water flushed is safe for disposal. Before doing any field work, the City investigates water disposal routes and ensures that they are of adequate capacity to receive the water and are not sensitive to the flow. In most cases, the water is sent to stormwater collection system, or to a drainage ditch. During flushing, the field crew monitors disposal of the water, reduces its energy to prevent erosion, and adds dechlorination pucks to remove any chlorine.
Many cities have some type of flushing program to clean their water mains. This is considered the best way to improve water quality and increase the reliability of the distribution system.
Though not intentional, this happens from time to time during the flushing program. During flushing, certain valves are closed to provide control over the direction of flow. It is likely that a valve closure resulted in loss of supply to your block. Contact the Engineering and Municipal Operations Department at 604-541-2181 or email the Water Department. The field crew will be sent to your block immediately to investigate and identify which valves may have been inadvertently left closed and will be reopened.
The colour is due to the presence of solids that are scoured from the surface of the pipes. These may include sand, sediment, iron (rust), and manganese, all of which are naturally occurring and common to virtually every water system. At the levels that cause mild discolouration, these solids are not harmful, although they may impart an undesirable taste to the water.
Yes, the City has maintained compliance with all provincial and federal drinking water quality standards. The City performs frequent monitoring throughout the system to ensure the safety and aesthetic quality of your water.
Funds from the water utility rates will pay for this program. Water rates will not be increased to pay for this maintenance program.
No, each residence and business is individually metered at the service connection to determine consumption. Your utility bill is based on your specific meter readings.
No. We are using a unidirectional flushing technique, which uses less water than conventional flushing. The City strongly values, encourages and practices water conservation measures. In developing the flushing program, the City has considered the impact of water use and weighed it against the known benefits of flushing. While a fair amount of water is used and is necessary to create an effective scour, the City uses a flushing practice called (unidirectional) water main flushing that is specifically designed to reduce overall water usage.