Water Line Flushing Program

Water Line Flushing Program

Each spring, the City of Bathurst begins a comprehensive flushing program of its water distribution network. The goal of this program is to ensure that the drinking water quality is at its optimal level and to properly maintain the City’s water distribution system.

What is Hydrant flushing? 

Flushing is a process by which water is moved through a water pipe at a high velocity so that a scouring action is created. Water is then discharged through a hydrant, removing any material build-up from the pipe. The material removed from this process is harmless and requires no special treatment. Use of this flushing technique is critical to the proper maintenance of water quality and the City’s water system.

Why are we flushing? 

Water mains are sized to allow adequate and safe flows for fire protection. The water typically moves through the underground pipes at less than 5 km/h. This slow movement allows for mineral deposits to build up and accumulate in pipes over time. The buildup can restrict water flow in the pipes and contribute to corrosion and water color problems. Periodic flushing of water pipes removes the mineral deposits, helping to maintain capacity in the system and assuring consistent water quality.

This annual program also allows for identification of any inefficiencies throughout the water network, such as closed valves or weak flows in the water mains.

Hydrant Maintenance

The City of Bathurst maintains approximately 840 fire hydrants, a very important component in the maintenance of the City’s water network. Flushing also ensures that all fire hydrants are in proper operating condition and have ample flow for fire protection purposes. 

How will I be affected? 

You will probably not even be aware that hydrant flushing is taking place in your neighborhood because water service will not be interrupted. However, there may be a temporary drop in water pressure or possible temporary discoloration in the water

We recommend that you avoid running tap water, dishwasher or washing machines if you see crews flushing a hydrant on your street, as it may draw unwanted sediment or discolored water into your household plumbing.

It is virtually impossible to flush off all of the sediment in a pipe. When you open your taps following a flush in your neighborhood, you may notice that your water has a colored and/or a cloudy appearance. It should be noted that discolored water poses no health risk as this is typically from the mineral deposits in the pipes that have not had time to settle.

Once the flushing has finished in your area, we ask for you to run COLD WATER TAPS ONLY until it is clear again. Please do not use your hot water until you have clear running water. If you inadvertently run your hot water before discovering the problem, you may want to flush your hot water tank by opening the valve at the bottom of the tank. If you need to do this, be certain to refer to NB Power guidelines or your hot water tank instruction manual.

Fortunately, the City is required to maintain a chlorine residual at all points in the system, therefore any possible bacteria in the system cannot survive. The sediment itself has long been exposed to this chlorine residual and is not a health risk to users. Because of this, a boil order is not necessary when flushing.

Is there a potential impact if I wash my clothes?

We ask that residents run their cold water and verify if the water is clear before starting their laundry. If the water is dirty, it may cause stains in the laundry.

When does Hydrant flushing occur?

The flushing program begins each April and continues throughout the Summer, at times carrying into early Fall. City crews follow strategic routes throughout the water system in order to properly accomplish this task.

If you have any concerns, call us! 

Flushing operations are generally conducted between 8:00am and 4:00pm, Monday through Friday. Complaints about water quality, pressure, and flooding are monitored. So please notify us of any concern by calling 548-0400 and choosing option #1.

We appreciate your understanding and your cooperation during this important operation!