A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky American Water will be ‘flushing’ by opening fire hydrants, protecting water quality

You may see Kentucky American Water crews in your area this spring opening fire hydrants and letting them flow for a period of time. This is all part of a normal maintenance activity for the water distribution system referred to in the industry as system “flushing.”

Flushing is a key activity that helps Kentucky American Water to continue providing excellent quality water to customers because it helps to remove normal sediment in the pipes that collects over time.

“In addition to our commitment to ongoing infrastructure renewal, this annual flushing program is another key step we take to help us deliver quality water to our customers,” according to Kevin Rogers, vice president of operations for Kentucky American Water.

During the flushing activity, crews open selected fire hydrants in a coordinated fashion so that water can flow through the water mains and out of the hydrants at an accelerated pace. Crews de-chlorinate the water as it leaves hydrants in order to remove the disinfecting agent in the water – free chlorine – so that any water that enters streams is not harmful to aquatic life.

This year’s water system flushing activity will take place in Fayette County during the evening and overnight hours beginning April 22, and continue through May 5. Flushing in the company’s Owenton service area will occur during daytime working hours starting April 23, and will conclude on April 30. Scott County area flushing will occur during daytime working hours from May 7 through May 11, and Clark County service areas flushing will occur during daytime working hours May 14 through May 18.

Customers may notice a more significant chlorine smell in the water from April 19 to May 22. This is normal and not harmful.

Kentucky American Water temporarily changes its treatment process during the flushing activity by switching from using chloramines as a disinfectant to free chlorine, which has a more noticeable smell. Although the chlorine smell may be more apparent, the level of chlorine in the water remains the same. If the chlorine odor is too strong for you, you can reduce it by placing water in a glass container in the refrigerator overnight uncovered.

Customers may also experience a slight discoloration of their water when crews are working in their areas of town. Should a customer notice discolored water coming from the tap, they should simply run their cold water faucet until the water clears. The water remains safe to consume, but customers may want to avoid such activities as washing clothes when crews are flushing in their areas, since there is potential for discolored water that could stain clothing.

Customers should watch for more details about the program inserted in their monthly water bills throughout April. The community can also use the interactive map here to determine when we will be flushing lines in their specific areas.

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