ELKINS, W.Va. — Starting Wednesday night, the City of Elkins Water Distribution Department will begin flushing the city’s water lines.
The flushing will take place from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m., Monday through Friday. The flushing for the week is planned for Fourth Ward and U.S. Route 33 eastward from its intersection with Randolph Avenue.
The water system is routinely flushed in order to reduce the volume of rust, mineral deposits, and other sediments in underground water pipes the results of which would be discolored tap-water.
“Our water plant puts out high-quality, extremely pure drinking water, but some of the pipes that water has to go out through are really old and not in the greatest condition,” said Wes Lambert, the water system’s chief operator.
The lines are flushed by opening fire hydrants and letting the water flow at full force for a certain amount of time. A flow test will be preformed by Water Distribution Department workers at the same time to ensure each hydrant is operating just fine.
“The flushing is not a perfect process because of the way the system has grown over the years,” said Lambert. “There are some parts of the city where, because of hydrant location and the hydrodynamics of the pipe network in that area, we aren’t able to flush as much as we would like. But the hope is that by flushing everywhere we can on a regular basis, it will still reduce the overall volume of sediment in the pipes citywide.”
The goal is to the flushing within a month but Lambert conceded it may take longer.
“If our guys could do this every night, we’d be able to wrap up in about a month. But we know there are going to be water-line breaks and other projects that come along, so it will probably run longer than that,” Lambert said.
Customers near the area being flushed may temporarily experience heightened discoloration in their water. While it is advisable to avoid doing laundry during this period, the discoloration does not indicate that the water is unsafe to drink, cook with, or bathe in.
Discolored water can be managed by leaving taps open in a bathtub or sink for 20 minutes, but avoid using hot water. The city will use its public channels and website to announce which sections of the city will be flushed.
The American Rescue Project Act is currently being looked at as a means to deal with older water mains and make other improvements to the water distribution system.
“We are hoping to take some concrete steps soon toward a more permanent solution for customers experiencing discolored water,” said Lambert. “Until then, regular line flushing is the best tool we have for at least reducing the problems people are having.
For more information, people can go to the city website at www.cityofelkinswv.com, sign up for email alerts at www.cityofelkinswv.com/newsletter-signup or follow them on Facebook www.facebook.com/elkinscityhall or Twitter www.twitter.com/elkinscityhall