Customers may notice Kentucky American Water crews this spring opening hydrants and letting them flow for a period of time. This is part of a normal maintenance activity for the water distribution system referred to in the industry as system “flushing.” Flushing helps Kentucky American Water continue providing excellent quality water to customers because it helps to remove natural sediment that builds up in pipes over time.
“We pride ourselves on providing excellent quality water to our customers,” said Nick Rowe, president of Kentucky American Water and senior vice president of American Water’s Southeast Division, “and conducting an annual flushing program is a key part of that process.”
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 flushing activity will occur in Fayette County during the evening and overnight hours April 22 through May 10. Flushing in Owen County will occur during daytime working hours April 22 through May 17. Scott County area flushing will occur during daytime working hours May 6 through May 17, and Clark County flushing will occur during daytime working hours May 13 through May 24.
Customers may detect a more noticeable chlorine smell in the water from April 18 through May 20. This is normal and not harmful. Kentucky American Water temporarily changes its treatment process during the flushing activity by switching the disinfectant used from chloramines 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 customers, they can reduce it by placing water in an uncovered glass container in the refrigerator overnight.
Customers may experience a slight discoloration of their water when crews are working in their areas. Should a customer notice discolored water coming from the tap, they should simply run their cold water faucet – not hot water – 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.
An online map is available for customers to use to determine when crews will be flushing in their respective areas: www.tinyurl.com/kawcflush.