Straight from the Tap

Spring Hydrant Flushing: Why it Matters & What to Expect

04/01/2019

Another important purpose of the Cleveland Water distribution system besides providing quality drinking water when and where you need it is to provide fire protection to homes and businesses.

This is accomplished by a vast network of fire hydrants, located about every 300 feet along most streets in our 640 square mile service area. In all, that makes for more than 77,000 fire hydrants that are fed by the Cleveland Water system. 

To ensure hydrants are operating properly, local fire departments perform the necessary task of hydrant flushing at least once a year, most often in the spring.

Flushing hydrants is an important preventive maintenance activity that verifies proper operation of the hydrant and ensures adequate water flow will be available if the need for firefighting arises. Flushing also removes sediment that naturally accumulates in water pipes. Removing these materials through flushing maintains the high quality of the water we provide to you.

When hydrant flushing occurs in your community, you may notice slightly yellow, orange, or brown-colored water coming from your faucet. If this happens, simply run your cold water tap for three to five minutes. If the water is still discolored, wait about 30 minutes and run the water again. This temporary discoloration only affects the appearance of the water – it does not cause a health or safety risk.

While the water is safe to drink, you should avoid washing laundry during scheduled flushing times, as the flushed sediment could discolor white clothing. Wait until the water runs clear at the tap, then wash a load of dark clothes first. You should also avoid using hot water until the cold water runs clear.

If you experience discoloration for a prolonged time or if you experience a significant loss of water pressure after hydrant flushing has occurred, please call our Water Emergency Line at 216-664-3060.

While it may seem like a waste of water, flushing of hydrants is essential to keep you safe by ensuring proper water flow in the event of a fire emergency.