Straight from the Tap

The Importance of Hydrant Flushing


Aside from providing quality drinking water when and where you need it, another important purpose of the Cleveland Water distribution system is to provide essential 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 feed by the Cleveland Water system. 

This is why at least once a year, most often in the spring, local fire departments perform the necessary task of hydrant flushing. Flushing hydrants is an important preventive maintenance activity that verifies proper operation of the hydrant and ensures adequate water flow will be available in the event of a fire emergency. Flushing also removes sediment and deposits that naturally accumulate in water pipes. Removing these materials by flushing hydrants maintains the high quality of the water we provide to you.

Hydrant flushing is similar to draining and flushing the hot water tank inside your home (which should be done regularly, according to manufacturer’s instructions). Flushing your own water heater also ensures the water quality in your home by removing sediment and deposits that build up in the water heater over time.

When hydrant flushing occurs in your community, you may experience temporary water pressure reduction and discoloration of water. Check your cold water tap for discoloration prior to use. If the water is discolored, simply run the cold water for three to five minutes to allow new water to enter your pipes. If the water is still discolored, wait a few more minutes and run the water again. The temporary discoloration only affects the appearance of the water – it DOES NOT affect the safety or quality.

While the water is safe to drink, you should avoid washing laundry during scheduled flushing times, as the flushed sediment could discolor white or light-colored 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 more than 8 hours, or if you experience a significant or prolonged loss of water pressure after hydrant flushing, please call our Water Emergency Line at 216-664-3060.