Water Main Flushing to Resume on July 6

Thursday, June 26, 2008 - 10:31am

Madison-The Madison Water Utility will resume its schedule of flushing water mains on the evening of July 6. The program has been suspended since June 6 because of the heavy rains and high lake levels.

The flushing of water mains is a requirement of the state Department of Natural Resources and is done every year to clear the mains of mineral deposits and improve water quality. The procedure is performed in warm-weather months and involves the systematic opening and closing of fire hydrants, one section of main at a time, to force the water through the pipes at high velocity, removing accumulated sediment until the water is clear.

According to the Water Utility interim general manager Larry Nelson, "Although the amount of water released to the storm sewers and lakes by flushing is really quite small, we decided that with the recent heavy rains and high lake levels, we would take a break from our schedule. We do need to resume on July 6 to complete the work by fall to minimize the washing of leaves into storm sewers." Although flushing operations use approximately 1 million gallons per day, if all this water were to reach Lake Monona, the lake level would rise approximately 0.011 inches or 1/64 of an inch.

Some water main flushing occurs during daytime hours and some at night. When flushing crews are working close to homes or businesses, customers may experience periods of very low pressure or even a complete stoppage of service. The utility attempts to notify customers in advance if flushing is expected to result in a complete water outage, but such outages are rare.

The flushing schedule is posted on the Water Utility website at http://www.cityofmadison.com/water/plansWater.cfm, and interested parties may also subscribe to the water flushing listserv from the website. In addition, the utility publishes a schedule map in the Wisconsin State Journal on the first Monday of the month. For any questions about the flushing of water mains, customers may call the utility at 266-4665.

  • Gail Gawenda, Public Information Officer, 608:266-9129

Water Utility