Water Main Flushing Program
Water main flushing is one of the most important things we do. Find out how our program puts Madison on the forefront of water safety and quality.
The 2021 Water Main Flushing Program began on Monday, April 5.
The combination of sustained dry weather and a number of wells being out of service is putting pressure on the supply conditions of Madison Water Utility. To ease the supply conditions, the Utility has suspended routine hydrant flushing effective June 10. Utility managers will re-assess the situation after the current hot, dry spell subsides or the wells currently out of service for maintenance begin pumping again.
This week's schedule
Weekly flushing schedules will return when the temporary suspension of flushing ends and the program resumes.
What is Water Main (Hydrant) Flushing?
Our water comes from an underground aquifer and contains naturally-occurring minerals like iron and manganese. These minerals can build up over time as sediment in our water mains. To keep our mains clean, crews systematically open and close valves and hydrants to move water at high speed through sections of water main. This clears out naturally-occurring mineral sediment that can build up in the water system and cause discolored water and other problems.
How could this affect my water?
When flushing crews are working in your area, you may have a temporary drop in water pressure or a brief water outage. Water outages are rare, and we try to notify in advance if we expect them. If you have a water outage and weren’t notified, please call us at (608) 266-4661.
Discolored (yellow, brown, or reddish) water
Water main flushing stirs up mineral sediment that can temporarily cause discolored water in that area.
If you have discolored water:
- Go to a faucet in the lowest level of your home or business, like a basement utility sink or first-floor bathtub.
- Remove the screen or aerator from the faucet (if applicable) and temporarily bypass whole home water softeners or filters if you have them.
- Run the cold water only at full force for a few minutes until the water clears. Once water is clear, replace the faucet screen/ aerator and put any bypassed filters or softeners back in service (if applicable).
- If your water doesn’t clear after a few minutes, call our Water Quality Section at (608) 266-4654.
- If you have lower pressure than usual at a faucet, remove the screen or aerator to check if it's clogged. If it's clogged and doesn't rinse easily, soak it in vinegar for at least 15 minutes and scrub it with an old toothbrush.
We also suggest waiting until evening to do laundry or run your dishwasher if we're flushing in your neighborhood—and make sure your water is clear first. Discolored water can stain clothes and porcelain.
How will I know when you’ll be in my neighborhood?
- We update this page every week.
- You can join our Email list for weekly water main flushing updates.
- Watch for our blue water main flushing signs in your neighborhood!
We ask for your patience and understanding as we work to keep your water clean and safe.