Fire Department begins flushing out brown water

May 9, 2019

In an effort to get rid of the brown water surfacing in various homes and businesses, Onset Fire Department will begin hydrant flushing this or next week.

On Wednesday, Kevin Sampson, the Onset Fire Department Superintendent, said the brown water was partly caused by the street sweepers, which hook up to fire hydrants, stirring the natural mineral sediment within the pipe.

“As they open the hydrant, a large volume of water moves, causing water to stir up and the accumulated minerals come up from the bottom of the pipe,” Sampson explained.

Water main flushing moves water systematically through sections of a water distribution system, creating a scouring action which cleans the line. Flushing removes sediments like iron and manganese. Although iron and manganese do not themselves pose health concerns, they can affect water’s taste, clarity, and color.

“Flushing helps remove sediments over the years of minerals that grow inside of the pipes,” said Sampson.

Flushing also helps remove stale water and ensures the presence of fresh water with sufficient dissolved oxygen and disinfectant levels and an acceptable taste and smell.

Sampson also added that the Water Department is “working with an engineering consultant to come up with a long term plan versus the short term plan to clear up the water and get it back to normal.”