Why are Pipelines Flushed?

Over time, sediment and other materials can build up in water lines. While not harmful, this buildup can impact water quality. Chemicals can’t be used to clean water lines, so our Water Quality Team flushes the pipelines at high velocities to scour them. In other areas where a line “dead ends,” the Florida Department of Environmental Protection requires flushing to maintain a minimum disinfection level so the water does not stagnate. Also, waterlines are always flushed after a break has been repaired to ensure that the pipe is clean before being put back into service.

While it might seem wasteful to use such large amounts of water, especially if we’re in a drought, line flushing is actually vital to public health and safety. For routine flushing work, computer sequences are developed to make efficient use of the water and the procedure.

At the same time, the work allows our crews to inventory valves and fire hydrants, and identify repairs or replacements that need to be made.

Flushing crews post signs and drive County marked vehicles. In order to monitor and maintain minimum pressure, a crew member may occasionally ask a homeowner to allow them to install a small pressure gauge on an outdoor water spigot. Employees wear official Public Utilities Department uniforms and carry County identification. At no time does someone have to enter your home.

What To Do During Line Flushing

If you live nearby and see particles or a noticeable color change in your water during this time, allow the tap to run for one minute. If that doesn’t clear up the problem, or if there is a complete loss of water during the flushing, please call the Water Quality Hotline at (813) 264-3835. You’ll also want to avoid washing laundry or any other activities where discolored water or sediment may cause a problem.