Sacramento is flushing its water mains this week. Here’s why and where it will begin

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Sacramento Department of Utilities announced it will be flushing water mains across the city this week to “help maintain high drinking-water quality for residents,” a press release states.

Flushing the water mains will prevent sand, sentiment, and biofilm from building up in the water system. The city mainly gets water from the Sacramento and American rivers, according to the press release.

The flushing began on Tuesday, in an effort to be proactive in keeping natural buildup out of the city’s drinking water, said spokesperson Carlos Eliason.

“It’s a standard part of the drinking water process for systems like ours,” Bill Busath, director of the Department of Utilities said in the press release.

According to the statement released by the department, the water being flushed is dechlorinated and will go back into the river system.

The neighborhoods being worked on first are in Council District 5, specifically the North City Farms and South City Farms neighborhoods. The process “should take place over a couple days,” Eliason said.

Residents in these neighborhoods will see crews releasing water from hydrants, and this should not cause any detours.

The process will look somewhat like construction work, with maintenance signs present near a water crew. The crew will flush hydrants with hoses, and water will run into the gutters. The process takes minutes. While the water flushes out, crew members will test the water quality on site.

Residents might notice discoloration in their water at home.

“If this happens, they can flush their taps for a few minutes,” said Eliason. “If that doesn’t work, call 311 to connect to the water quality lab. We can help them through the process.”

This number is also available to residents experiencing water quality issues unrelated to the flushing.

Avoiding bad taste, odor and turbidity (the cloudiness or sediment in water) are the main reasons the department is flushing the water mains.

“A few years back, we had a quality event that caused discolored water,” said Eliason.

He told The Bee the work started this week was created from the results gathered during a previous pilot flushing program.

Harmless bacteria will build up in the pipes overtime, Eliason said. Crews will carefully control the speed and direction of water being released to ensure the pipes are properly cleaned, according to the press release.

Eliason said the next priority areas to be flushed are going to be in southern portions of the city.

Clarification: The pilot program was completed and the water main work was a result of the pilot program.