City Water Main Line Flushing

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The City of Milford will be flushing water main lines in the area of Hearthstone Manor, Orchard Hill, Shawnee Acres and Meadows at Shawnee subdivisions on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 between the hours of 8am and 3pm

On several occasions recently, the City has experienced issues with the new Southeast Water Tower and Water Treatment Facility, which was put into service in October 2016. Initially, we experienced higher than normal chlorine levels in the water entering the distribution system. While chlorine levels were never above the 4 ppm as regulated by the EPA and Delaware Office of Drinking Water, the higher than normal chlorine effected on the water quality, but not its safety.  Unfortunately, this caused iron and manganese in the water to oxidize, giving the water a brownish color and scale within the waterlines to loosen from pipe walls discoloring the water. While discolored water does not meet our standards for acceptable water, the water was at no time unsafe to drink or use.  The issue related to chlorination has been resolved, however, sediment most likely continues to be within the waterlines in the southeast section of the City, necessitating a main line flushing of the system.
The secondary reason for sediment becoming loose within the lines is due to changes in direction of water flow. Prior to initializing the southeast tower, all water delivered to the four subdivisions mentioned above came from the city center. When the southeast tower went into service, direction of water flow to these four subdivisions changed, which again, loosened any scale or silt within the water lines, thereby creating discolored water.

Over the past month, the Water Division reinitialized the southeast tower several times, and with each attempt received complaints of discolored water. For the past two weeks, the southeast tower has been out of service. The chlorinator at the treatment facility has been recalibrated, and the tower has been filled with water. As part of the flushing program, water supply to these four subdivisions will come from the southeast tower, ensuring that the change of flow and flushing of hydrants will clear any loose debris within the waterlines.

Once the flushing program is completed, valves will be reopened to the city center, which will allow water to flow from either direction to serve these subdivisions. Use of the southeast tower is critical since the Washington Street water tower will soon be shut down for several weeks for maintenance and the storage of water at the southeast tower will be necessary for adequate fire protection.

The Public Works Department will use the CodeRed emergency notification system, the City’s website, Facebook page and Twitter account to communicate the plans for waterline flushing. Residents who have not done so are encouraged to visit the City’s website (www.cityofmilford.com) to register for CodeRed and to follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/MilfordDE) and/or on Twitter (twitter.com/milfordDE).

Residents who experience discolored water during the flushing program can alleviate the issue by running an outside faucet for a few moments which in most cases clears the water in the home. Additionally, we recommend residents not do laundry at the beginning of the day and wait until the water has cleared, as the particles may discolor clothing. Residents who inadvertently use discolored water in their washing machine can reverse the affects by rewashing and using Iron Out, Rover, or other similar products available at grocery and hardware stores.

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