Line testing may discolor tap water
Baldwin City residents may notice discoloration of tap water this week and next.
City public works crews will be testing the operation of fire hydrants and flushing the system through Feb. 9. City Administrator Larry Paine said flushing the lines will cause discoloration of the water as it comes out of the tap. The discoloration comes from iron oxide rust being stirred up from iron pipes, some of which are 50 years old.
"There is no health hazard caused by the flushing," Paine said. "The difficulty citizens will have is with the washing of white clothes."
Terry McKinney, city utility director, said tap water from pipes that are flushed in the morning should be clear by that evening.
"Some people won't even know it," McKinney said of flushing the lines.
The purpose of the tests are to locate fire hydrants that may be malfunctioning, to measure the amount of water that comes out of each hydrant, and to flush the lines.
Paine said hydrant testing is a requirement for the city's Insurance Services Organization rating. The rating is used in establishing the fire insurance rating for property owners within the area served by the Baldwin City Fire Department. By testing and documenting the results, the city gets credit toward reducing the fire rating, Paine said.
Measuring the flow gives the firefighters information on how to operate their pump trucks during a fire, said Paine. Overdrawing the hydrant capacity could cause the waterline to collapse, causing a total loss of water.