Hampstead to flush hydrants residents advised to store water

October 07, 1998|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Hampstead residents should store clear drinking water today -- and procrastinate on laundry -- because Hampstead will begin flushing its fire hydrants about 9 p.m.

"If you need water for coffee or [orange juice], draw it now," Town Manager Neil Ridgely said yesterday. Otherwise the water might be murky: safe to drink, but not visually appealing.

He also suggested that town residents wait to do laundry until tomorrow morning -- first running the washer on empty for a short cycle to remove anything that might stain clothes. Tap water can run for about five minutes, or until it's clear.

The town has been flushing its water supply for 10 years or more, he said, to clarify the water of particulates. These can accumulate in any water supply, especially in more dormant parts of the system.

"We're probably going to flush about 50,000 gallons out of the system," he said. "You open the things full bore. You do this in a sequence." It takes five to six hours, running each hydrant about 20 minutes.

"They don't do it in every town, but it's a good idea. We do this every quarter. It's a very solid, well-principled way of keeping a healthy potable water supply in your town."

Westminster, Manchester and other Carroll County towns do it, Ridgely said, but "in larger cities they never bother to do this -- until they have a problem."

The flushing process "stirs up a certain amount of turbidity, just by opening and closing the hydrants," he explained. This cloudiness consists of harmless particles.

"What could happen is, it does cause kind of a brown color to some water and it could stain someone's laundry, so we suggest refraining from laundry. We suggest on Thursday morning that you run a load without clothes.

"We do the work in the off hours of the evening," Ridgely said. "It amounts to something of a slight nuisance for the citizens, but we do it for their benefit."

Pub Date: 10/07/98

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