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from the Sparta Water Utility
Sparta Township Water Utility
Hydrant Flushing Program
The Sparta Township Water Utility works very hard to deliver our customers quality water that meets all Federal and State standards. Hydrant Flushing is a program we have in place to help maintain those standards. All Township-owned water systems are scheduled for flushing beginning the week of April 17th. The information provided in this bulletin addresses some of the more commonly asked questions concerning hydrant flushing and should help to give our customers insight into why we perform this program. If you have any further questions or experience problems, feel free to contact our office at (973) 729-7133 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
What is hydrant flushing?
Hydrant flushing is the process of opening each fire hydrant and forcing water through the mains of our distribution system to dislodge small particles of rust and sediment that have built up over time. Although the sediment does not pose as a health risk, it can result in discolored water when water travels through the mains during periods of peak demand. Hydrant flushing is an essential function of the Water Utility to help maintain the delivery of quality water to its customers.
How often does hydrant flushing need to be done?
The frequency of hydrant flushing varies from one water system to the next depending on each system’s characteristics. The Sparta Township Water Utility performs this program once a year, usually during months when the demand for water is low. Our flushing program also includes the ongoing process of testing and maintaining fire hydrants. Our hydrant testing is combined with the flushing program so that the amount of water lost during the process is minimized. Water conservation practices apply to the water purveyor the same as they would apply to the customer.
Is hydrant flushing going to interrupt my water service?
No. The Sparta Township Water Utility flushes water mains during daytime hours but hydraulically plans out which hydrants are serviced to alleviate any inconvenience to its customers. However, customers may experience discolored water for short periods of time while flushing is being done in their neighborhoods. Any discoloration will disappear rapidly if you keep the water running. We suggest waiting until the water clears up before you engage in consumption or washing clothes and dishes.
How long will this take place?
The Sparta Township Water Utility anticipates completion of the program within five weeks. Any water discoloration you may experience should end by Friday, May 19th.
Protect your pipes from freezing weather!
Freezing weather can take its toll on you and your home. The Township of Sparta Water Utility reminds you to make a thorough check of your home to protect water lines against the possible expense and inconvenience of loss of service due to frozen water lines.
Before freezing weather sets in:
Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses: Detaching the hose allows water to drain from the pipe. Otherwise, a single hard, overnight freeze can burst either the faucet or the pipe it's connected to.
Insulate pipes in unheated areas: Wrap water pipes in areas such as crawl spaces, basements and garages with insulated material. Pipes located on outside walls and near crawl space openings and vents are most vulnerable to freezing. You can use clean, dry rags or blankets in place of commercial insulating material.
Seal off access doors, air vents and cracks: Plug up drafty cracks and repair broken basement windows. Winter winds whistling through overlooked openings can quickly freeze exposed water pipes. Be sure not to plug up air vents that your furnace or hot water heater may need for good combustion.
Place a tag on the main shut-off valve: Be sure all members of your household know where the valve is located. Be prepared to turn the valve off should a water line burst. You may also want to consider closing your shut-off valve if you will be leaving the property unattended for a long period (i.e. if your property is a vacation home), or providing a key for a neighbor to check the heat and running water while you're away.
During freezing weather:
Do not keep crawl space, basement or garage doors open during cold periods. The cold air could freeze exposed pipes. Pipes should be properly insulated to prevent freezing. If you are unable to insulate your pipes that have frozen in past winters - particularly on sub-zero nights or periods of low usage - you may want to keep a trickle of water running from any faucet that will cause water to flow through the problem section of the pipe. During extremely cold periods, this trickle should be a steady stream the size of a pencil. Be sure to keep the drain clear of obstructions to prevent the basin from overflowing. While you will be billed for the water used, this procedure is using a minimal amount of water and may prevent more costly plumbing repairs and water loss caused by broken pipes.
Watch for reduced water flow, particularly in one faucet or one section of your home during cold weather. This may indicate a pipe beginning to freeze. If this happens, please see above.
The Township of Sparta Water Utility strives to ensure a safe, reliable water supply to your home. A Customer Service Representative is available to answer your questions and provide as much help as we can if you experience frozen water line problems. However, care and custody of the pipes from the curb, up to and inside the home are your responsibility. If water is unavailable in only a portion of your home, or if your neighbors are not experiencing a problem, the obstruction may be in a section of pipe that is your responsibility. You may want to contact your plumber.