The process of periodically “flushing” fire hydrants serves as preventative maintenance to protect the integrity of water systems and helps them continuously deliver high quality water to customers. A downside to hydrant flushing involves the possibility of temporary discoloration of water in the immediate area where hydrants get flushed.
What discolors the water when hydrants get flushed?
Discoloration usually contains harmless precipitates (solids) which had previously settled in low volume areas of a water system. Flushing the hydrants drastically increases flow through those areas and causes them to become suspended in the water. As a general rule they do not affect the safety of the water and if your water does become discolored as a result of hydrant flushing, simply run all water faucets inside your home until the water clears.
If for some reason the water does not clear in a reasonable period of time, then definitely contact your water company or Department of Public Works.
Do the public need to prepare for hydrant flushing?
As at any other time of the year, do not park within 36 or so inches of a hydrant and make sure to clear out any objects in the vicinity of hydrants. Whether for flushing or in time of emergency, nothing ought to obstruct the fire department's access to water hydrants.