Contact Information for Questions or Concerns Regarding Flushing Operations:
Unidirectional Flushing Program (UDF)
What is Unidirectional Flushing?
Unidirectional Flushing (UDF) is a process that effectively cleans our water mains. The process includes strategically closing water valves and opening fire hydrants to isolate and clean a specific section of water main. This is more efficient than traditional hydrant flushing because of the high velocities that are achieved (5 to 10 ft/sec with UDF, compared to 1 to 3 ft/sec with traditional flushing). Higher velocity water will scour and clean the inside of the water pipe. The goal of the UDF Program is to continue providing high quality drinking water to our customers and to maintain our water mains, valves and hydrants.
Why is Flushing Our Water Mains Important?
Over time, sediment and deposits, including rust and mineral particles, can accumulate naturally at the bottom of the water main. A build-up of bacteria known as 'biofilm' can also coat the pipe's inner surface. The combination of sediment and bacteria can restrict water flow in the pipes and contribute to pipe corrosion. Periodically flushing water mains removes the sediment and biofilm buildup, as well as maintaining our water infrastructure and assuring consistent, high quality drinking water.
Is Flushing a Waste of Water?
No. The water that discharges from the hydrant during the flushing process is diverted into a storm sewer drain that carries the water back to Lake Michigan. Any overall increase in the amount of water used in flushing is a small price to pay in maintaining water quality and the integrity of the piping system.
How Will This Affect Water Customers?
Flushing operations occur between 7:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, during the spring, summer and fall months. Flushing a section of pipe can take the crew anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour to complete, though it should typically last for about 30 minutes. Click here to view a map of our current flushing area.
We will notify customers in the flushing area through a postcard mailing about 1-2 weeks before the UDF takes place. You will also notice yard signs throughout your neighborhood leading up to and during our flushing operations.
If you are a water sensitive customer, including businesses that rely on water for production, hospitals, clinics, food processing, restaurants, salons, laundromats or dry cleaners, etc., please contact us directly at (262)925-6211 or .
Whenever possible, please refrain from using tap water while our crews are flushing the water mains on your block. If you use water while we are flushing, you may experience low water pressure or a temporary loss of water pressure. These conditions are temporary and normal pressure should resume when the crew has completed their work. You may also notice cloudy or discolored water. Wait until flushing operations are complete, then flush the LOWEST LEVEL COLD WATER FAUCET for 5-10 minutes. It is important to flush only the cold water faucet as we want to avoid any discolored water from entering your hot water heater. It is also important that you postpone laundry activities until we have completed flushing and you have thoroughly flushed your faucet and confirmed that your water is clear.
If you experience low pressure or discolored water for more than 30 minutes, please contact us directly as (262)925-6211.
What if I Encounter a Flushing Operation?
It is important to be aware, stay alert and slow down when you are driving or walking past a flushing operation. Though crews will try to direct the water away from pedestrians and traffic, when encountering flushing operations in the city, please proceed cautiously or attempt to avoid these areas.