American Water to flush lines in April and May


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) Kentucky American Water says it will soon begin its annual water system flushing program, which involves crews opening selected fire hydrants throughout the water distribution system and letting them flow for several minutes.

Before, during, and, for a short period of time after the hydrant flushing program, the company’s three water treatment plants will temporarily change the disinfectant used in the treatment process from chloramine to chlorine.

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These activities are essential maintenance activities that assist in providing excellent quality water to customers.

Chloramine and chlorine are common disinfectants used in the water treatment process to remove microbial contaminants like bacteria and viruses from water. Chloramine is a water disinfectant that is formed when ammonia is added in combination with chlorine.

The temporary treatment process switch will involve turning off the ammonia feed in the water treatment plants. This is a common practice for water systems that normally use chloramine throughout the year.

The amount of chlorine in the water will remain the same, but customers may notice a stronger taste or smell of chlorine in the water. This poses no health risk and the water remains safe to drink.

During the flushing activity, company employees will open selected fire hydrants in a coordinated fashion so that water can flow through the water mains and out of the hydrants for several minutes.

As employees conduct this work they will adhere to recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control regarding social distancing.  The company asks customers to not approach employees as they work.

Crews will de-chlorinate the water as it leaves hydrants in order to remove the disinfecting agent in the water – chlorine – so that any water that enters streams is not harmful to aquatic life.

Dialysis centers, medical facilities and aquatic pet owners should take precautions during the temporary switch from chloramine to chlorine. Most methods for removing chloramine from tap water are also effective for removing chlorine, but confirming that a method is effective for both is recommended.

To reduce a heightened smell or taste of chlorine in tap water, refrigerate cold tap water in an open pitcher. Within a few hours the chlorine taste or smell will disappear.

It’s possible that customers may experience a slight discoloration of their water when crews are working in their areas. Should a customer notice discolored water coming from the tap, they should simply run their cold water faucet – not hot water – until the water clears.

The water remains safe to consume, but customers may want to avoid such activities as washing clothes when crews are flushing in their areas, since there is potential for discolored water that could stain clothing.

Treatment plants will temporarily switch disinfectant from chloramine to chlorine on Thursday, April 22.  Chloramine disinfection will resume on Tuesday, May 25.

Flushing will occur over several weeks according to the following schedule unless operational adjustments are needed:

  • Clark County
    May 17 – May 28 Daytime hours
  • Fayette County
    April 26 – May 14 Nighttime hours
  • Millersburg
    April 19 – April 23 Daytime hours
  • North Middletown
    May 17 – May 28 Daytime hours
  • Owen County (and Glencoe, Wheatley, Sparta)
    April 26 – May 14 Daytime hours
  • Rockcastle County
    April 19 – April 23 Daytime hours
  • Scott County
    May 10 – May 21 Daytime hours

An online map is available for customers to determine when crews will be flushing in their respective areas: Customers with questions about the flushing program may also contact Customer Service at 1-800-678-6301.