Elkins set to flush out water pipes

ELKINS — The city of Elkins will begin flushing out the water system this week in response to complaints about “brown water” coming out of the pipes.

“I know everybody in here has gotten at least one or two citizens complaints or concerns about brown water,” Operations Manager Bob Pingley told Elkins City Council last week. “The reason for that, we’ve done some things to our water system here recently that we haven’t done for a while. The biggest thing that we did was take a tank out of service to rehab it … that changed the flow in a major way.

“Regardless of the reasons it’s a problem,” he said. “We’ve been working on a flushing program in conjunction with the Rural Water Association to try to do it in a way we’ve not been able to before. Their program is very thorough, it’s very planned out, very technical. It requires opening and closing valves so that you force water to move in certain ways at certain velocities and I think when we get to it it’s going to be a great thing.

“However, it’s going to take some upfront time to make sure that those valves work, and make sure that those hydrants work. We’re probably not going to get that done until next spring,” Pingley said. “But we can’t wait on this problem, so I’ve instructed the water department. We’re going to do our normal flushing program. We’ll start Wednesday around three in the afternoon and we’ll go every day until we get it finished.

“Please be aware there’s going to be some short-term pain. Doing this we will stir the water up somewhat. Once it’s over, once it’s straightened back out, we’ll have a lot better water.”

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Marilynn Cuonzo asked it the water was safe.

“It is safe to drink,” Pingley said. “It is not appealing because the color is off.”

City-wide hydrant flushing will start near the Water Treatment Plant and work outward into the distribution system, a city press release stated. Flushing is necessary to maintain water clarity and quality in the distribution lines.

As a result of the line-flushing process, residents in the immediate vicinity of the work may experience cloudy or discolored water. To clear the water, allow cold water faucets to run for no longer than 10 minutes. If the water does not clear, try again in one hour. Use caution before washing laundry, especially light-colored items, the release states.