Fire Hydrant Flushing FAQ's

Each year, the City of Brantford conducts its biannual flushing of hydrants throughout the city. Hydrant flushing is usually completed during the months of May and October and takes 6 weeks to complete on average. This process is necessary for cleaning our watermain pipes by removing sediment to help maintain water clarity, quality and capacity in the distribution pipes.   

Hydrant flushing activities may create temporary instances of discoloured water from sediment. While drinking small quantities of discoloured water is not likely to cause any health risk, it is recommended that residents run their taps for 5 to 10 minutes before consuming water.  

NOTE: Due to the regular operational work taking place during the hydrant flushing period, we are unable to provide exact timelines for flushing on a specific street. 

If there are any questions, concerns or requests for additional information, please contact Customer Services at 519-756-1360.

Frequently Asked Questions

 Why does the City perform hydrant flushing?
Flushing keeps water mains clear of sediment, which helps to ensure clear drinking water in our distribution system. Hydrant flushing is the quick release of water from fire hydrants and water mains. It’s a controlled procedure that is vital to the general maintenance of the City’s water distribution system. It also improves water quality by clearing iron and other mineral deposits from the water mains. 
 What are the effects of hydrant flushing?
Flushing can cause sediment to be stirred up for a few minutes. Customers drawing water at the time of flushing in their area can experience reddish-brown coloured water. If this occurs, run your taps until the water runs clear. 

Hydrant flushing helps ensure water quality and helps avoid random bouts of rusty water if there is a high demand for water, caused by a major firefighting effort or water main break. 

During the flushing of a hydrant, some customers may also notice reduced water pressure and flow.

 How often is hydrant flushing done?
Hydrant flushing is performed two times a year—once in the spring and once in the fall. The work is generally done between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm and takes an average of 6 weeks to complete. 
 Why does hydrant flushing cause my water to appear rusty red-brown or tea-colored?
Sometimes hydrant flushing can make the water temporarily appear rust-colored because the iron and other mineral deposits in the water mains get stirred up.
 Is the water discoloured from hydrant flushing safe to drink?
There is no health hazard associated with discolored water. Water is safe to use and consume during hydrant flushing, however it may stain laundry.
 Does the City test the water regularly? Is the testing done at various sites?
The City of Brantford tests the water both leaving the water plant and throughout the water system regularly, following provincial water testing regulations. Many tests are also completed around the clock during the water treatment process. 
 Is there anything I should do if I see Water Department staff flushing a hydrant on my street?
If you are doing laundry, stop if possible. Just monitor the water to see if anything changes. The City always leaves water in the system better than it when they got there. If water is discoloured just flush until water is clear which could be 10 to 15 minutes.
What should I do if I see discoloured water coming out of my faucet? 

If you see a reddish, yellow, or brown tint to your tap water, do not be alarmed. Run a cold water faucet for 10 to 15  minutes to make sure the water is clear. Do not choose a faucet with a water filter connected to it, as sediment may clog the filter.  

Do not use a hot water tap as doing so may draw sediment into your hot water tank. If water pressure or water volume seems low after flushing has been completed, check faucet screens for trapped particles. 

If the water does not clear after 30 minutes, or if you have reduced pressure or flow, please contact Customer Services at 519-756-1360.