Flushing of Amherst water system under way

Dave Mathieson
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The department of public works was flushing out water at a hydrant on Charles Street Tuesday in Amherst. It’s part of an annual, four-week program that takes place throughout Amherst. 

AMHERST – The Town of Amherst’s public works department is in the process of flushing out the water system throughout Amherst.

“During the operation of our pumps a certain amount of silt gets picked up and pushed through the whole system, so this flushes out all that material,” said Ben Pitman, director of transportation and public works.

What they are doing is called a ‘uni-directional flushing’ program.

Pitman said that pumps located at the north end of the well-field pumps water from the groundwater source into the water reservoir, and from the reservoir it’s distributed to the entire town.

He emphasized that the material that builds up isn’t dangerous or hazardous.

“It just discolors the water, and if you don’t flush it out it will clog the pipes over time.”

This is the tenth year they’ve been flushing out the system.

“Every year we go through the program to clear the debris out of the system,” said Pitman.

Amherst has about 400 hydrants in their system and it takes four weeks to flush the system out every year.

“We don’t go to every hydrant but we cover the entire system,” said Pitman.

During the flushing program the water may get a little brown.

“People who get discolored water should run their tap for a short period of time and the water should clear up,” said Pitman.

If discoloration continues, water customers can contact public works garage at 667-3334.



Geographic location: Amherst

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