The City of Lacey maintains over 400 miles of pipe to make sure you receive clean water each and every day. In order to consistently provide high quality drinking water, in 2004 the Lacey Water Utility established a preventative maintenance program known as the Uni-Directional Flushing (UDF) program to clean all lines throughout the water distribution system.
Over time, minerals from our deep well water can accumulate inside water pipes. While these minerals are generally harmless, changes in flow can sometimes result in cloudy, discolored water. In order to maintain high water quality, these materials need to be removed regularly.
Lacey field crews open fire hydrants and blow-off valves to flow large amounts of water in a planned route. The water travels so fast that it is strong enough to remove the build-up of minerals from inside the pipes. We refer to this activity as “flushing”.
You may notice a slight discoloration of your water when flushing takes place. This is temporary and is not harmful to your health. If you experience coloring or sediment in your water, let your tap flow for a short time (5-20 minutes) until it runs clear before using it for drinking, cooking, or clothes washing.
When flushing does occur, you may see water flowing along the gutter line of the street and entering storm drains. At times, this water may be very cloudy or brownish in color.
Signs are posted before flushing takes place in a neighborhood and in the immediate area where Lacey crews will be working.
Flushing activities begin each fall and continue until late spring (October through May). Because waterline cleaning uses large amounts of water, flushing does not take place in the summer when customer demand for water is at its highest.
It takes nearly five years to complete one cleaning cycle of the entire city’s water distribution lines. Some parts of the water system require flushing more frequently and may need cleaning every year. Water quality sampling throughout the distribution system, helps staff determine which parts of the system need greater attention.