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200 S. Ivy St. - RM 177
Medford, OR 97501
Phone: 541-774-2744
Fax: 541-826-5402
Contact: Jim Stockton, Water Quality Superintendent
Email: Jim.Stockton@cityo. . .
Hours: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Medford Water Commission

Medford Water Commission - 541.774.2430
Hydrant flushing: what and why

Occasionally our staff can be observed opening fire hydrants and allowing them to run for a period of time.  While there is often curiosity as to why this is being done, some customers may also be concerned about this practice, particularly when drought discussions are ongoing within the valley. 
 
While we of course always want to avoid wasting water, our highest priority is assuring high water quality, which sometimes necessitates the flushing of pipes and hydrants.  Line flushing can also occur as new pipelines are being brought into service, but those occur fairly infrequently, whereas routine flushing of hydrants can occur as often as weekly, with frequency generally increasing during the summer. 
 
As is typical of drinking water systems, our pipelines are constructed in loops, rather than being branched like a tree. This not only provides more reliable pressure and makes it less likely that water service to an area will be interrupted, but it also reduces the potential for water to become stale within pipelines from lack of movement.  However, there are situations where lines extend some distance beyond loops, particularly in locations where a pipeline is planned to be extended and looped back with future development.  To avoid water quality diminishing within these “dead end” lines, our staff will flush hydrants in such locations.  When this is done, flushing continues until the water is verified to be fresh. 

 
 

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