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Don't Drink this Water

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Hydrant Inspections May Cause Temporary Water Discoloration


WASA adds flushing crews to follow up on complaints

Jun 15, 2007 -- The District Department of Fire and Emergency Services (FEMS) is inspecting hydrants in areas throughout the city by turning them on to ensure that they are in good operating order. This high velocity flushing can cause a temporary discoloration of water when materials, like iron from pipes, dissolve into water delivered to the tap. In these situations, the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) provides this guidance for consumers who may experience discolored water:


• Do not drink, cook or do laundry with discolored water

• Do not run the hot water (because sediment could settle in your water heater)

• Run the cold water until it is clear


If the water does not clear after 10 minutes, discontinue water use for 30 minutes, then run water for 10 minutes again. If the water is still discolored, call the WASA 24-hour Emergency Services Line at (202) 614-3400 and a flushing crew will respond.


WASA, which operates and maintains more than 9,000 hydrants in the District, is working jointly with the District fire department (FEMS) on a multi-year Hydrant Upgrade Program. As fire department personnel complete a comprehensive inspection of every hydrant in the system, WASA flushing crews have been put on extended hours to respond to areas where there have been calls concerning discolored water.

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