Canal Winchester residents are being asked to avoid running tap water in their homes when Canal Winchester begins flushing fire hydrants in April.

Canal Winchester residents are being asked to avoid running tap water in their homes when Canal Winchester begins flushing fire hydrants in April.

The next fire hydrant flushing will take place from April 11-29, between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. according to a news release issued by the village.

"If you see a hydrant being flushed on your street, avoid running tap water, your washing machine or your dishwasher until flushing in your area is complete," the news release said.

Division of Water manager Gary Schmitt said after flushing, tap water may be discolored by sediment. A slight discoloration may last a few hours but will not affect the taste or quality of the water, he said.

"This discoloration only affects the appearance of the water and poses no health threat," he said.

Residents who experience discolored water are asked to shut off the water and wait several minutes, then check the clarity by running the cold water for a few minutes to allow new water to flow into the pipes.

The press release said it may take a few hours before the water is completely clear. Residents should avoid washing laundry during scheduled flushing hours.

"If discolored water developed during the flushing process, laundry could become stained if washed before the water has run clear," Schmitt said. "Once water is clear, begin with a load of dark laundry before doing lights or whites."

Division of water personnel flush the fire hydrants twice a year - once in the spring and once in the fall - as part of a preventive maintenance program.

Schmitt said hydrant flushing is an important part of the village's water quality maintenance because it allows the village to scour and remove deposits from the distribution system pipes.

"It's the most effective way to keep drinking water safe, clean and pleasant-tasting," he said. "Flushing also verifies proper operation of hydrants and valves and maintains firefighting capabilities."

Canal Winchester has 571 fire hydrants, Schmitt said. If there is an indication during the flushing process that a hydrant is not operating properly and repairs do not fix the problem, a complete replacement of the fire hydrant would be necessary.

If repairs cannot be completed immediately, a black bag is placed over the hydrant to indicate that it is out of service, Schmitt said. Notices will also be given to the fire department alerting them to the situation, he said.

"There can be possibly two to three hydrants a year that may require some repairs," he said.

Replacement is not typical unless the hydrant is of such an age that parts are unavailable, which is rare, Schmitt said. In 2010, the village repaired one hydrant, he said.

Once the hydrants have been flushed, if water pressure seems low, residents should check their faucet screens for trapped particles, Schmitt said.

When residents see crews working, they are asked to drive carefully and treat workers like any other road construction crew, he said.