Does Your Water Taste Funny? Spring Flush on Tap

fire hydrant flushing



Each spring, Fairfax Water flushes its water mains by opening fire hydrants and allowing them to flow freely for a short period of time.

For the majority of customers, this will start in late March; for former Falls Church City customers, this started last week.

So what happens and why does your water taste, smell, or even look different for a short period of time?


Plain Language Explanation

The water treatment process switches from using combined chlorine to free chlorine.


Geeky Explanation

During this flushing period, a slight change is made in the water treatment process. Throughout the year, chloramines, also known as combined chlorine, are added to the water as the primary disinfectant. During the spring flushing program, chlorine is added in an uncombined state, commonly referred to as free chlorine. Free chlorine is quicker acting than combined, which allows it to react with sediments suspended during flushing.


Water is Safe to Drink

So you may notice a chlorine taste and odor in your drinking water while free chlorine is washing its way through. Flushing also may result in temporary discoloration and the presence of sediment in your water. These conditions are not harmful and should be of very short duration. If you are especially sensitive to the taste and odor of chlorine, try keeping an open container of drinking water in your refrigerator, but remember – drinking water has a shelf life! Change out the water in your refrigerated container weekly.

If you have questions about this program or the work being conducted in your area, call Fairfax Water any time of the day or night at 703-698-5613, TTY 711.

water flush quote

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