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Water And Sewerage Authority Water Mains Flushing in Onchan and Upper Willaston 5 November 2012

Early in November the Isle of Man Water and Sewerage Authority is flushing its water mains in Onchan and Upper Willaston by opening hydrants throughout the area, as it is a necessity to maintain the water quality in the system. Flushing moves the water through the mains at such a high speed as to loosen the deposits of iron and manganese and remove them from the system. However, flushing stirs up sediment and can result in discoloured water in your home. The discoloration is not harmful, and usually will clear up when you let your water run for awhile. At times, homeowners also experience loss of water pressure during the operation because so much water is being diverted to the hydrant. Though flushing can be an inconvenience for some people, our teams do their best to keep the inconvenience to a minimum and, in the long run, customers enjoy clearer water as a result.

Before engaging in a program of flushing, we have done our best to alert our customers to the possibility of discoloured water. We have posted notices in the papers, have informed a number of sensitive customers in the area and have notices on the local radio stations.

The flushing is being carried out at night to minimise the chance of discolouration to our customers. However there is a chance that a few customers will have some discolouration at their taps when they wake up in the morning. You should run your kitchen cold water tap until it clears. Please do not use any hot water until the cold water is clear. The work should have no impact on your central heating system, your internal pipework or the pipe connecting your property to our water main.

If the discoloration persists for 2 to 3 hours please contact the Customer Services Department on 695949.

We ask everyone's cooperation and patience during this procedure.

Why do we flush?

  • A natural sediment very similar to rust builds up in old, iron water mains, over time, and normally sits harmlessly in the bottom of pipes. However, if disturbed by increased flow (possibly due to a burst main) or flow reversal (to maintain supplies), this sediment can cause discolouration of supply. Although not harmful to health, the appearance of the water is impaired and may not be palatable.
  • Flushing is an effective method of cleaning the pipework prior to or after essential work where there is a risk that discoloured water may result.
  • The amount of water flushed is strictly controlled to minimise the volume of water discharged.

The Systematic flushing programme

When water leaves the treatment works it is delivered through a network of distribution pipes made of cast iron, plastic or cement. The Isle of Man Water & sewerage Authority Water supply area covers nearly 220 square miles, serving over 85,000 people and businesses through a network of 1,600 kilometres of . It is our responsibility to deliver high quality water that meets EU standards.

Flushing is carried out to clean the water mains by removing sediment that may be present in the pipe. Rust deposits, mostly iron and manganese, build up on the inside of the water mains and flushing the water through at high pressure can remove these deposits and ultimately improve the quality of the water supplied to our customers.

The opportunity is also taken to check on the condition of fixtures like hydrants and valves and repairs are made where necessary. As water mains are flushed, customers may notice a temporary reduction in water pressure and possible water discolouration.

Preparatory work will be carried out prior to the flushing minimising disruption to customers. Samples of water will be taken before, during and after the work has been completed to monitor the water quality.

Signs are put out before we begin flushing in an area to advise customers of the work. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience this project may cause but can assure you that this work is being carried out to prevent future problems and ensure you have the highest quality drinking water at all times.

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