Alabaster residents may see discolored water

Published 11:41 am Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Alabaster Fire Department will test hydrants throughout the city over the next couple of months. (File)

The Alabaster Fire Department will test hydrants throughout the city over the next couple of months. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Residents in some parts of Alabaster may see cloudy or discolored water coming from their faucets over the next couple of months, as the city’s fire department is preparing to conduct fire hydrant tests.

The Alabaster Fire Department is planning to test the city’s fire hydrants in September and October.

In September, the department will test hydrants along and off U.S. 31, along and off Shelby County 68, along and off Simmsville Road and Old Highway 31, in the Promenade shopping centers, in Saddle Lake Farms, in the South Forty subdivision and along and off Shelby County 87.

In October, the department will test hydrants off and along Alabama 119 from Thompson Road to the Montevallo-Alabaster city limit, along and off Shelby County 17 from Creek View Elementary to Butler Road, along and off Kent Dairy Road, along and off Fulton Springs Road, along and off Butler Road, along and off Smokey road and along and off Mission Hills Road.

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The testing will verify the hydrants are in good working order, and have the required water flow to combat fires should the situation arise, Alabaster Fire Chief Jim Golden wrote in an email.

Immediately following hydrant testing in their neighborhoods, some residents may see yellow, brown or rust-colored water coming from their faucets.

“Discoloration occurs when sediment in the water main is stirred up due to changes in water velocity or direction of flow,” Golden wrote. “Discolored water is safe to drink and bathe in. White or cloudy water may also occur due to the presence of tiny air bubbles.”

The department issued the following guidelines for residents:

• If possible, avoid using water while the fire hydrant testing is being conducted in your neighborhood. You may be able to prevent discolored water from entering your home by not using any water during this time. Avoid running faucets and using appliances like the dishwasher or washing machine. Once discolored water enters the plumbing in your home, the only way to remedy this problem is to flush the lines in your home completely by using water.

• If possible, refrain from washing laundry while fire hydrant testing is being conducted. Discolored water may stain clothes. Check for discolored water at water faucets throughout the house prior to using the washing machine and verify that the cold water in the house is clear. Start by washing a load of dark clothes first to minimize the potential for staining clothes.

• If you encounter discolored water, run the cold water faucets throughout your home for five to 10 minutes or until the water runs clear.

• If your water pressure or water flow is lower than normal after the fire hydrant testing, please check and clean the faucet screens as necessary throughout the house.

• If your water appears to be white/cloudy, this will dissipate over time. Run water into a clear glass and place it on the counter for a few minutes. The air bubbles will burst and the water should become clear.