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July 27, 2012


Water flushing Aug. 12-25 to ensure clear system

Flushing of Fort McCoy’s water system will be conducted from Aug. 12-25 as a proactive measure to ensure the system is clear and can continue to provide quality water to the post’s work force, training population and residents.

Michael Miller, Fort McCoy Water and Waste Branch chief, said the purpose of uni-directional flushing is to clear any sediments from the system and ensure the quality and pressure of the water. This is in addition to the annual water-quality tests the installation is required to conduct, he added.

Uni-directional flushing goes beyond routine fire-hydrant flushing that the installation has done regularly. The new procedure is required by the Army and the state of Wisconsin and will be performed annually when a plan is developed, Miller said.

“We are not doing this because we are having problems with our water system,” he said. “We are doing this to help ensure we won’t encounter the problems this procedure will take care of.”

The flushing will be done completely outdoors, so no one will be entering buildings. Miller said members of the Fort McCoy community may notice some side-effects from the flushing in their buildings, including a drop in water pressure and discolored water as sediments are stirred up.

In uni-directional flushing, specified valves are shut off to force the water to run backwards. Miller said this is done to clear sand sediments that can develop and form shingle deposits. Shingle deposits are like the shingles used on roofs in that they form one layer over the other. When water reaches these shingles, it runs over the top of the shingles and can collect sediments or be slowed down passing over the sand sediments, thereby affecting the quality and pressure of the water. During uni-directional flushing, water is forced under the shingles, blowing them out of the line and ensuring unimpeded water flow.

“There are no harmful health effects from drinking discolored water,” he said. “Compounds such as iron, manganese, and other sediments make it discolored, but they don’t affect the microbiological quality of water.”

System customers experiencing discolored or rusty-looking water are encouraged to let the sediments settle for several hours after the flushing has been completed, he said. Customers also are encouraged to limit the use of hot water during this time because it could draw sediments into hot-water heaters. After the uni-directional flushing is completed, customers are advised to run cold water for about five minutes to flush the pipes, he said.

A uni-directional flushing program helps ensure McCoy’s hydrants, valves and mains are in good working order, and support the installation’s population. The testing ensures the installation’s water system maintains good water quality by scouring and cleaning the pipes, and ensuring the reliability of the water system.

For more information about the water system at McCoy, call Miller at 608-388-6546.

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