Approximately 180 gallons of water is treated for each person in the US every day.
Boston has one of the oldest water distribution systems in the country. The system we use today opened in 1848. Some of our water mains are more than a century old. To address this, Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) has an aggressive capital improvement program that relines or replaces old water mains. By doing this, BWSC maintains the lowest rate of water main brakes of any large system in the country.
Water that flows through newly relined or replaced mains is cleaner; and just to make sure, BWSC regularly flushes parts of its system where standing water might have acquired impurities from sitting in the pipes too long.
Flushing is performed during warm months of the year and is achieved by closing gate valves in the water mains in the street to isolate the water, which is then directed through the hydrant. The water creates a scouring velocity that will remove any material that has settled within the pipes. This flushing continues until the water is clear. The flushed water from the hydrant is directed into the gutters and then into the storm drain.
The purpose of the Water Main Flushing Program is to improve drinking water quality for residents and businesses throughout Boston. The flushing process may cause discolored water and a reduction in pressure. It should be noted that both of these conditions are temporary and not harmful. If, however, either of these conditions persist, please contact Community Services Department at 617-989-7000.
BWSC appreciates your patience as we work to improve the quality of drinking water throughout the City.