In an effort to “clear the pipes” and maintain safe, clean delivery of water to customers in the city of St. Petersburg, the Water Resources Department is developing and implementing a Unidirectional Flushing (UDF) Program. UDF is a proven practice to clean and maintain potable water distribution pipes. It is a systematic flushing technique that isolates portions of the distribution system to achieve water flow in one direction. Using hydraulic computer modeling, UDF “sequences” are designed to achieve high-velocities in the target pipes to scour mineral deposits, biofilm and sediments that accumulate over time. These elements are simply “flushed” from the water mains through the high pressure process using clean water and are effectively removed from the distribution system.
While the program is being rolled-out initially in the southern portion of the city’s water distribution system in order to gauge its effectiveness, it will be implemented in all areas of the city. Only citizens who are St. Petersburg Water Resources customers will be affected; private water systems and master-metered complexes will not be flushed as part of this program. Residents will see crews in tapping fire hydrants to release the directed water between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. The entire operation is slated to start in mid-February and will run approximately six weeks into and through the month of March.
Residents in the immediate vicinity of flushing may notice temporarily discolored water (caused by turbulence from the scrubbing process) and lower than normal water pressure. The discoloration does not pose a health risk. However, citizens should avoid using tap water or running the washing machine or dishwasher until flushing is complete. While the water WILL be safe, it is recommended that users run the faucet for five to ten minutes until the water appears clear. If the water does not clear after this procedure, please call Water Resources at 727-893-7261. After the hydrant flushing, this portion of the water quality system maintenance will be complete. Citizens will be alerted to impending work nearby with door hangers and street-side signage.