Skip ribbon commands
Skip to main content

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Water main flushing in Edmonton

Have you ever seen water flowing from a fire hydrant, but not a fire in sight? You were probably watching a water main being cleaned using a flushing process. Water main flushing is ​widely used by municipalities to effectively clean pipes, water mains and water distribution systems to deliver safe drinking water to customers.

When water main flushing typically occurs

Water main flushing can be planned as part of regular system maintenance, or when we drain or commission existing water mains. It can also be unplanned, such as after water main breaks, infrastructure damage or infrastructure failure.

For planned work, EPCOR crews work around the clock from May through September. They try to avoid working around dinner during the peak flushing period.​​​

Water main flushing 

Have you ever seen water flowing from a fire hydrant, but not a fire in sight? You were probably watching a water main being cleaned using a flushing process. Water main flushing is ​widely used by municipalities to effectively clean pipes, water mains and water distribution systems to deliver safe drinking water to customers.

When water main flushing typically occurs

Water main flushing can be planned as part of regular system maintenance, or when we drain or commission existing water mains. It can also be unplanned, such as after water main breaks, infrastructure damage or infrastructure failure.

For planned work, EPCOR crews work from Spring through Fall during regular business hours 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Water main flushing 

Have you ever seen water flowing from a fire hydrant, but not a fire in sight? You were probably watching a water main being cleaned using a flushing process. Water main flushing is ​widely used by municipalities to effectively clean pipes, water mains and water distribution systems to deliver safe drinking water to customers.

When water main flushing typically occurs

Water main flushing can be planned as part of regular system maintenance, or when we drain or commission existing water mains. It can also be unplanned, such as after water main break​s, infrastructure damage or infrastructure failure.

For planned work, EPCOR crews work during the summer from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Water main flushing 

Have you ever seen water flowing from a fire hydrant, but not a fire in sight? You were probably watching a water main being cleaned using a flushing process. Water main flushing is ​widely used by municipalities to effectively clean pipes, water mains and water distribution systems to deliver safe drinking water to customers.

When water main flushing typically occurs

Water main flushing can be planned as part of regular system maintenance, or when we drain or commission existing water mains. It can also be unplanned, such as after water main breaks, infrastructure damage or infrastructure failure.

For planned work, EPCOR crews typically work during the day from January through March. They try to avoid working around dinner during the peak flushing period.​​​​​​​ To learn what we are doing​​ and how long we will be in your neighborhood, check the water main flushing schedule posted in customer noti​ces.

How to know if water main flushing is occurring in your neighborhood​​

  • If you see an EPCOR vehicle and/or water flowing from a hydrant you can view our water outage map to confirm what we are doing and how long we will be in your neighborhood.​​ Areas with water main​​s being flushed are shown on the map.
  • You may experience temporary low water pressure or cloudy water while we are flush​ing fire hydrants near you. Learn more below. ​View our water outage map​ to confirm if we are water main flushing​ in your area.

If you experience cloudy water or sudden ​low water pressure and a reason for it is not listed on our map call our Water Trouble line at 780-412-4500​. You can also follow our guide to ​ troubleshoot for low water pressure​ in your home. ​​​​


How to know if water main flushing is occurring in your neighborhood​​

  • If you see an EPCOR vehicle and/or water flowing from a hydrant, similar to image.​​
  • ​You may experience temporary low water pressure or cloudy water while we are flush​ing fire hydrants near you. Learn more below. ​

If you experience sudden ​low water pressure that isn't due to water main flushing, you can follow our guide to ​ troubleshoot for low water pressure​ in your home. ​​​​​​


What to know when we are flushing in your neighborhood 

  • You may have temporarily cloudy water or low water pressure while fire hydrants near you are being flushed. 
  • Your water won't be turned off, and you'll continue to receive uninterrupted water service to your home.​​ 
  • Water main flushing can take anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes per fire hydrant to complete, with an average of approximately 25 minutes per hydrant. You may experience temporary low water pressure or cloudy water during this time.​​​​
  • Water main servicing doesn't affect your water bill. You're only charged for water that passes through your meter, and flushed water is emptied out of the distribution system well before then.​

What to know when we are flushing in your neighborhood 

  • You may have temporarily cloudy water or low water pressure while fire hydrants near you are being flushed. 
  • Your water won't be turned off, and you'll continue to receive uninterrupted water service to your home.​​ 
  • Water main flushing can take anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes per fire hydrant to complete, with an average of approximately 25 minutes per hydrant. You may experience temporary low water pressure or cloudy water during this time.​​​​
  • Water main servicing doesn't affect your water bill. You're only charged for water that passes through your meter, and flushed water is emptied out of the distribution system well before then.​​​

Water main flushing usin​g UDF

Unidirectional flushing (UDF) is the water main cleaning method EPCOR uses for our flushing of water mains procedure. UDF simply means guiding water in a single direction through the pipes by systematically closing valves and releasing the water through fire hydrants.​ ​​​​
How does UDF work?

​Most utilities use some form of flushing and disinfection of water mains in their regular maintenance schedule by opening a hydrant in the distribution system and flushing for an extended period of time to move water. The process is known as traditional flushing. Although lots of water is moved, this is not a very effective means for cleaning inside the water mains, as the water moves from multiple directions at a slower velocity. 

UDF, on the other hand, involves the systematic closing of valves and opening of hydrants to create a single direction of flow in flushing sequences. All that water flowing in one direction results in faster velocity and more turbulent flow, which means cleaner water mains and a more efficient water system. 

 We flush from largest mains to smallest mains, and the cleanest mains to dirtier mains. This ensures dirty water is not being pushed into clean pipes and that the pressure stays high.​​​​

Why is water main flushing required?

​Cleaning water mains and flushing hydrants is a necessary part of maintaining a safe and reliable drinking water​ supply and system. Flushing water lines helps to maintain and improve water quality.

Water main flushing helps:

  • ​scour (scrub) the inside of the pipe,
  • remove sediment, silt, and biofilm,
  • improve water color,
  • improve turbidity (for clearer, less cloudy water),
  • increase chlorine residual,
  • reduce flushing frequency and water use, resulting in savings over traditional flushing, and

By pumping high-pressured water through the pipes and releasing it through fire hydrants, biological and mineral deposits are removed from water mains to get the cleanest, clearest water to you.​​​​

Does UDF waste a lot of water?

​B​ecause Unidirectional Flushing is more effective at getting the pipes clean, we're able to flush less often. And because the pressure and velocity used in UDF is so much higher than traditional flushing, we actually run the water for a shorter duration. Our flushing schedule is also designed to ensure that we never unnecessarily flush an area.​​

​Any water that is discharged is returned back to the river through our storm systems, with a small percentage directed to our Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant through our combined storm/sanitary sewer systems. To that end, the water is returned to the water cycle.​​

How does UDF work?
​Most utilities use some form of flushing and disinfection of water mains in their regular maintenance schedule by opening a hydrant in the distribution system and flushing for an extended period of time to move water. The process is known as traditional flushing. Although lots of water is moved, this is not a very effective means for cleaning inside the water mains, as the water moves from multiple directions at a slower velocity. 

UDF, on the other hand, involves the systematic closing of valves and opening of hydrants to create a single direction of flow in flushing sequences. All that water flowing in one direction results in faster velocity and more turbulent flow, which means cleaner water mains and a more efficient water system. 

 We flush from largest mains to smallest mains, and the cleanest mains to dirtier mains. This ensures dirty water is not being pushed into clean pipes and that the pressure stays high.​​​​

Why is water main flushing required?
​Cleaning water mains and flushing hydrants is a necessary part of maintaining a safe and reliable drin​​king water​ supply and system. Flushing water lines helps to maintain and improve water quality.

Water main flushing helps:

  • ​scour (scrub) the inside of the pipe,
  • remove sediment, silt, and biofilm,
  • improve water color,
  • improve turbidity (for clearer, less cloudy water),
  • increase chlorine residual,
  • reduce flushing frequency and water use, resulting in savings over traditional flushing, and

By pumping high-pressured water through the pipes and releasing it through fire hydrants, biological and mineral deposits are removed from water mains to get the cleanest, clearest water to you.​​​​

Does UDF waste a lot of water?
​B​ecause Unidirectional Flushing is more effective at getting the pipes clean, we're able to flush less often. And because the pressure and velocity used in UDF is so much higher than traditional flushing, we actually run the water for a shorter duration. Our flushing schedule is also designed to ensure that we never unnecessarily flush an area.​​

​Any water that is discharged is returned back to the river through our storm systems. To that end, the water is returned to the water cycle.​​​

How does UDF work?
​Most utilities use some form of flushing and disinfection of water mains in their regular maintenance schedule by opening a hydrant in the distribution system and flushing for an extended period of time to move water. The process is known as traditional flushing. Although lots of water is moved, this is not a very effective means for cleaning inside the water mains, as the water moves from multiple directions at a slower velocity. 

UDF, on the other hand, involves the systematic closing of valves and opening of hydrants to create a single direction of flow in flushing sequences. All that water flowing in one direction results in faster velocity and more turbulent flow, which means cleaner water mains and a more efficient water system. 

 We flush from largest mains to smallest mains, and the cleanest mains to dirtier mains. This ensures dirty water is not being pushed into clean pipes and that the pressure stays high.​​​​
Why is water main flushing required?
Cleaning water mains and flushing hydrants is a necessary part of maintaining a safe and reliable drin​​king water​ supply and system. Flushing water lines helps to maintain and improve water quality.

Water main flushing helps:

  • ​scour (scrub) the inside of the pipe,
  • remove sediment, silt, and biofilm,
  • improve water color,
  • improve turbidity (for clearer, less cloudy water),
  • increase chlorine residual,
  • reduce flushing frequency and water use, resulting in savings over traditional flushing, and

By pumping high-pressured water through the pipes and releasing it through fire hydrants, biological and mineral deposits are removed from water mains to get the cleanest, clearest water to you.​​​​

Does UDF waste a lot of water?
​B​ecause Unidirectional Flushing is more effective at getting the pipes clean, we're able to flush less often. And because the pressure and velocity used in UDF is so much higher than traditional flushing, we actually run the water for a shorter duration. Our flushing schedule is also designed to ensure that we never unnecessarily flush an area.​​

​Any water that is discharged is returned back to the river through our storm systems. To that end, the water is returned to the water cycle.​​​​

​Water Main Flushing

This process cleans the inside of the water mains and removes sediment.​​

What is Unidirectional Flushing (UDF)?

UDF simply means guiding water in a single direction through the pipes by systematically closing valves and releasing it through fire hydrants.​

How does UDF work?

​UDF involves the systematic closing of valves and opening of hydrants to create a single direction of flow. All that water flowing in one direction results in faster velocity and more turbulent flow, which means cleaner mains.

We flush from largest mains to smallest mains and the cleanest mains to dirtier mains. This ensures dirty water is not being pushed into clean pipes, and that the pressure stays high.​

Why is flushing required?

​UDF is effective in:

  • ​​Scouring (scrubbing) of the inside of the pipe.
  • Removing sediment, silt, and biofilm.
  • Improving water color.
  • Improving turbidity (clearer water, less cloudy).
  • Increasing chlorine residual.
  • ​The opportunity for preventative maintenance on water infrastructure. 

By pumping high pressured water through the pipes and releasing it through fire hydrants, we rid the mains of biological and mineral deposits and get the cleanest, clearest water to you.​

Do I need to do anything?

You may experience temporarily cloudy water or low water pressure for the duration of the flush in your area. Your water won't be turned off and you'll continue to receive uninterrupted water service to your home. Your water remains safe to drink during this time.​

Can I do anything about temporarily clouded water?

If you experience cloudy water, we recommend that you run your cold water tap for approximately three minutes or until the water runs clear. You should notice the water starting to clear after our flushing is complete.​

How long will UDF take?

A drop in water pressure caused by UDF servicing can range anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes, with an average of approximately 25 minutes.​

Will UDF servicing increase my water bill?

​UDF servicing doesn't affect your water bill. You're only charged for water that passes through your meter and flushed water is emptied out of the distribution system well before then.

Important:

Don't use any type of liquid lawn products that attach directly to your hose when your area is receiving UDF service. Due to the water pressure change, anything attached to your hose could be sucked into it and will end up in your water main, potentially contaminating your and your neighbors' water supply. You can learn more about this hazard on our preventing backflow page.

Does UDF waste a lot of water?

Because UDF is more effective at getting the pipes clean, we're able to flush less often. And because the pressure and velocity used in UDF is so much higher than traditional flushing, we actually run the water for a shorter duration. Our flushing schedule is also designed to ensure that we never unnecessarily flush an area.​