Summer temperatures and conservation efforts forced the City of Henrietta to flush the city’s water lines early than usual this year, drawing the ire of some residents.
City hall was flooded with calls June 23-24 as city workers opened fire hydrants around town, a process the city goes through twice a year to remove chlorine residue in the water lines.
Troy Potts, public works director for the City of Henrietta, said in years with normal rainfall, the city’s water lines are flushed in mid July, and again in the winter months. This year, city crews began the process Sunday, June 22.
As required by TCEQ, the city replaces chloramines used in the water treatment process with free chlorine to disinfect the water distribution system for one month during the summer, and again in the winter. Potts said the disinfectant process is especially important during the summer as water temperatures above 80 degrees allows for the growth of algae. As conservation drives down usage, and water sits in lines for longer periods of time, the city asked permission of the TCEQ to flush the system early.
With Henrietta in Stage 5 water restrictions, esidents urged the city to consider capturing the water escaping from hydrants, which Potts said is not really feasible due to the rate of release. The city flushes the system at five locations throughout the city. Once the flush begins, it can not be stopped until complete. Potts noted that the fire hydrants release 800-1,000 gallons per minute.