For as long as cities have had water lines, there’s been a need for routine flushing of those lines — and City crews have begun performing this annual rite of summer here in Kent so don’t be surprised to see them in your neighborhood or (for the first time) to get a call from them as they make their way block by block across Kent.
The City of Kent water crews are busy opening hydrants to make sure that the hydrants are in good working order and to give the water lines a good turn-over in water supply which helps flush out any mineral deposits in the line and keeps water quality high.
As former winners of the International Best Tasting Water award, we take water quality seriously. Thankfully, we have a first rate aquifer that has an excellent balance of good mineral content and abundant water supply so our water source gives us a great head start over a lot of other communities.
Nature takes care of a lot but we still have to run the ground water through our treatment process before sending it out the door to be stored in the tanks or pumped into the water lines in your neighborhood before arriving at your faucet or the fire hydrant on your street.
Either way, we know that when you turn the handle you expect instant delivery of safe, high quality water with adequate pressure to supply a wide range of everyday needs — from flushing toilets, running your washer, to sprinkling your lawn.
It turns out that those simple conveniences are actually not so simple. A lot of science, engineering and hard labor goes on behind the scenes in order to deliver each gallon of water — then multiple that by a couple of million gallons delivered a day and you get a sense of the magnitude of the job.
Throw in the fact that when it comes to supplying water, there is no margin for error — it has to be perfect every time.
The City of Kent is only about 8 square miles but we have thousands of miles worth of water lines serving Kent residents and businesses. Our water source and our water plant produce outstanding water but by the time it arrives at the water meter at your home it’s only as good as the water lines that deliver it.
With thousands of miles of lines battling all kinds of corrosive soil conditions, freeze thaw cycles, pressure hammers, and traffic loads driving overhead you can appreciate the challenge of keeping the lines in pristine condition.
There are a seemingly infinite number of spots where trouble can pop up in water lines and City crews are busy patching, plugging, repairing, and rebuilding water lines and their joints and valves all year long — summer just happens to be a time when they are a little more visible flushing hydrants.
The new twist to our hydrant flushing this year is the use of our new automated notification system (SwiftReach) that has the capability to call residents on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis to let them know when the City crews will be flushing their hydrants.
We still do the old fashioned list of streets but at the end of 2012 we purchased a new mass notification system that we hope will be a valuable addition to City services as we plan to use it for a wide range of applications that can target certain homes that may be affected by a water main break or are next up for leaf collection, etc.
Any Kent resident with a land line in Kent last Fall was automatically added to our database and any new residents, or residents who want to receive cell phone notification can sign up at any time.