Goldsboro Public Works water flushing

From left, Don McMullen, Public Works distribution and collections superintendent, and Matthew Langley, Public Works distribution superintendent, demonstrate how the city is using a flushing diffuser that dechlorinates water after it is flushed through the water system.

Goldsboro Public Works employees began flushing water lines Sunday evening as part of the annual spring-cleaning process to disinfect the city’s drinking water.

The flushing will continue nightly between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., excluding Fridays and Saturdays, until June 14.

Mike Wagner, Goldsboro deputy public works director of utilities, said the city switched from using chloramines to free chlorine during the process.

“Free chlorine aids in the flushing process,” Wagner said. “It is a lot stronger than chloramines but it’s definitely not aesthetically pleasing.”

The process can cause some discoloration of the water, which is nothing to worry about, he said.

“The cloudiness is being caused by iron and magnesium in the system being oxidized,” Wagner said. “It causes a reddish or yellowish colored water. No one wants to see that but it doesn’t pose a health hazard.”

If a customer does see a reddish or yellowish tint to their water, they should turn on their cold-water faucet until the water clears, Wagner said.

Some residents might also be able to detect a chlorine odor in the water, he said.

“I can notice it in my house, especially when I wake up,” Wagner said.

After the 250 miles of water lines in the city are cleaned, the city will switch back to chloramines, which can’t be detected as much because chloramines are tasteless and odorless, Wagner said.

Crews from Public Works are working through the night to avoid peak times when customers use water. By 6 a.m., any sediment in the pipes usually will be settled, Wagner said.

The hospital and dialysis centers were notified when the city planned to start disinfecting the water system and they will be notified when the job is finished, Wagner said.

The city of Goldsboro has an older water distribution system, with water lines that are, on average, 70 years old, which is not unusual, Wagner said.

The annual cleaning process not only improves the water quality in the city by removing sedimentation from the water lines and disinfecting the drinking water, but workers are also making sure the water pressure is at the proper level to maintain fire protection, Wagner said.

Using free chlorine to disinfect water lines is the best practice recommended by the American Water Works Association, Wagner said.

If residents have any questions or concerns about their drinking water, they should contact the Public Works Department at 919-734-8674, during normal business hours, from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 to 11 a.m. Friday.