2021 Water Main Flushing Program

MARCH 2021 - APRIL 2021


Watch for signs placed a few days before flushing occurs in your area.

If water discoloration is noticed in your residence or building, stop all water use and wait, several hours may be required to rid the cloudiness from the water mains that serve your home or business.

Turn on outside spigots, cold water bathtub faucets, flush toilets, and run a cycle through the washing machine to clear the water in your service line.

Be certain discolored water is out of your water service line before using large amounts of water or doing laundry.

Do not wash clothes or run a dishwasher during or immediately after flushing takes place. Washing clothes with discolored water can cause laundry stains.

If laundry does become stained, do not dry it; request a free packet of Red-B-Gone laundry aide from the Village of Chatham, Dustin Patterson, at (217) 483-2451. This product may remove the stains.

Discolored water poses no threat to your health. You may wish to avoid drinking or cooking with the water.

What is the Water Main and Hydrant Flushing Program?

Water main flushing can be performed either by means of conventional flushing or unidirectional flushing. In order to effectively flush the water main, a target scouring velocity of 5 feet per second is desired. Conventional flushing which consists of sequentially opening fire hydrants can sometimes achieve the target velocities. In locations where the target velocity cannot be achieved, unidirectional flushing is required. Unidirectional flushing is a systematic method of closing water main valves and opening hydrants to direct water one-way at high velocities through defined segments of pipe. Both unidirectional flushing and conventional flushing induce high water velocities which effectively removes deposits and cleans the pipe. The benefits of flushing include removal of rust and sediment, improved chlorine residual, and reduction in taste and odor; all of which can help provide high quality water to the residents.

The water main flushing program has been developed to start at the water source in order to systematically draw clean water through the system. The water main flushing route has been designed to follow the regular flow of the water. Since the source of water for the Village of Chatham is on the east side of the Village, those areas will be flushed first.

In each area, water mains requiring unidirectional flushing will be flushed first followed by water mains that require conventional flushing. This might result in unidirectional flushing occurring on the main road one day and then conventional flushing on side streets a few days or weeks later. So be aware that a given area could be impacted by flushing multiple, non-consecutive days.

How Will Flushing Affect Water Service?

When flushing crews are working near your residence or business, you may experience periods of very low pressure or even a complete stoppage of service. We will attempt to notify customers in advance if flushing is expected to result in a complete water outage, but such outages are rare. If you have special water needs or specific time restrictions, please notify the Village. Should you experience an extended loss of water service (more than one hour), please notify flushing crews or call the Village at (217) 483-2451.

Given the scouring velocities involved, flushing operations will likely lead to discolored water, which can be drawn into homes and businesses if the water is being used during, or immediately following, the flushing. Such events should affect customers for a few hours at most. The discoloration is caused by iron (red color) or manganese (black color) particles being dislodged from the water main, which can stain porcelain and laundry. If discoloration occurs, open the cold tap nearest the water meter—usually a basement sink or outside spigot—to full flow until the water runs clear. In some situations, this may take five to ten minutes. It is also advised that you make sure your water is clear before doing laundry or other projects for which discolored water could cause problems. This may require running a cold water cycle through your washing machine in addition to the steps listed above.

Unfortunately, customers will likely be impacted by flushing operations. Please be patient and notify the Village if you have a loss of water service or if discoloration extends beyond a few hours. Discolored water poses no threat to your health, although it is recommended to avoid drinking or cooking with the discolored water. If laundry does become stained, do not dry it; request a free packet of Red-B-Gone laundry aid from the Village or flushing crews. This product may help in removing stains.

For more information about precautions to take during a boil order, click here.

Purpose of the Water Main Flushing Program

The purpose of the flushing program is to provide better water quality and service to our customers. The program is designed to adhere to the IEPA mandated water quality improvement regulations. Flushing water mains removes sediment that may have accumulated in the pipes over several years.  Although the Village has flushed mains and hydrants in the past, these activities have been sporadic and usually due to new construction activities or at the request of village customers.  This program is a comprehensive system-wide cleaning that will likely take place on regular basis to ensure high levels of water quality within the distribution system.

Where will the Water Main Flushing Program Take Place?

It is the intent of the program to flush the entire Village. Flushing will begin on the east side of the Village and move west.

When will the Water Main Flushing Program Take Place?

Generally, flushing will take place between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.  There may be locations when flushing operations must occur at night, and schedule of the areas and times for the anticipate flushing will be updated regularly and can be seen on this site. Please continue to check the website and be aware of signs posted in your area indicating flushing operations


In addition to updates on the Village website, signs will be placed along streets a few days before flushing occurs in specific areas.
The Village of Chatham appreciates your patience as we work to improve the quality of drinking water provided to our valued customers.

Updates will be available on www.chathamil.gov

2021 Water Main Flushing Program

NOTICE: Area 1 begins Monday, March 22, 2021. Click here to view the map.