Plumbers offer advice on flushing water lines

JC boil order lifted Wednesday evening

An open fire hydrant helps reduce water pressure while Missouri American Water officials wait for a saddle clamp needed to repair a blown by-pass Tuesday morning, Oct. 23, 2012, at the High Service Building.

An open fire hydrant helps reduce water pressure while Missouri American Water officials wait for a saddle clamp needed to repair a blown by-pass Tuesday morning, Oct. 23, 2012, at the High Service Building. Photo by Kelley McCall.

Local plumbers advise Missouri American Water customers in Jefferson City to take a few extra precautions now that the boil order was lifted Wednesday night. Dave Kempker, a plumber with Plumb Magic in Jefferson City, said residents should throw away refrigerator ice that was made after the water was turned back on Tuesday.

“If it got mixed together with ice that was made previously, they need to dump it all out,” he said.

Replacing filters is also a good idea, he suggested. He noted most refrigerators only have one filter — typically on the ice maker — but some residences have a whole-house filter that also should be looked at, he said.

Kempker also said homeowners should take Tuesday’s event as a reason to drain and flush their water heaters. “It’s something you should do every year, anyway, to prolong the life of your water heater” and reduce lime scale, he advised.

He said few people know they are supposed to flush their water heaters annually, and even fewer do it. But it’s a good tip for saving money over the long run, he said.

And he added it wouldn’t hurt for homeowners to run water through a faucet for 10 to 15 minutes to flush out the house lines, he said.

“It’s not that the water is unsafe now,” Kempker said. “But authorities just want to make sure everyone is safe.”

He said chlorine levels will probably be higher for the next few days.

According to Missouri-American, the temporary interruption in service was caused by a 6-inch main break. Operations Superintendent Gilbert Cole said the pipe was on the manifold of the pumps at the treatment plant on West Main Street. The relief valve system that broke was more than 90 years old, he added.

The company asked customers to boil their drinking water until the order was lifted; boil orders, or advisories, normally last 24 to 36 hours after repairs are completed. The order was lifted Wednesday night.

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