Every year, Brunswick County and the towns, cities, and other utilities that purchase water from Brunswick County, implement an annual flushing program. Public Utilities employees flush the water mains by opening fire hydrants and allowing them to flow freely for a short period of time. The flushing cleans out sediment and allows routine maintenance of the more than 6,000 fire hydrants in the Brunswick County service area. Flushing may result in discoloration and presence of sediment in your water. These conditions are not harmful and are temporary.
During the annual flushing program, a slight change is made in the water treatment process to facilitate an effective flushing program. Throughout the year, combined chlorine (in the form of chloramines), is added to the water as the primary disinfectant. During the annual flushing program, chlorine is added in an uncombined state, commonly referred to as free chlorine. Free chlorine is somewhat more volatile than combined chlorine, and readily reacts with sediments suspended during flushing. Brunswick County will use free chlorine as the primary disinfectant from October 16, 2023, through November 2023. Depending on your location within the distribution system and usage patterns, it could be a week to 10 days for your drinking water to transition from combined chlorine to free chlorine at the beginning of the flushing program. The annual change from chloramines to chlorine for this brief period is required by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.
You may notice a chlorine taste and odor in your drinking water while free chlorine is utilized. If you are especially sensitive to the taste and odor of chlorine, try keeping an open container of drinking water in your refrigerator. This will enable the chlorine to dissipate thus reducing the chlorine taste. Remember – drinking water has a shelf life! Change out the water in your refrigerated container weekly.
Please note, if you have an aquarium or pond always test the water you add to your aquatic environment to be sure it is free of any chlorine before adding fish or other animals. Chemical additives with directions for removing either free chlorine or chloramines from water for use in fish tanks or ponds are available at pet/fish supply stores.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this process, please contact the County’s Public Utilities Department at 910-253-2657, 910-371-3490, 910-454-0512, or your local water provider.