March 1, 2004


            You deserve to have fair warning that this newsletter contains nothing but actual news. If you are scanning down the page looking for possum jokes, cheap shots at PETA or other typical bits of nonsense, they’re not here. Instead, we are taking time out to inform you of the activities of your Association.

              March is the month of spring flushing. Around mid-month, we will begin cleaning the winter’s accumulation of rust and sediment out of our pipes. This is accomplished by opening fire hydrants or flush valves and creating a mess. The goal is to produce a fast flow through the pipes that will sweep them clean of the stuff that shouldn’t be in there.

             We follow a plan and schedule that proceeds from the top (highest elevation) of our system to the bottom (lowest elevation). It is designed to proceed uniformly and smoothly, leaving nothing but pristine pipes behind and without disrupting water service, inconveniencing the cook and bottle washer, or turning anybody’s white laundry brown. It works perfectly on paper. Reality, of course follows its own plan. The truth is that you will definitely know something is going on. The unavoidable consequences of pipeline flushing are:

1.    Low water pressure, or total loss of water. If this happens during working hours, it is probably due to our flushing activities. If it happens at night, it’s something much worse. Either way, you can call our office to find out for sure. Flushing seldom causes an outage of more than 15 or 20 minutes, but there may be exceptions. Please be prepared, by saving some water for essential use.

2.    Discolored water when it comes back on. This will always be the case, there is no point pretending otherwise. If a glass of water clears up in a minute or two, it was dissolved air, which is harmless and goes away on its own eventually. If it stays cloudy, it is dirt, and you should do some flushing of your own. You should use large faucets, like outside hose connections. Most of the faucets in your house have flow restrictors on them that will not run much water, and will probably plug up anyway. You will need to clean your sink aerators after an episode of flushing.

              The avoidable consequences of pipeline flushing are in the general category of “water rage,” a phenomenon that overtakes people during times of great stress, like in the shower when you’ve got a really good lather worked up in your hair, and it is starting to sting your eyes, and you need to rinse now, but there is a sudden silence followed by a sucking sound at the shower head. By the time you stumble to the phone to call the water company and your lawyer, the water starts running again, but it has a color that doesn’t look good on you. Then the shower head plugs off with grit. That’s when you will discover the limits of your patience.

              We will complete the flushing program a few days before meter reading starts, so that you will not incur a high water bill by flushing your own pipes. We plan to start the week of March 8th. The direction of progress will be southward and eastward, starting at U50 road and proceeding down the valley, across Cedar Mesa, Cactus Park, Dry Creek, and finally Redlands Mesa. Meter reading will begin March 19th.

              If you call our office, we can probably predict when to expect problems caused by flushing in your neighborhood. Unfortunately, we can’t help you much with water rage. This is one of those things in life you just gotta deal with.