South Orange water utility valve exercising program

Photo Courtesy of New Jersey American Water
New Jersey American Water’s Jerry Castrogiovanni flushes a hydrant in the company’s Plainfield service area.

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The South Orange Village Water Utility started its annual water valve exercising program the week of March 20. Valve exercising will occur through Friday, April 7. Valve exercising will normally take place between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Each year, 20 percent of the valves in South Orange’s water system will be inspected and exercised. Valve exercising this year will occur within the Newstead and Upper Wyoming neighborhoods, although residents in the Lower Wyoming, South Mountain and Academy Heights neighborhoods may be impacted as well.

Residents may notice water crews using equipment to open and close the valves and at times allowing water to flow from nearby hydrants. This process of exercising water valves is an important maintenance activity in order to ensure reliability of the water distribution system.

South Orange Village conducts the valve exercising program to ensure valve reliability in emergencies; identify valves in need of repair or replacement; isolate water mains during breaks and minimize disruption of water service to customers; reduce water loss; create accurate valve records; and extend valve life.

The village’s partners at American Water will be conducting this valve exercising program. After many years without being exercised, it is anticipated that these valves may be difficult to operate properly and their exercising may cause periods of discoloration in the water in the affected areas. For valves in particularly poor condition, some may fail or leak while being exercised.

During this process, customers may experience discolored water and sediment for a short period of time. Although it may not look clear, the water is not harmful to your health, but can cause staining in laundry. If you have experienced discoloration, it is recommend that you purge the internal plumbing in your home. This is done by running several cold taps at full force for a period of one to two minutes, which should remove any discoloration from the water. It may be necessary to repeat the purging process after 30 minutes in some cases. Running water outside through a garden hose is also an effective way to purge discolored water from your pipes. In some cases, low water pressure and/or low flow volume may be experienced. In this event, remove and clean the screens found at the end of the water faucets. The screens may have gathered particles during the valve exercising process. If abnormally low pressure and/or low flow volume continue after cleaning the faucet screens, call 855-722-7072.

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