City water system flushing begins April 13 and will continue for several weeks

​Bellingham water maintenance staff performing annual watermain flushing

May 05, 2020 - by Riley Grant

Each year, Bellingham Public Works flushes out watermains to maintain efficient operation. If not flushed out at least annually, naturally occurring mineral deposits can build up on the inside of the pipes. That build-up reduces both the efficiency, quality, and the capacity of the City’s water distribution system.

Beginning Monday April 13, you will notice city crews performing this essential task throughout town. Precisely when they will be in specific areas is difficult to determine as it depends greatly on the condition of each area flushed. Some take longer than others. The purpose of the Water Main Flushing Program is to improve drinking water quality for residents and businesses throughout Bellingham. The flushing process may cause discolored water and a reduction in pressure. These conditions are temporary and not harmful. However, if either of these conditions persist, please contact the Public Works Department.

“Public Works has been operating at minimal staffing levels for the last 3 weeks to help with reducing the spread of COVID-19,” Mike Olinger, Interim Assistant Director of Operations, said. “Only emergency work has been performed over the last 3 weeks. Crews must return to normal maintenance procedures now to prevent any degradation of the water quality in the City’s drinking water system.”

It is not advisable to wash white clothes or use hot water taps when crews are flushing in the area (7 a.m. to 5 p.m.), as mineral deposits, mostly iron, may stain white laundry. If the water in your residence is discolored, run a cold water tap in the bathtub or shower for a few minutes, this should clear the lines in your house.  

The water used during the flushing operation is de-chlorinated before it is discharged into the city storm drainage system.  If you have any questions regarding the flushing activity, please contact the City of Bellingham Public Works Department at 778-7700 or email

Media Contact

Fred Cruz, Water Division Supervisor
City of Bellingham Public – Works
(360) 778-7712​

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