City water main flushing to begin April 4

Annual maintenance to ensure water distribution capacity and efficiency

March 24, 2022 - by Amy Cloud, Communications and Outreach

The annual water main flushing by the City of Bellingham’s Public Works department will begin on Monday, April 4, and continue through June.  Water main flushing cleans the pipes of mineral deposits that build up naturally inside pipe walls. If the pipes are not periodically flushed, this build-up can reduce the capacity and the efficiency of the City’s water distribution system. The water used during the flushing operation is de-chlorinated before it is discharged into the city storm drainage system.

Flushing is done between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.  Customers are usually not aware that flushing is underway, though wet streets are often an indicator.  During a pipe flushing, businesses and residents may experience temporarily reduced water pressure; however, overall water service should not be interrupted.  Unfortunately, at this time it is not possible to provide a calendar for when flushing will occur in various neighborhoods.

Note that it is not uncommon for water main flushing to cause temporary water discoloration. The discolored water is not harmful to human health or for household use. If the water in a residence is discolored, running a cold water tap in the bathtub for a few minutes should clear the lines.  Water customers should not wash white clothes or use their hot water taps when flushing is underway, as mineral deposits, mostly iron, may stain white laundry.

For questions regarding the water main flushing, please contact the City of Bellingham Public Works Department at (360) 778-7700 or email

Media Contact

Amy Cloud, PIO

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