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CBJ: Crews to begin 'flushing' local water system Monday

Work set to continue into mid-August

Posted: July 26, 2012 - 12:05am

Juneau residents may experience some water discoloration and potential service disruptions starting next week, the City and Borough of Juneau Water Utility announced Wednesday.

The Water Utility will be conducting a flush of Juneau’s water distribution system, starting in downtown on Monday and gradually working its way toward the Tee Harbor area, according to the announcement.

Work is expected to last until about Aug. 15 and to take place Mondays through Fridays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Dave Crabtree, superintendent of the Water Utility, said that in an “ideal situation,” work could finish up as soon as Aug. 8, but that would depend on all work proceeding very quickly. He said historically, flushes of Juneau’s water system have taken between two weeks and two and a half weeks.

“This is routine maintenance that we attempt to get accomplished every year, annually,” said Crabtree. “And the purpose for this is just to maintain good water quality.”

The Water Utility is advising customers to run cold water, preferably in the bathtub, after work crews leave their area in order to clear any discoloration.

The discoloration is largely cosmetic, according to Crabtree.

“The water’s safe to drink,” Crabtree said. “People just don’t want to drink water when it looks a little cloudy and has a rust-colored tint to it.”

The rough flushing schedule is for work to begin in downtown, progress toward Bartlett Regional Hospital, cross the Gastineau Channel to Douglas Island, and then move back to the mainland to proceed from Lemon Creek out to the Tee Harbor area, by way of the Mendenhall Valley.

Crabtree said work starts in the downtown area because that is where Last Chance Basin, the source for much of Juneau’s water supply, is located.

“The method to our madness is that we clean everything up downtown at the source, and then we work our way up,” Crabtree said. “If we started in the Valley, we would be doing it backwards.”

If people have questions about how work is progressing or concerns about water discoloration not clearing up, Crabtree added, they can call the Water Utility’s office at 780-6888.

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at mark.d.miller@juneauempire.com.

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