MATTOON -- The Mattoon Fire Department has begun flow testing and painting fire hydrants and will continue until all hydrants are done.

The hydrants will be flowed between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. The fire department reported that hydrant flow testing is done to check flow rates to help provide better protection and response to the community. During this time, any landscaping within 3 feet of the hydrant that obstructs the view or operation of the hydrant will be trimmed or removed.

Hydrant flushing may cause discoloration of household water in or near the areas being tested, which is a result of iron deposits being disturbed during the flushing. Iron deposits can build up inside pressure tanks, water heaters and water pipes. It occasionally breaks loose, causing rusty water to flow when faucets are first opened. This happens especially when water lines are disturbed and rust breaks loose from old pipes.

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Residents are advised to check their water for signs of discoloration prior to doing laundry. If they notice discoloration in the water, they should let the water run until it clears before doing laundry. Usually this takes less than five minutes. If laundry appears stained, they should keep the articles wet and rewash them using a rust removing compound. Bleach stained laundry will “set” the stain.

The fire department reports that the water is safe to drink at all times while the hydrant flow testing is being done.

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