At Drumheller Town Council on Feb. 12, Director of Infrastructure Services Armia Mikhaiel addressed a topic that's caused a lot of concerns with Drumheller residents: the annual water main flushing.
Every summer, the Town cleans the water pipes. This process requires running water through the pipes and out of fire hydrants at high speeds. This water then returns back to the water treatment facility.
"Based on directions from Council," explained Mikhaiel. "I will go and do research to see if there is any other way to go and make sure of this water without interrupting the procedure itself."
He pointed out that many municipalities flush the lines in the same way.
"I'm still in the process of searching to see if there are any other municipalities doing it in a different way."
By running water through the pipes at a high velocity, it whisks away sediment that has built up in the lines in the previous year. The speed at which the water flows varies depending on the size of the pipes, but it can be more than 1,000 gallons per minute.
Despite how it may look, the entire operation is heavily planned and highly controlled.
"It is a controlled procedure and it's really important for the maintenance of the Town's water distribution system," stressed Mikhaeil. "There has to be a certain velocity and water flow maintained to ensure that the procedure is giving the results required from the flushing system."
Because of the speed at which the water exits the system, it is impossible to use the water to irrigate because it would sweep away grass. Because of the volume of water used to clean the pipes, it is difficult to coordinate collecting it for future use.