BERLIN – Spring-cleaning extends to Worcester County’s water mains for the next few weeks, but some water customers were unaware of the work this week until their water turned brown.
Andy Fenton in River Run said he and his wife were not warned about the water main flushing, which can produce rusty or cloudy water.
Rusty water ruined a load of laundry because they were unaware of the line flushing, Fenton said.
“They said they gave notification. I’ve got to say, it was totally inadequate,” Fenton said.
Deputy Director of Public Works John Ross said notification was given.
“It was advertised, it was in the papers, it was on Ocean Pines’ web page,” said Ross. “We probably could do a little more.”
The information was not included in the most recent water bills.
River Run’s water supply comes from Ocean Pines’ water system, but the community is not part of the Ocean Pines Association. Public Works staff did not put out signs about water pipe work in River Run this week, Ross said, because the community only has two water lines.
“I think they could have put something on my door. That’s the absolute minimum they should do,” Fenton said.
Ross said the staff does not have time to visit every house on a county water system before the semi-annual line flushing.
“We do not hang doorknockers on every door. It might be possible in River Run, but not anywhere else,” said Ross.
Fenton suggested flushing water lines late at night, at midnight, not during the day when rusty water might be a problem for residents.
That is a possibility, Ross said, although he will have to investigate the over-time cost.
Water customers should call public works if their water does not clear up in 10 minutes, Ross said, but the water is safe even then.
“It’s just iron. People take iron supplements all the time. The biggest thing about it is it stains clothing,” said Ross. “The water’s still chlorinated so there’s no bacteria in it.”
Water line flushing will continue in Ocean Pines for the next several weeks: sections 1, 4, 5, 18 and 19 the week of April 21; sections 12, 13, 14a, 14b, 14c and 14d the week of April 28; sections 9, 11 and 16 the week of May 5; and sections 10, 10a, 15a, 15b and 17 the week of May 12. Mystic Harbor water lines will be flushed the week of April 28, and Glen Riddle lines the week of May 5.
“Iron has a tendency to accumulate in lines over time,” Ross said. “Our goal is to stir that dirt up and flush it out the end of the pipe.”