Kennewick, Did Air Rush Out All Your Water Faucets Last Night?
I ask this question because it happened to my whole neighborhood last night in Kennewick, did high-pressure air suddenly start rushing out all your water sources?
It Started with a Loud Noise Around 5:30 pm
Everything was normal until around 5:30 pm when my daughter runs out of the bathroom screaming "come here quick, something is happening!" That is never a good phrase to hear when you're a parent. I run to the bathroom and find the toilet making tons of noise with water spurting out. As I looked closer I noticed that the water was barely sputtering out and most of the noise was from very high-pressure air coming out of the valve.
I Started Checking All Water Sources
After I closed the valve to the toilet, I checked the sink and nothing but high-pressure air was coming out of that as well. As I went through the whole house I found the same thing, no water, and only high-pressure air coming out. I have had the water turned off before but this was very different. The air pressure coming out of the faucets was crazy.
I Then Ran Outside to Check the Water Main
In my head the next thing I could think was we broke a water main, so I ran outside to see if I could find anything. If a water main had broken it should be easy to both hear and see but there was nothing. While I was checking the backyard, my wife went to the neighbor's house.
My Neighbors Were Having the Same Problem
All my neighbors were having the same problem, both neighbors beside me and the one right across the street. After finding we were all having problems I started looking for the number of the City Water Department. That ended up being much tougher than it should be.
I Looked for the After Hours Number for Forever
It seemed like every website I looked at brought me to the same recorded answering service because it was just after hours. I searched for "after-hours" numbers, and "emergency numbers" and nothing came up. Finally, I found what I was looking for on the Kennewick Citizen Portal. It says kind of buried in the center of the page "ATTENTION for problem reporting of an urgent nature please call (509)585-4419.
I Finally Called the After-Hours Number
After searching for a while I finally got a person on the phone. She was asking questions about what was going on and I am pretty sure at first she didn't believe it. They asked if someone was "blowing out our sprinklers" which made me laugh. After talking to the technician named Justin for a while, I think something clicked because he said he would be right over.
Suddenly There Was a Very Loud Rushing Sound Outside
About 10 minutes after I hung up with Justin from the City, there was suddenly a very large noise outside and my wife said "there goes the water main!" We ran outside but luckily it was just Justin from the city draining the air from the fire hydrant on our block. He said the hydrant was the quickest and easiest way to drain the line of air. The noise coming out was really loud, causing most of the neighbors to come outside.
What is the Cause of All That Air Pressure?
Justin informed us that the water treatment plant that serves our area just had been under construction a few days ago. During the construction, the air got into the water main and was working its way to our neighborhood. It took almost 30 minutes to bleed the air out of the line from the hydrant, and then Justin let the water run out for another 10 or 15 minutes. He let the water run to bleed the dirty water out of our lines.
What Did We Have to Do to Our Homes Next?
Justin gave everyone in the neighborhood good instructions about how to bleed the air out of our lines. First, run just cold water in the tub until the water is clean. Make sure the water is clean before you turn on any hot water or sediments that can get in your water heater. Then turn on all water sources to bleed the air out of our lines around the house. Every faucet had to be done for both the hot and cold sources. After all of that, it was over and we had water again. Then, the first thing I did was take a long hot shower! p.s No, that guy in the picture below is not me! lol
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