By George Hohmann
For the Charleston Daily Mail
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia American Water Co. today released detailed procedures for residents to use when flushing their household water system.
The company stressed that the procedure is not to be followed until residents are certain the “Do Not Use” order has been lifted for their address.
The entire protocol is posted on the water company’s website at
The procedure calls for first flushing all hot-water taps simultaneously for 15 minutes, then turning the hot-water taps off.
According to West Virginia American Water, “After you have flushed each hot water faucet for 15 minutes, your hot water heater will be safe for use.”
However, Jerry Hilbert, owner of Jerry Hilbert Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning in Charleston, said he would prefer to flush hot-water taps for 45 minutes, “at least on the hot-water tank side because you may have some sediment on the bottom. You want to stir that up and get it out.”
Hilbert stressed that this is only his opinion, based on his 42 years of experience.
He went on to suggest turning the gas down to the pilot light on natural gas-fired water tanks or turning the electricity off on electric tanks “so you’re not wasting gas or electricity when you’re dumping that water out. You just have to turn the gas back up or turn the breaker back on” when finished.
The second step in West Virginia American’s procedure is to flush all cold-water taps simultaneously for 5 minutes, then turning them off.
Hilbert said that in his opinion, instead of flushing cold-water taps for 5 minutes, “30 minutes might be fine.”
The third step in West Virginia American’s procedure is to flush all remaining faucets, appliances and fixtures such as hose bibs, for at least 5 minutes.
Some equipment requires additional attention. The water company said after the household water system is flushed, water filters need to be replaced…