City says hydrant flushing responsible for “brown water”

In the past few weeks, there have been a number of posts on local Facebook pages complaining that the water coming out of the tap in various locations in Sapulpa was brown. Many people were posting concerns about the safety of their drinking water.

The Sapulpa Times reached out to Public Works Director Steve Hardt for some answers.

According to Hardt, the Sapulpa Fire Department was conducting their annual testing of hydrants for flow rates by opening them up (“flushing them”). “They check them to make sure they are all working,” Hardt said. “If not, they put a red ring around it…there is a plastic red ring that goes around it that lets them know that hydrant is not working.”

Hardt attributed the discoloration to the water “sitting in that part of the line for a little while and it is just cleaning out the pipes, basically. We have had a lot of calls on it,” he said.

Hardt told the Sapulpa Times that the Fire Department did not let the City know they were flushing the hydrants. “We weren’t aware they were doing it so we had to figure out what was going on.”

Hardt assures citizens the discoloration does not affect the safety of their drinking water. 

Actually what people are experiencing is called “turbidity” which is caused by particles suspended or dissolved in water that scatter light making the water appear cloudy or murky.

The Public Works Director said the city crews will typically flush both ends of a water break to reduce turbidity and assure there is no contamination.