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Regular flushing improves drinking water quality by removing sediments from inside the mainline and flushing them out through the hydrant. It also serves to identify malfunctions of the hydrant and related valves.
The City utility maintenance crews typically flush hydrants throughout the city one time in the spring and again in the fall. Hydrant flushing occurs during construction and water main breaks as well.
You may notice a color change in your tap water following the flushing of the water main, during construction near your street and following a nearby water main break. The discoloration is normal and will last only a short time after the nearby hydrants have been flushed. When a hydrant is opened, the water in the mainline flows out at a high velocity. This creates a scouring action in the pipe which dislodges fine sediment particles that have accumulated in the pipe. The discoloration is due to suspended particles mixing with water that do not immediately settle.
During construction, frequent opening and closing of the gate valves leads to the same scouring action as during flushing. A significant amount of hydrant flushing occurs during construction and water main breaks, but some sediment usually ends up in water services too. There are no known health hazards associated with the discolored water.
The discolored water is safe for drinking, but you may choose to reschedule laundry, especially whites, or other work that may be impacted by discoloration. The best way to clear the water is by turning on the cold water in a basement utility tub or an outside spigot for a few minutes. If that doesn’t clear it up, please contact City Hall at 651-204-6000. The hydrants may require additional flushing.
Flushing hydrants is an important component of a routine maintenance program necessary to maintain the integrity of the water system. This allows the City to continue to deliver high quality water to our customers. It is necessary to periodically flush water through the main lines in order to protect the quality of your drinking water. The volume of water that is released through a fire hydrant quickly flushes off sediment that accumulates on the bottom of the water mains and helps keep the water in the system fresh and clean. This is an important preventative maintenance activity.
Once in a great while, your water may have a “rotten egg” odor. This odor is caused by hydrogen sulfide gas. The odor is unpleasant, but the gas is not usually harmful at the low concentrations that occur in household water systems. For advice on how to get rid of the odor, please contact City Engineer Jesse Farrell by email or at 651-204-6050.
Quarterly sewer charge is calculated using a base charge plus usage. Minimum basis for charge is 6,000 gallons regardless of water use. The usage is based on water consumption for the quarter.
The charge for the third quarter may be adjusted to address irrigation water use. Recognizing that the third quarter has always been the highest water-using quarter, primarily due to irrigation activities, sewer charges for this quarter will be based on water usage during the second and third quarters. The lower water usage of these two quarters will be the basis for sewer charges in the third quarter.
Second quarter sewer billings may be higher for those with high discretionary water use during the quarter. Water conservation has become an increasing concern, especially in our immediate area. The U of MN Extension Service states that lawn irrigation activities should commence in early July in this area based on typical weather patterns. Second quarter irrigation activity should not be substantial if these guidelines are followed.
Additional causes for a higher than usual bill may be an irrigation leak, water softener, leaky faucet or fixtures, leaky or running toilet, or recent change in water usage.
When turning your irrigation system on in the spring – check the run schedule. Make sure the run schedule matches the City’s odd/even Sprinkling Policy. If an irrigation company turns on your system, double check that the run schedule is set properly. Most run schedules are set for very early morning and may be running when you don’t want/need watering to take place. Most modern irrigation systems can be programmed with a rain sensor.
Keep in mind, an odd/even watering schedule is a helpful way to organize water use in the City, but in rainy weeks your lawn will likely not require watering. Visit our Watering Tips page for best practices on conserving water. For more tips on how you can conserve water in your home, visit the Minnesota DNR website and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency website.
Customers who feel the need for heavy discretionary water usage have the option of installing a separate irrigation meter as many of our commercial customers have done. Water flowing through these meters is not subject to sanitary sewer charges as this water does not enter the sanitary sewer system.
Installing an irrigation meter involves the purchase of a separate meter, radio and installation. Meters may be purchased from the city and installed by a plumber of your choice. The total cost of the install is dependent on individual circumstances and the plumbing company used. A permit must be obtained from the city to ensure correct installation of the meter and the radio read hardware. The current cost of a ¾” meter and radio is $250.08. The installation cost varies depending on installation-specific characteristics.
For more questions on getting an irrigation meter, please contact City Hall at 651-204-6000.
The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department provides law enforcement services to our community. Vadnais Heights contract for this service along with Arden Hills, Shoreview, Little Canada, White Bear Township, North Oaks and Falcon Heights.
In addition to patrolling, services include investigation, traffic, records, DARE, crime prevention, and supervision. The City is also served by the Sheriff’s communications center, the Water Patrol, and the SWAT team.
The City Code Officer is Fire Chief Chris Hearden. City staff will investigate as appropriate. Please know that there may be some instances where the City may not be able to intervene. If you believe that a City Code is being violated, please contact
Please contact City Engineer Jesse Farrell.
City Council meetings are held the first and third Tuesday at City Hall at 7 p.m. The meetings are also telecast on local cable Channel 16. The meetings are also rebroadcast several times between meetings. Every meeting includes an opportunity for any member of the public to address the City Council. The agendas and supporting documents are posted on the City website under our Agenda Center.