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Unidirectional Flushing as a Cost-Effective Way of Improving Water Quality in the Distribution System

Heightened awareness of public health concerns has caused utilities to intensify their efforts to produce high-quality drinking water. However, their customers may not see the benefits of sophisticated and costly treatments if their water is delivered through old and neglected distribution systems that were not designed with water quality in mind.

As regulations become more stringent and customers’ expectations grow, utilities are zeroing in on controlling water quality in their distribution systems. One of the most powerful tolls to remove accumulated debris and biofilms from distribution systems is a well -engineered and controlled flushing program. A well-designed UDF program can improve both water quality and hydraulics by restoring disinfectant residual, reducing bacterial growth, dislodging biofilms, removing sediments and deposits, controlling corrosion, restoring flows and pressures, eliminating taste and odor problems and reducing disinfectant demand throughout the distribution system.


With UDF, these benefits tend to persist for a longer periods of time than do benefits obtained from conventional flushing. Once a UDF program has been implemented, there is an opportunity to realize capital savings from annual flushing. These savings are associated with:

  • All information is contained in the flushing maps resulting in a reduction in hours required to oversee program implementation year over year
  • Simultaneous implementation of preventative maintenance activities such as valve exercising
  • Less water used that conventional flushing (40%)
  • Reduction of trouble-shooting efforts, such as searches for closed valves that are supposed to be open

A successful UDF program helps to minimize the decline of water quality that an occur between the treatment plant and the customer’s tap and to maintain acceptable water quality throughout the distribution system.

Wachs Water Services has the experience and expertise to effectively plan and execute unidirectional flushing programs on-time and on-budget.

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