Neighbors upset about open fire hydrants, city says it's 'flushing' the system

LAKE WORTH, Fla. - Some neighbors in Lake Worth say they've been alarmed over the past week to see water spewing from fire hydrants.

"I live on Columbia Drive. But it was more like Columbia River," Wes Blackman of Lake Worth said.

Blackman says city crews have opened the hydrants every morning for the past week.

"I lose water pressure. I can't cook. I can't wash my clothes," Blackman said.

Blackman took video of the water rushing from the fire hydrant in front of his house and posted it to his blog.

"I just have a problem with seeing fresh water go down the drain," Blackman said.

But Lake Worth City Officials say their intention is not to waste water. They say they are keeping the water safe.

"It is not wasting water because we are maintaining the water quality," Lake Worth's Utilities and Water Director Larry Johnson said.

Johnson doesn't have exact numbers of how many gallons are being "flushed out of the system" but says they do the releases around the city.

"We don't prefer to have to flush as much water, but with the high temperatures, we have to do it periodically," Johnson said.

Johnson says it is important to flush out the old water so the newly chlorinated water can come in from the treatment facility.

Neighbors just wish there was another way.

"They were telling me it was going to be a daily occurrence for the next three to six months. That is a lot of water," Blackman said.

Johnson says there is one alternative where they flush the entire system with chlorine. He says they plan to do that in December.

Johnson also says city crews will start giving neighbors notice before they start dumping water in the future.

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