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Water Distribution Services

The City ensures that the infrastructure which directs water to your home is regularly maintained. As such, the distribution system, consisting of approximately 3,800 hydrants and 635km of watermain, continues to reliably direct potable water to the community.

Hydrant Maintenance      Hydrant Swabbing     Hydrant Flushing

2019 Maintenance Schedule

Watermain Swabbing Schedule Coming Soon!

Watermain flushing is conducted year round. Although you may see City staff flushing anywhere within the City, each year a specific area is targeted. This ensures that the entire distribution sysytem is flushed at a minimum once every four years. Here is a map of the area targeted in 2019.

 

Hydrant Maintenance

Hydrants are an important component of the distribution system as they are an access point for many maintenance activities (watermain swabbing and flushing) and are used for fire protection.

During summer months, you may see City staff or contractors: 

  • Operating hydrants to ensure they are properly functioning and completing any necessary repairs
  • Priming, repainting and numbering hydrants (a percentage of hydrants are done each year on a rotational schedule). The primer coat is a grey colour. Painting crews return shortly after to apply the final colour coat.
  • Replacing damaged or missing flexible marker (winter fire hydrant marker) to ensure the hydrant remain visible and accessible throughout the winter months. These markers stay on year round.

During winter months, it is important to remove snow around hydrants so that they remain accessible in the event of a fire. Snow removal from public hydrants is performed by a contractor which primarily work throughout the evening and/or early morning hours.

I have a hydrant on my property. What should I do? 


For property owners with a fire hydrant on their property: please be mindful. Hydrants should always be accessible in the event of a fire.

  • In the summer, ensure the hydrant is clear of shrubs and hedges

In the winter, hydrants should have a clearing of one metre (3 ft.) all around and there should be a clear path to the street to ensure firefighters can readily access them.

What is the difference between yellow and red hydrants?


Hydrants in Barrie are yellow or red. Yellow hydrants are public (municipal) hydrants, found in front yards and all along streets; they are used for fire protection and maintenance of the drinking water system. Red hydrants are privately owned, not maintained by the City, and are the responsibility of the property owner where they reside.

Watermain Swabbing

Hydrant Swabbing

The City conducts watermain swabbing annually in the spring and/or fall to clean watermains. This is the best way to maintain water quality and increase the reliability of Barrie's water distribution system, ensuring water meets and exceeds aesthetic quality objectives, and flows freely.

The Process: Swabbing involves scouring the watermain with foam swabs and high-velocity water. These swabs are injected at a fire hydrant and pushed by water through the watermain, then removed further down the watermain through another hydrant. The hydrants are left open until the water runs clear.

How will I be notified of swabbing occuring in my area?

Residences will then be notified in person or via a placard attached to their door knobs approximately two days before the planned swabbing activity.

Businesses affected during the swabbing procedure will be visited in person by a representative of the WOB before project commencement approximately two weeks prior to the planned swabbing activity. This visit is followed up with an email detailing the dates and times the business will be impacted.

I have received a notice of swabbing activity in my area. What should I do?

If you have received a notice, the City is advising that no water be used during the times specified on the notice.  In addition, the City is suggesting that your shut off valve be turned “OFF” at your meter, to prevent any water from being used.

How will swabbing impact me?

Watermain swabbing occurs throughout the day, evening and weekend.

  • The procedure requires that water be turned off briefly to affected homes or businesses while the section of watermain is isolated and swabbed; customers are asked not to run water

  •  Customers may experience some water discolouration for short durations following this maintenance

What should I do when swabbing is complete?

Follow these guidelines once watermain swabbing is completed:

  • Turn on a cold water tap nearest to the water shut off valve and let the water run for a few minutes. 
  • Do not choose a tap that has a water filter connected to it, or the sediment may clog your filter. 
  • Do not use a hot water tap because it could draw sediment into your hot water tank.
  • Collect some water in a light-coloured cup or container to see if it is clear. Proceed to use the water if it is clear. If the water doesn't clear in 5 minutes, wait 30 minutes and try again.

The water may be cloudy because air captured in the water forms tiny bubbles. These bubbles are harmless and will disappear if the water sits for a few minutes. If water is still discoloured after two to three hours, please call the Water Operations Branch at 705-792-7920.

Watermain Flushing

Hydrant Flushing

Watermain flushing is a maintenance activity that is performed year round. It involves running water from two hydrants at the same time. By moving water at a higher-than-normal velocity, scouring occurs inside the watermain essentially cleaning it out.

Typically, households should not experience water discolouration during watermain flushing, however this can sometimes occur. If you notice your water is discoloured, please run the cold water tap on your laundry tub or bath tub for approximately 5–10 minutes to clear any discolouration. If the water is still discoloured after this time, please contact Water Operations: 705-792-7920 or WaterOperations@barrie.ca. After-hours, please call 705-726-4242 and press zero for assistance; appropriate on-call staff may assist you. 

Watermain Flushing

Watermain flushing is a maintenance activity that is performed year round. It involves running water from two hydrants at the same time. By moving water at a higher-than-normal velocity, scouring occurs inside the watermain essentially cleaning it out.

Typically, households should not experience water discolouration during watermain flushing, however this can sometimes occur. If you notice your water is discoloured, please run the cold water tap on your laundry tub or bath tub for approximately 5–10 minutes to clear any discolouration. If the water is still discoloured after this time, please contact Water Operations: 705-792-7920 or WaterOperations@barrie.ca. After-hours, please call 705-726-4242 and press zero for assistance; appropriate on-call staff may assist you. 


Watermain Swabbing

The City conducts watermain swabbing annually in the spring and/or fall to clean watermains. This is the best way to maintain water quality and increase the reliability of Barrie's water distribution system, ensuring water meets and exceeds aesthetic quality objectives, and flows freely.

The Process: Swabbing involves scouring the watermain with foam swabs and high-velocity water. These swabs are injected at a fire hydrant and pushed by water through the watermain, then removed further down the watermain through another hydrant. The hydrants are left open until the water runs clear.

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