BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – While cleaning out the Briarcliff Manor water system mains over the last few weeks, officials said they were surprised to find large metal chunks the size of baseballs clogging some of the pipes.
Public Works officials began flushing the village’s 600 fire hydrants earlier this year in an attempt to clean out the sediment that has built up over the last several years. Village Manager Philip Zegarelli has cautioned residents that it is common for the sediment to come out of faucets or other plumbing but he also said the tiny pieces of sediment are not hazardous to one’s health and that the discolored water contains “no harmful bacteria.” But the sediment is harming the village’s water system.
“We’re doing it in earnest for the first time in many years. What we’ve found is that you should really be doing this twice a year because the sediment builds up a lot,” Zegarelli said this week. “The metals in the water precipitates out onto the walls of the pipe and it can clog it up.”
Crews found chunks roughly 3-inches wide in one of the village’s 16-inch water mains. The sediment buildup creates what is known as tuberculated water pipes, so named after the substance’s resemblance to the effects of tuberculosis. Zegarelli said the substance itself does not cause and is not related to tuberculosis.
“Luckily it crumbles, but if you open a valve and try to close it, it can be very tough,” Zegarelli said. “We’ve slowed the process a bit because we’ve found a lot of this and it’s become difficult to close some of the valves after we open them.”
Crews are focusing on making repairs to the village’s system and Zegerelli suggests residents flush their own water heater systems in their homes as it could prolong the life of hot water heaters.
“If this stuff is all over the pipes, it’s probably causing some big flow problems,” he said. “When we’ve finished, we’re expecting to see a big difference in our water flows.”