City runs annual watermain swabbing program Oct. 15 to 18

The City of Barrie will be swabbing approximately eight kilometres of watermain from Oct. 15 to 18. The project will occur day and night from Bayfield Street East to St. Vincent Street and Livingstone Street East to the northern city limits.

Watermain swabbing occurs each year in the spring and/or fall and is used to remove sediment that builds up in watermains over time. The sediment is derived from naturally occurring minerals in the water and gradually builds up on pipe walls. Some residences and businesses will experience water outages as part of the swabbing process and anyone affected will receive written notice in advance of any outage. Some homes and businesses may experience more than one outage, due to their location, such as corner lots or lots close to watermain valves.

Residents and businesses may experience some water discoloration for short durations following outages and should follow these guidelines once watermain swabbing is completed.

  • Turn on a cold water tap 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 five minutes, wait 30 minutes and try again.
  • During the outage, water pressure will come and go, but please do not run any water during this time period as it could cause large quantities of sediment to plug your service/plumbing/appliances etc.

Apartment property managers, landlords and business operators should:

  • Turn on a cold water tap near the water shut off valve (e.g. a tap in the mop sink in the maintenance room) and let the water run for a few minutes.
  • Collect some water in a light-coloured cup or container to see if it is clear.
  • Restore water to the rest of the building only when the water is clear.

Water is 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, call the City of Barrie Water Operations Branch at 705-792-7920. Water Operations staff will be monitoring the water clarity and chlorine residual in the watermains throughout the duration of this project.

To see the affected areas on a map, visit the Water Distribution page via

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