Wednesday morning as I began my morning wake-up ritual I noticed something was amiss. Even through still half-closed eyes, I realized our tap water was less than crystal clear. Much less. Then I remembered the auto-call we received the night before. Yes, my friends, it's hydrant flushing time in the City of North Adams.

Crews will be working throughout the city, between 8 P.M. and midnight, Monday through Thursday for the next couple of weeks. The word from the City's Dept. of Public Services explains that the hydrants are flushed annually to clear any sedimentation in the water lines and allow water to run clear again. This may result in some discolored water running from our kitchen and bath faucets as naturally occurring minerals get stirred up in the iron pipe of the water main.

The notice says that there's no impact on public health. But I think most of us are still wary of brownish tap water, so here's what to do: “self-flush” your water line by turning on cold water, full-force from your bathtub faucet, until water runs clear again, which might take about 15 minutes or so. That's about how long it took at our house, your results may vary. Pro-tip: after all this, the micro-screen inside your faucet head may become clogged with fine sediment. It can be removed, cleaned and replaced, a job so simple even I can do it.

Officials say if your water is not clear after flushing for up to 60 minutes, please call the Public Services Dept. at 413-662-3000 x 3047.