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Public Utilities

Public Utilities

The City of Hickory Public Utilities Division is responsible for budget preparation and management of the water and sewer enterprise fund, meter reading, planning and development of capital projects related to Public Utilities, plan review and permit writing, production and delivery of potable (drinkable) water, and the collection and treatment of wastewater. For all inquiries, please contact the Public Utilities at (828) 323-7427.

Public Utilities Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you notice water coming from under the street pavement, leaking from a fire hydrant, or collecting around a water meter, there could be a leak from a water main or service line. You may also notice a problem if your water bill is unusually high, or meter readers may detect a leak while reading your meter. The Public Utilities Division is responsible for maintaining the line from the water main to the water meter at a home or business, and the meter itself. The property owner is responsible for the service line behind the meter and the rest of the property's plumbing. If you notice an issue, please call (828) 323-7427. When you report the problem, please provide as much description as possible about the situation. Public Utilities will dispatch a service crew to evaluate the problem as soon as possible.

For assistance after hours, please call the 24-hour dispatcher at (828) 328-5551.

Purified drinking water is tested every day for pathogenic bacteria in the City of Hickory’s State Certified laboratory. Nearly 100,000 individual laboratory tests are conducted in the lab each year. Our chemist and operators continuously monitor chlorine content, complete daily physical analyses, and conduct treatment monitoring tests to assure quality standards that meet or exceed all state and federal regulations for drinking water. The City of Hickory’s water has a low iron and hardness content so that it will wash clothes better. Fluoride is added for the prevention of tooth decay (which is particularly important for children). But mainly, it’s safe and has a pleasant taste!

Discolored water and trapped air are common occurrences after a water main break, other water system maintenance work, or flushing fire hydrants. Very fine sediment from mineral deposits settle out of the water and accumulate in the bottom of the pipes over several years. The mineral deposits in the pipes can be dislodged during sudden changes in the direction or flow of the water (i.e., water main break, hydrant use, etc.).

Discolored water may not be aesthetically pleasing, but it is safe to drink. However, we do not recommend using discolored water to do laundry, wash dishes, or run hot water. Clothes can become stained and the hot water heater can become damaged.

If you are experiencing discolored water, please do the following: (1) Run cold water for 10 minutes, preferably from an outside spigot or bathtub first. (2) When water runs clear, run cold water through any faucets where discolored water is present. (3) If the water isn’t clear, run cold water for an additional 10 minutes and carefully unscrew faucet aerators to remove and clean. If you continue to experience discolored water after completing these steps, please call (828) 323-7500 so we can dispatch staff to flush hydrants and/or main lines in your area.