Annual maintenance of system may alter water’s smell and taste

February 17, 2020

Between March 2 and March 30, some residents may detect a slight difference in the taste and smell of their water, says Water Conservation Education Coordinator Tristan Cisco.

“This is the time of year that our water supplier conducts their system maintenance,” she said. “The maintenance of the system, always done during the cooler months, does not affect the purity or usability of the water.”

Prosper is among the area’s cities and towns that purchase most of their water from the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD), which conducts the annual system maintenance according to strict limitations.

Still, people with heightened senses may detect a slightly altered taste and smell. That’s because chlorine is the only chemical added to the water during this period to kill bacteria and oxidize contaminants. Normally, chlorine is combined with ammonia to treat drinking water, creating a combined chlorine, or chloramines. Chloramines provide longer-lasting water treatment as the water moves through the system to consumers.

However, during the maintenance period, ammonia is not added, making the chlorine disinfectant more noticeable to some people. Placing a pitcher of water in the refrigerator overnight or adding a slice of citrus to the water will minimize the taste and odor alteration. Adding a crushed 1,000 mg vitamin C tablet will remove the chlorine from bath water.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality allows water suppliers to perform chlorine maintenance, which helps reduce the need for the NTMWD to flush systems during the summer, thus conserving water.

“At the end of the monthlong chlorine maintenance period, the taste and smell will return to normal,” said Cisco.

NTMWD conducts hundreds of tests daily in a state-certified laboratory to ensure water safety. Monthly and annual water quality reports are posted online, including results of tests conducted during the annual system maintenance. Customers can view this information at

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