Annual water system maintenance may affect taste, smell

February 19, 2016

Starting on March 7 and continuing until April 4, some residents may detect a slight difference in the taste and smell of their water, says Public Works Director Frank Jaromin, P.E.

“This is the time of year that our water supplier conducts their system maintenance,” he said. “The 30-day maintenance period, always done during the cooler months, does not affect the purity or usability of the water, however.”

Prosper is among the area’s cities and towns that purchase most of their water from the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD).

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, giving chlorine a greater level of concentration. This results in what’s known as “free chlorine,” which can cause a change in the smell and taste.

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 30-day chlorine maintenance period, the taste and smell should return to normal,” said Jaromin.


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