Temporary change in water disinfectant is essential for safe drinking water
WYLIE, TX – Feb. 1, 2023: The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) will temporarily change the disinfectant in its water treatment process from March 6 through April 3, 2023. The annual, routine change is necessary to maintain the regional system and year-round water quality for the more than two million customers NTMWD serves in a 10-county region in North Texas in a 2,200-square-mile service area. NTMWD provides a capacity of more than 876 million gallons of treated water per day through more than 695 miles of transmission pipelines. For more information, visit www.NTMWD.com/SafeWater and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) at www.tceq.texas.gov/drinkingwater/disinfection/temporary-free-chlorine-conversion.
Disinfection is a critical part of the water treatment process that keeps drinking water free of harmful microorganisms, such as parasites and viruses. Disinfection involves a two-step process that first treats the water at the treatment plant and then chloramine disinfectant (chlorine + ammonia) is added to maintain water quality on its journey through the miles of pipes to homes and businesses. During the temporary change, NTMWD suspends adding ammonia and uses free chlorine to keep the water disinfected as it travels through pipes. It’s important to do this before summer because hotter temperatures can increase the potential for bacterial growth in pipes. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this temporary conversion is a common practice for many water providers using chloramines for disinfection.
The absence of ammonia during these few weeks may make the chlorine disinfectant more noticeable to some people. There are simple steps to minimize taste, odor, or skin sensitivities, including placing a pitcher of water in the refrigerator overnight or adding a slice of citrus to the water. Adding a crushed 1000 mg Vitamin C tablet to bath water will neutralize the chlorine.
“Protection of public health and keeping our water safe is a top priority,” said Zeke Campbell, NTMWD Assistant Director for Water Treatment and Conveyance. “This common maintenance practice is an essential step in our advanced year-round treatment and disinfection process and does not increase the amount of chlorine in the system. The water remains safe to drink and use every day, and we continue to meet or surpass safe drinking water standards.”
NTMWD has conducted the temporary change in water disinfectant for over a decade and continues to meet safe drinking water standards earning recognition from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) as a Superior Public Water System.
During the change, the cities and districts served by NTMWD may help move the chlorine-disinfected water through the system faster by flushing water from fire hydrants. The combination of converting to chlorine disinfectant and flushing the pipes helps maintain the system and safe water year-round.
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 www.NTMWD.com/water-testing/. The TCEQ also conducts routine sampling and testing in NTMWD and city distribution systems through an independent laboratory to confirm water quality compliance with state and federal standards.
NTMWD has posted resources www.NTMWD.com/SafeWater, including fact sheets, frequently asked questions, infographics, videos, and guidelines for questions about water quality. NTMWD also recommends that customers review the water quality information posted on their city or utility websites.