Maintenance may affect taste and smell of Little Elm water

Starting on March 13 and continuing through April 10, some residents may detect a slight difference in the taste and smell of their water, said Public Works Director Kevin Mattingly.

“Every year around this time, the town’s water supplier takes the time to conduct maintenance on their system,” Mattingly said. “For 28 days during the cooler months, the system’s maintenance can cause the water we use to take on a slight odor and different taste. The purity or usability of the water, however, is not compromised.”

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

People with heightened senses may detect a slightly altered taste and smell due to chlorine, which 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 combined chlorine, or chloramines. Chloramines provide longer-lasting water treatment as the water moves through the system to consumers.

Because ammonia is not added, there is a higher level of chlorine concentration during the winter maintenance period. This can result in a slight change in the smell and taste of the water.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality allows water suppliers to perform chlorine maintenance, which helps reduce disinfection issues in the hot summer months and lessen the need for cities to flush fire hydrants.

“Once the chlorine maintenance period ends, the taste and smell should return to normal,” Mattingly said.