Temporary Change in Water Disinfectant Critical for Safe Drinking Water Year Round
WYLIE, TX – Feb. 24, 2020: The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) will temporarily change the disinfectant in its water treatment process from March 2 through March 30, 2020. The annual, routine change is necessary to maintain the regional system and year round water quality.
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.
According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ): “Treatment prior to distribution may utilize a number of different disinfectants, but a public water system is required to use either chlorine or chloramine in the distribution system.”
During the annual temporary change, NTMWD suspends adding ammonia and uses free chlorine to keep water disinfected as it travels through pipes. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this temporary conversion is a common practice for many water providers using chloramines for disinfection.
“This routine, temporary change in water disinfectant is vital to maintain water quality year-round,” said Zeke Campbell, NTMWD Water System Manager. “This common system maintenance practice does not increase the amount of chlorine, and the water remains safe to drink.”
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 TCEQ as a Superior Public Water System.
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 and adding a crushed 1000 mg Vitamin C tablet to bath water to remove the chlorine.
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 tests on the NTMWD and city distribution systems through an independent laboratory to confirm water quality compliance with state and federal standards. In its 2018 independent testing on the NTMWD water system, TCEQ reported that “Exposure to chlorine, monochloramine and ammonia concentrations measured in the water quality samples collected by TCEQ would not be expected to cause short-or long-term adverse health effects.”
NTMWD has resources available online, 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.
For more information, visit www.NTMWD.com/safewater and the TCEQ at www.tceq.texas.gov/drinkingwater/disinfection/temporary-free-chlorine-conversion.