The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) will conduct its annual system maintenance period starting March 2, which can temporarily make the regular presence of chlorine in the water more noticeable to some customers.
As part of its standard two-step disinfection process, the district first treats the water at the treatment plant then adds chloramine disinfectant – a combination of chlorine and ammonia – to maintain water quality as it travels through miles of pipes to homes and businesses, according to the NTMWD. During the four-week free-chlorine maintenance period, the district suspends the addition of ammonia, a common practice among many water providers that use chloramines, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“This routine, temporary change in water disinfectant is vital to maintain water quality year-round,” NTMWD Water System Manager Zeke Campbell said in a release. “This common system maintenance practice does not increase the amount of chlorine, and the water remains safe to drink.”
The district conducts hundreds of tests daily in a state-certified laboratory and posts monthly and annual water quality reports online at ntmwd.com/water-testing. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (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.
While some customers may not notice the change during the maintenance period, those who may be more sensitive to the odor are more likely to detect it toward the beginning – once the chlorine disinfected water moves into each city’s system, NTMWD spokesperson Janet Rummel said.
“This will be earlier for communities closer to our treatment plant and may take a few days to reach cities farther away,” she said.
Additionally, NTMWD coordinates closely with city water operations staff to inform them about the transition and encourages them to move the water more quickly through the system by flushing water from fire hydrants.
The NTMWD provides information to cities and educational resources for residents to help further explain the disinfection process and the journey that drinking water takes from the source to homes and businesses.
“We want to remind residents that the employees at NTMWD take water quality very seriously,” Rummel said. “Our employees, families, neighbors and friends drink and use the water we deliver on a daily basis.”
Key information is now available in English and Spanish at ntmwd.com/infographics.