You may notice chlorine taste and odor in our drinking water in March and early April due to an annual change in our disinfection

In March, OWASA will use chlorine instead of chloramines to disinfect drinking water.

Chloramines are a compound of chlorine and ammonia which OWASA has used since 2002 for disinfection in months other than March. Disinfection with chloramines has improved the overall quality of OWASA water and its taste and odor.

The State recommends that if a utility normally uses chloramines, the utility should use only chlorine for disinfection one month per year to ensure a high level of disinfection in the water system. (Chlorine is a more intense disinfectant than chloramines, but chloramines result in lower levels of certain disinfection byproducts that would be harmful at high levels.)

To remove chlorine taste and odor from OWASA water, you can:

  • Add a few lemon slices to a pitcher of water.  The lemon has ascorbic acid, which neutralizes the chlorine.
  • Let water sit for a day or so. (OWASA suggests keeping the water in an open container stored in a refrigerator.)
  • Boil the water for one minute to evaporate the chlorine.
  • Filter the water with activated carbon. Water pitchers with activated carbon filters are sold locally.

OWASA crews release water from various fire hydrants in March to ensure that water with chlorine goes through the entire water system. This release of water may cause some discoloration of water because non-toxic sediment in our pipes may be stirred up. To clear up discolored water, please run cold water through a bathtub faucet, etc. for 5 to 10 minutes.

If the discoloration does not clear up, please contact OWASA at 919-968-4421 at any time of day.

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