Annual Disinfectant Switch in Tap Water

The District, Arlington County, and Falls Church will all experience the annual maintenance of their water systems

Monday, Mar 19, 2012  |  Updated 3:02 PM EDT
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Strange Taste, Smell Coming to Tap Water

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Water filters help reduce the taste and smell of the temporary chemical.

Your tap water might taste a little different from March 26 through May 7 but it’s part of an annual routine.

The disinfectant in drinking water will temporarily switch from chloramine to chlorine. This switch occurs every year and is part of a routine program to clean and maintain water distribution systems in the District, Arlington County and Falls Church.

The program is standard practice for communities using chloramines for most of the year.

Water authorities will also conduct system-wide flushing to enhance water quality.

No change in your daily routine is required. Those who take special precautions to remove chloramine from tap water -- like dialysis centers, medical facilities and aquatic pet owners -- should continue the same precautions during the temporary switch. Most methods remove chlorine as well as chloramine.

If you have a special health concern with the switch, local water officials ask you consult a doctor before using tap water.

Individuals might note a change in the taste or smell of their water. Running the cold tap for two minutes and refrigerating cold water for a few hours may help reduce the taste and smell. Water filters help in reducing them as well.

The Washington Aqueduct is responsible for treating drinking water for the District of Columbia, Arlington County and Falls Church. Local water authorities are responsible for monitoring drinking water to ensure chlorine levels continue to meet safety regulations.

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