SAN ANGELO – The City of San Angelo’s Water Utilities Department will change how it disinfects the public water supply from June 1-30.
The Water Utilities Department normally uses chloramine, a mix of ammonia and chlorine, to disinfect water. In June, the department will use only chlorine, also known as “free chlorine,” which is a stronger disinfectant than chloramine. The yearly temporary conversion from chloramines to free chlorine – a common practice for municipal water systems – ensures water safety in pipelines by ridding mains of residual microscopic organic particles. This process yields the highest quality of drinking water.
Citizens may see more flushing of fire hydrants in June. Water lines with low flow must be flushed more often to keep free chlorinated water moving through the system. Water users may note a slight change in the smell, taste and appearance of their water that should subside after a couple of weeks. This may include a chlorine odor and slight discoloration. The water is still safe for normal usage during this time.
The Water Utilities Department encourages kidney dialysis patients to talk with their equipment supplier; different equipment may have varying needs and require adjustments. The City has contacted local hospitals to alert them of the change.
Some reverse osmosis systems are not designed to work with water that has free chlorine. Owners of RO systems should check their operation manuals or system manufacturers to ensure they will not be adversely affected by the change.
The process most fish tanks have for removing chloramines from water should do the same with free chlorine and need no adjustments. Fish tank operators should confirm that with their equipment supplier. Pet stores have also been told of the conversion.
The water department will monitor chlorine levels and water-quality standards in the distribution system daily to ensure all regulatory standards are met.