Arlington, VA

On Monday the taste of your tap water may be changing as the Washington Aqueduct conducts its annual “spring cleaning.”

Residents may notice a distinct “chlorine” taste and smell in the water for the next seven weeks. Local water authorities issued the following press release about the change:

From March 26 through May 7, 2012, the disinfectant in drinking water will temporarily switch from chloramine to chlorine.

The annual switch in water disinfection is part of a routine program to clean and maintain water distribution systems in the District of Columbia, Arlington County and Falls Church. During the temporary switch to chlorine, local water authorities will also conduct system-wide flushing to enhance water quality. This program is standard practice for many U.S. water systems that use chloramine during the majority of the year.

The Washington Aqueduct is the organization responsible for treating drinking water — including water disinfection — for the District of Columbia, Arlington County, and Falls Church, Virginia. Local water authorities are responsible for monitoring drinking water to ensure chlorine levels continue to meet safe target levels.

Individuals and business owners who take special precautions to remove chloramine from tap water, such as dialysis centers, medical facilities and aquatic pet owners, should continue to take the same precautions during the temporary switch to chlorine. Most methods for removing chloramine from tap water are effective in removing chlorine. Individuals with special health concerns should consult with a health care provider on the use of tap water.

During this time, individuals may notice a change in the taste and smell of their drinking water. Local water authorities recommend running the cold water tap for approximately two minutes and refrigerating cold tap water for a few hours to reduce taste and odor. Water filters are also effective in reducing chlorine taste and odor.

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