Arlington, VA

Kitchen sink and tap water (file photo)Expect your tap water to smell and taste a bit like chlorine starting Monday.

The Washington Aqueduct, which supplies Arlington with its drinking water, will be making the annual disinfectant switch from chloramine to chlorine from Monday, March 7 through Monday, May 2.

The switch is intended as a “spring cleaning” for the pipes that supply water to Arlington, D.C. and part of Fairfax County. From an Arlington County press release:

Arlington’s safe and dependable drinking water may taste slightly different next week as the regional supply system undergoes its annual spring cleaning.

Crews at the Washington Aqueduct will begin the temporary disinfectant switch from chloramine to chlorine on Monday, March 7. The biological safety process, routine for many systems across the United States, will continue through Monday, May 2.

During the cleaning, Arlington’s Water, Sewer, Streets Bureau will continually monitor the output for safe chlorine levels as well as conduct system-wide flushing to enhance water quality.

The Aqueduct also adds a corrosion control inhibitor during the switch to prevent the potential release of lead in system pipes throughout the region. Extensive research in Arlington has failed to turn up any lead service lines or lead pipes inside homes.

Running the cold water tap for about two minutes, using water filters and letting water sit in a container in the refrigerator are generally effective for removing chlorine taste and odor.

Customers who take special precautions to remove chloramine from tap water should continue such methods during the temporary switch to chlorine. As always, those with special concerns should consult their health care provider.

Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Washington Aqueduct is the wholesale supplier for Arlington, the District of Columbia and northeastern Fairfax.

Arlington’s drinking water meets all of the safety standards established by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Virginia Department of Health. The bureau’s latest annual water quality report will be released in May.

Arlington’s Water, Sewer, Streets Bureau offers a staff presentation on the water system to any schools or community groups that request one.


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