Arlington, VA

It’s another sign of spring, along with the cherry blossoms and the potholes: the annual annual tap water disinfectant switch, which starts today.

From March 25 to May 6, Arlington’s drinking water “may taste slightly different as the regional supply system undergoes its annual spring cleaning,” the county advises.

From last year’s press release on the switch:

Crews at the Washington Aqueduct will begin the temporary disinfectant switch from chloramine to chlorine. The annual switch is part of a routine program to clean and maintain the drinking water systems. 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 never found any lead service lines or lead pipes inside homes.

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. Concurrently, staff will also start systematically flushing fire hydrants throughout the County.

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.

While the water is safe to drink, the county notes that it does have potentially serious implications for those using tap water for kidney dialysis machines. Medical providers have been notified of the change in advance, the county says.

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