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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Morning Notes

Water Disinfectant Switch — With the annual pipe spring cleaning complete, the Washington Aqueduct will be switching back to chloramine as its water disinfectant after today. [ARLnow]

Car-B-Que on the Pike — A car caught fire on Columbia Pike between S. Oakland and Quincy streets Friday night. The road was closed while firefighters extinguished the blaze. [Twitter, Twitter]

Auction Item Prompts Mini Controversy — Ethical concerns were raised over the weekend by an item donated by State Sen. Barbara Favola (D) to an auction at the annual Fairfax Democrats dinner. The winning bidder was promised an official introduction on the state Senate floor. Favola responded by saying she was “horrified” and that she “never approved this auction item.” [Twitter, Twitter, Blue Virginia]

Choun Profiled By VOA — Democratic Arlington County Board candidate Chanda Choun had his campaign highlighted by the Voice of America. [Voice Of America]

Nearby: Wonder Woman and J-D Highway — Two items of note in Alexandria: first, Wonder Woman 2 is set to film some scenes at the Landmark Mall. Also, Alexandria is replacing signs marking Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1) with its new name in the city: Richmond Highway. [Washington Business Journal, WTOP]

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The water you drink may have a chlorine taste and odor to it starting Monday (March 26), when the county begins its annual spring cleaning of water pipes.

The Washington Aqueduct, which provides the tap water for Arlington and other local jurisdictions, will begin a temporary disinfectant change from chloramine to chlorine from March 26 through May 7.

Throughout the cleaning Arlington’s Water, Sewer, Streets Bureau will monitor the chlorine for safe levels.

To remove any chlorine taste or odor, the county suggests running cold tap water for two minutes, using water filters and letting cold water sit in the refrigerator.

The county emphasizes that Arlington’s drinking water meets all EPA and Virginia Department of Health standards, and that the “spring cleaning” helps maintain water systems. The routine maintenance helps prevent corrosion and “the potential release of lead in system pipes throughout the region,” though “extensive research in Arlington has never found any lead service lines or lead pipes inside homes.”

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Kitchen sink and tap water (file photo)The county’s drinking water may taste slightly different starting next week, as the regional supply system gets its annual spring cleaning.

From March 20 through April 17, the disinfectant in the water will switch temporarily from chloramine to chlorine, as part of routine cleaning of the drinking water systems by crews from the Washington Aqueduct.

Aqueduct crews will also add a corrosion control inhibitor during the switch to prevent the potential release of lead in system pipes throughout the region. County officials said extensive research in Arlington has never found any lead service lines or lead pipes inside homes.

During the cleaning, the county’s Water, Sewer, Streets Bureau will continually monitor for safe chlorine levels and conduct system-wide flushing. 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 generally remove chlorine taste and odor.

The bureau will release its annual water quality report in May. The county’s drinking water has been found to meet standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Virginia Department of Health.

More from a county press release:

From March 20 through April 17, Arlington’s safe and dependable drinking water may taste slightly different 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. The annual switch in water disinfection 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.

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 water 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 next annual water quality report will be released in May.

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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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Morning Notes

Dragonfly sunset (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

Water Meter Replacement Nearly Complete — An effort to replace outdated water meters in Arlington with more modern meter technology is nearly complete. The project, which began in 2007, is now 98 percent complete and is expected to wrap up by the end of the year. [InsideNova]

Emergency Preparedness Month — September is Emergency Preparedness Month in Arlington. This year’s theme, which is also the theme of National Preparedness Month: “Don’t Wait, Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.” [Arlington County]

Donations Sought for Funeral — Residents in the Barcroft neighborhood are raising money following the passing of a beloved neighbor. Abuelita Pacheco was “a ‘grandmother’ to many of the neighborhood kids… a lady full of joy and resilience, always willing to lend a hand to anyone who needed it.” Now, funds are being raised to cover the cost of a funeral and burial in Pacheco’s native Colombia. Her family is already facing financial hardship: Pacheco was grandmother to five, include three blind triplets. [Crowdrise]

Arlington Neighborhood College Enrollment — Applications for Arlington County’s Neighborhood College program are due Sept. 10. The program “provides the knowledge and skills necessary for residents from across the County to get involved in local issues that affect their day-to-day lives and the lives of their neighbors.” [Arlington County]

Metro Delays This Morning — There were delays on the Orange, Silver and Blue lines during the latter part of the AM rush hour this morning, due to “police activity” at the L’Enfant Plaza station in D.C. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Tap waterArlington’s water will start tasting like chlorine on Monday, March 23.

The change is a result of the region’s annual switch in water disinfectant, from chloramine to chlorine, according to the Department of Environmental Services. The change, which helps clean the area’s water distribution system, will last until May 4.

Local water authorities recommend running the cold water tap for approximately two minutes and refrigerating tap water to reduce the chlorine taste and odor,” DES spokeswoman Jessica Baxter said in a press release. “Water filters are also effective for reducing chlorine taste and odor.”

The county, in its frequently asked question page about the disinfectant switch, says if you don’t want to refrigerate your tap water, run the tap for 5-10 minutes before drinking to remove the chlorine taste and smell.

The change is not made at Arlington’s water treatment facility, it’s made by the Washington Aqueduct, which supplies all the drinking water to D.C., Arlington and Fairfax County from the Potomac River.

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A water fountain at the start of the W&OD trail near ShirlingtonExpect changes to the taste and smell of your tap water starting next week.

The Washington Aqueduct will be making a temporary switch from the disinfectant chloramine to chlorine from Monday, March 17 to April 28.

“The annual switch in water disinfection is part of a routine program to clean and maintain drinking water systems in the District of Columbia, Arlington County and the northeastern portion of Fairfax County,” according to a press release. “During the temporary switch to chlorine, local water authorities will also conduct system-wide flushing to enhance water quality. This program is a common practice for many U.S. water systems that use chloramine during the majority of the year.”

“Individuals may notice a slight change in the taste and smell of their drinking water,” the press release continued. “Local water authorities recommend running the cold water tap for approximately two minutes and refrigerating tap water to reduce the chlorine taste and odor. Water filters are also effective.”

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Bottled water (photo via Facebook)Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette, who last year launched a “personal crusade” against bottled water, will debate a representative of the bottled water industry this weekend.

Fisette and Chris Hogan, Vice President of Communications for the Alexandria-based International Bottled Water Association, will speak at the Arlington Committee of 100’s monthly dinner meeting.

The debate, which is being held at Marymount University (2807 N. Glebe Road) will begin at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan 8. An RSVP is required by Jan. 5.

From the event’s Facebook page:

In 2009, the Arlington County Board passed a resolution banning the use of taxpayer funds to purchase single use, bottled water – with a very few exceptions. That resolution spoke to the environmental cost of producing, transporting and disposing of these bottles. While that may have reduced their use at county sponsored functions, many of us still use single use bottled water. Incoming Board Chairman Jay Fisette has begun a crusade to reduce the use of single use plastic water bottles. At our January meeting we will address the questions related to this initiative. What are the advantages of single use bottled water? What are the effects on the environment of the way we dispose of the empty bottles? Are there alternatives that provide the same or similar advantages?

Arlington County water department employees and representatives from the Natural Resources Defense Council are also expected to attend.

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Morning Notes

McDonald's morning light (Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann)

Gourmet Deli Coming to Ballston — Taylor Gourmet, a Philadelphia-inspired hoagie shop, will be opening its first Arlington location. The self-proclaimed “gourmet deli” will be the first business to move in at the Liberty Center South development (4000 Wilson Blvd). Taylor Gourmet has eight other locations in the metro area. [Washington Business Journal]

Fisette Takes Water Bottle Crusade to Civic Association — County Board member Jay Fisette continued his personal crusade to discourage water bottle use during a presentation at the Arlington County Civic Federation meeting. His new goal is to get 10,000 people, or about five percent of the county’s population, to join him in backing the cause. So far, only about 250 people have signed the online pledge to use tap water instead of bottled water. [Sun Gazette]

Arlingtonian Wins Caption Contest — An Arlington resident won this week’s popular The New Yorker Cartoon Caption contest. The magazine staff narrows down the contest entries and readers vote for their favorite. David Karlsruher won the honor of having his witty line seen by readers around the world. [The New Yorker]

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

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Storm drain marker featuring Sherlock ShadIt’s that time of year when Sherlock Shad (pictured left) begins appearing more frequently in Arlington neighborhoods. But the county needs help attaching the storm drain markers bearing his likeness.

Arlington marks many of its more than 10,000 storm drains as a reminder that anything going into a drain heads directly to local streams that flow into the Potomac River. The river is the source of tap water for Arlington and much of the D.C. metro area.

Nothing should be dumped into storm drains, per Arlington County Code Section 26-5, which reads: “…it shall be unlawful for any person to discharge directly or indirectly into the storm sewer system or state waters, any substance likely, in the opinion of the County Manager, to have an adverse effect on the storm sewer system or state waters.”

Arlington partners with the neighboring jurisdictions of Fairfax County and Alexandria to all order the same style of markers. Ordering the markers in bulk helps each jurisdiction keep costs down. The costs vary each year based on how many markers need to be attached.

Arlington County Department of Environmental Services Stormwater Outreach Specialist Jen McDonnell said in addition to affixing the markers to currently unmarked drains, volunteers replace some markers that are damaged or have come loose from the pavement.

“Whether it’s snow removal or new construction, these markers do come off with time,” said McDonnell. “Not only are they [volunteers] affixing the markers, but they can tell me which streets need new markers or what is unmarked.”

The markers list different streams depending on which neighborhood they are placed in. Some of the waterways include Lubber Run, Four Mile Run, and Gulf Branch.

The glue used to attach the markers to the pavement does not work in cold, wet conditions. Therefore, the markers only can be applied on dry days during the late spring, summer and fall.

Nearly anyone can volunteer to help out, including adults, scout groups or middle school and high school students wishing to fulfill service hours. Volunteers receive all the materials necessary to attach the markers. Once finished with the task, volunteers report which drains they have marked so the locations can be entered into an electronic database.

“This project allows the citizens to be involved and clues them in to all the storm drains. It makes them think about if there are things in the street, where it all goes,” McDonnell said. “It’s a great, easy program that people can get out and do whenever they have time for it.”

Anyone who would like to volunteer to affix the markers in their neighborhood should contact Jen McDonnell at [email protected] or 703-228-3042. Residents can also contact her to report a storm drain in need of a new marker.

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