2018 Chlorine Maintenance

Several residents reached to the City of Allen in 2018 with questions about the taste, smell and safety of our tap water. These concerns surfaced as North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) performed its annual, 30-day chlorine maintenance, which ended March 26, 2018. This annual maintenance has been performed since 2007 and is an approved process by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

NTMWD collects and processes hundreds of samples each day to ensure the safety of its water. In response to customer concerns, additional water samples were collected from the NTMWD distribution system on March 16, 2018 and tested by an independent lab. These samples were found to be well within the bounds of regulatory standards. Details of that lab report are available on the NTWMD website.

In addition, a TCEQ water quality inspector visited Allen on March 22, 2018. She sampled five locations within our city and found both the free chlorine and total chlorine levels were well below mandated limits. The City of Allen also sent water quality crews to homes at the request of residents and water samples from these homes also showed chlorine levels below the limit set by the EPA.

On March 30, 2018, NTMWD released a comparative report that shows the chlorine residual levels prior to the chlorine maintenance period and chlorine residual levels during the chlorine maintenance test period for both 2017 and 2018 at the 12 TCEQ approved sample sites. These samples were analyzed for compliance and sent to TCEQ. These tests show that the annual average chlorine disinfection residual levels comply with mandated regulations and that levels were similar prior to and during the annual chlorine maintenance period.

Annual chlorine maintenance is an approved and heavily-regulated process performed to make water safer based on our specific water supply (lake surface water) and distribution system. It helps eliminate dangerous and potentially deadly bacteria which could proliferate in pipes during summer months – including those that cause diseases such as typhoid and cholera. According to NTMWD, 45% of the country performs this same water treatment process.

In response to citizen inquiries, the City of Allen hosted a Town Hall Meeting on April 18, 2018 to directly answer questions from residents. City leaders shared that water is the most regulated service the City of Allen provides to its citizens and explained how Allen works with NTMWD, TCEQ, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure our community’s drinking water meets all state and federal standards. Higher standards than those set by the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water acts and the regulatory agencies that safeguard public health do not currently exist. However, Allen is committed to following all current and future regulations put in place by TCEQ and the EPA as a result of technological advances or updated scientific studies. The City of Allen encourages residents to get involved in water safety by utilizing resources offered by the EPA and TCEQ. Based on citizen suggestions, Allen will enhance its notification efforts ahead of future chlorine maintenance. Utility customers will find a notice in their monthly utility bill before the annual maintenance period, beginning in 2019.

As a result of rigorous testing and commitment to water quality, Allen has been named a "Superior Water System" by TCEQ, the highest ranking possible. The city publishes an annual Water Quality Report, mailed to every Allen water customer in the spring. The 2018 Water Quality Report will be available in May. To encourage further transparency, Allen shares historical water quality data on its website, CityofAllen.org/Water and created a Q&A web page to deal with frequently-asked questions about its water testing and treatment process.

NTMWD has provided information about the annual chlorine maintenance on its website, in an FAQ fact sheet, and in a detailed presentation at the Frisco City Council meeting on April 3, 2018. For citizens with lingering questions, we recommend visiting safewaternorthtexas.com. It offers in-depth information about water treatment processes—including annual chlorine maintenance—in a single, easy-to-navigate site. A panel discussion with experts on water quality and treatment processes may also help residents enhance their knowledge about water safety.