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Community Services

Posted on: February 23, 2021

Annual water system maintenance is March 1-29

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You might notice a slight change to the taste or smell of your tap water in March due to a temporary change in disinfectant by Allen’s water supplier, North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD). Though your water might taste or smell different, it’s safe for drinking and bathing.

What is annual maintenance and why do we need it?

Water suppliers must keep drinking water free of disease-causing microorganisms. This requires ongoing maintenance of the pipes, tanks and towers that carry and store our water. Allen’s water supplier, North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD), uses a mixture of chlorine and ammonia to keep the distribution system clean. For four weeks each year, NTMWD removes the ammonia and uses chlorine only. This temporary change in disinfectant takes advantage of chlorine’s effectiveness at eliminating microorganisms to give our water system a deep cleaning.

Is it safe? How do we know?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) creates federal water quality guidelines based on thorough, peer-reviewed research. Every treatment process used by NTMWD meets EPA safety criteria. Thousands of tests to assure water quality are performed annually by NTMWD, the City of Allen and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). These tests verify that Allen’s water meets all federal and state requirements for health and safety. The City of Allen is rated as a “Superior Water System,” the highest level possible.

Why does the water taste or smell different?

During most of the year, NTMWD uses a combination of chlorine and ammonia to guard against bacteria in our water system. When ammonia is temporarily removed from the mixture, a chlorine taste and odor can become more prominent. Outdoor temperatures and overall water use also influence the reaction of chlorine to other materials in the water supply. This may cause smells and odors to fluctuate year to year. NTMWD does not increase the amount of chlorine in the water during its four-week change in disinfectant.

Can I do anything to reduce the taste or odor?

Not everyone notices a change in the water during this period. However, those who notice the changes can reduce chlorine tastes and odors by running tap water a few minutes before using, refrigerating water in an open pitcher for several hours or installing filters on faucets. While not necessary to meet safety standards, whole-home filtration systems can also help reduce tastes and odors.

Find annual water quality reports, water safety resources, and information on sampling and testing at CityofAllen.org/SafeWater.

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