FAQs About Chlorine Conversion

NOTICE, April 3 to May 3 – Temporary Switch to Chlorine for Water System Maintenance: Stillwater’s Water Department would like our customers and bulk water users to be aware that we are conducting free chlorine maintenance. Drinking water may taste and smell slightly different. This maintenance will improve the water quality in our distribution system. Stillwater’s staff will continually monitor the drinking water chlorine levels. The water remains safe to drink and meets all federal and state regulations.

The City of Stillwater Uses Free Chlorine for Drinking Water Quality Maintenance

In order to provide the most effective disinfection process, the City of Stillwater makes a temporary change in the type of disinfectant used in the drinking water. It is typical for water systems that use chloramines to temporarily change to free chlorine in order to clean water pipes and provide a reliable disinfectant residual throughout all points of the distribution system.

Both chlorine and chloramines are common disinfectants used by water systems to kill bacteria in drinking water. Chlorine is more effective, but chloramines offer a longer lasting residual for the distribution system.

The City of Stillwater monitors the disinfectant residual in the distribution system on a daily basis. This measurement tells us whether we are effectively disinfecting the water supply. The disinfectant residual is the amount of chlorine or chloramines in the distribution system.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is disinfection?

Answer: Disinfection is a step in the water treatment process to ensure the biological safety of water. Disinfection is required by federal and state regulations. Chlorine, chloramines and other chemicals can be used as disinfectants. Normally, Stillwater uses chloramines for disinfection which is a combination of chlorine and ammonia.

Question: Why does Stillwater perform free chlorine maintenance?

Answer: Free chlorine maintenance helps reduce the need to flush our system in order to maintain chloramine residual during the warm weather periods, thus conserving water.

Question: When does the switch occur?

Answer: The temporary switch from chloramines to free chlorine will occur April 3rd through May 3rd.

Question: What is being done?

Answer: Stillwater is temporarily changing the distribution system disinfectant from chloramines to free chlorine. We will increase our flushing and testing programs during this maintenance event. Chlorine levels will continue to meet EPA standards and are not a health risk.

Question: What changes will I notice?

Answer: You may notice a change to the taste and odor of the drinking water. This palatability change does not alter the quality of the drinking water, and the water remains safe to drink. You may see our field crews flushing the lines and testing the water at various points in the system.

Question: What should I do?

Answer: You are not required to take any actions. You do not need to boil your water as this maintenance event is not an emergency. Your water remains safe to drink. If the changes in taste and odor are bothersome, a few options for improvement are listed in the next section.

Question: What can I do if I notice a displeasing chlorine taste or smell?

Answer: Rest assured that the chlorine levels will continue to meet federal and state standards and are not a health risk. Some options for improving the taste and odor are:

Run the cold water tap for several minutes when water is not used for several days.

Collect and refrigerate cold tap water in an open pitcher. Be sure to collect water after running the cold water tap for two minutes. Within a few hours, the chlorine taste and odor will disappear.

Water filters can reduce chlorine taste and smell. Be sure to use a filter certified to meet National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) standards and replace the filter cartridge as recommended by the manufacturer.

Question: Who should take special precautions during the temporary switch to Chlorine?

Answer: Customers who normally take special precautions to remove chloramine from tap water, such as dialysis centers, medical facilities and aquatic pet owners, should continue to take the same precautions during the temporary switch to chlorine. Most methods for removing chloramine from tap water are effective in removing chlorine.

Question: Who do I contact with questions?

Answer: If you have questions, please contact Freddy Pitts at (405) 533-8492.