ANNUAL WPB PUBLIC UTILITIES TEMPORARY DISINFECTANT SWITCH STARTS JULY 9, 2018
Customers served by the City of West Palm Beach Department of Public Utilities may notice a slight chlorine taste or odor in their tap water during this period. Many detect no change at all.
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (July 3, 2018) -- To maintain high water quality and to ensure regulatory compliance in the City’s water distribution system, the City of West Palm Beach Department of Public Utilities will temporarily modify the disinfection process used to treat our drinking water. This modification is scheduled for July 9, 2018 – July 27, 2018 and involves converting from chloramines to free chlorine during the three-week period. The City will also increase hydrant flushing during this time.
This is a preventative maintenance process recognized by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Department of Health, the lead regulatory agencies overseeing the Safe Drinking Water Act programs.
Customers served by the City of West Palm Beach Department of Public Utilities may notice a slight chlorine taste or odor in their tap water during this period. Many detect no change at all. These temporary conditions are necessary to protect public health and safety by ensuring a clean distribution system for our drinking water. If you are especially sensitive to the taste or odor of chlorine, keep an open container of drinking water in your refrigerator for a few hours to allow the chlorine to dissipate.
Users of home dialysis machines, owners of aquarium fish, and managers of stores and restaurants with fish and shellfish holding tanks are advised to seek professional advice as the method for removing chlorine residuals differs from removing chloramine residuals from tap water.
Should you need more information on this change in the water treatment process, please call the City of West Palm Beach Department of Public Utilities at (5461) 822-2210.
Q. What is a disinfectant switch?
A. During the year the City uses “Chloramines” as the primary disinfectant within the drinking water system. Chloramines are very effective as a disinfectant however, to maintain the distribution system as clean as possible, the City must periodically switch to just chlorine. This is considered a temporary disinfectant switch which requires notice to our customers and the Florida Department of Health.
Q. What is changing in the treatment process?
A. The City will switch from chloramines to a somewhat stronger disinfection process called free chlorination which can be used to remove more resistant organisms that may be found in the water distribution system.
Q. Why is the City doing this?
A. This is a planned treatment designed to provide additional protection to our customers against bacteria in the water supply. Many utilities using chloramine disinfection find it helpful to switch periodically to a free chlorine treatment program to help maintain system integrity. Utilities conduct chlorine flushes to maintain good conditions of their drinking water distribution systems. This is a best management practice recognized by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the Florida Department of Health.
Q. How often is this done, and how long will it go on?
A. The City of West Palm Beach coordinates with Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department on chlorine flushes. This year, the chlorine flush will occur between July 9th, 2018 and July 27th, 2018.
Q. Can I drink the water during this period? What about my pets?
A. Yes. The water will continue to meet federal and state standards for safe drinking water during this program. However, customers may notice a difference in taste and/or smell. Each individual has his or her own sensitivity level to the taste and/or odor of free chlorine. Many detect no change at all. The chlorine taste and smell during the first two weeks of the maintenance program is normal and poses no health risk. Owners of aquarium fish are advised to seek professional advice.
Q. Why all the flushing?
A. The City will increase hydrant flushing during this time to quickly move the free chlorinated water into the system.
Q. Who can this effect?
A. Users of dialysis machines and owners of aquariums.
Kidney Dialysis- Just like chloramines, free chlorine must be removed from water used in kidney dialysis machines. We advise customers who are dialysis patients to call their physicians or dialysis centers if there are any questions.
Fish Owners- Like chloramines, free chlorine is toxic to fish. Fish owners need to remove chlorine, ammonia and chloramines from the water before use with tropical fish. Local pet stores carry water conditioners that remove chloramines and free chlorine. If customers have questions, we recommend contacting their pet store for information and detailed instructions.