White Rock residents experiencing cloudiness and different taste or smell to their water should not be alarmed, according to city officials.
White Rock’s water utility staff began adding a low (0.5mg/L) dosage of chlorine to the Oxford water distribution site on Oct. 4.
City communications manager Farnaz Farrokhi said this week that the measure is a further step toward meeting the Fraser Health Authority’s mandatory requirement that secondary disinfection be implemented by Feb. 1, 2017.
Farrokhi said that full implementation of chlorination is being phased in as staff continue to do “their due diligence to see if there are any changes to the city’s water quality.”‘
“Although the water esthetics may change the city’s water is still safe to drink,” she told Peace Arch News Thursday.
“We have had some residents call in asking why their water smelled or tasted like chlorine. Once we explained to them that the city had introduced chlorine at the Oxford site as per Fraser Health’s mandate, and the steps they can take to reduce the smell and odour, they understood and were fine with it.”
Extensive testing earlier this year studied the effects of chlorination on existing water infrastructure, and its reaction with naturally-occurring elements – including manganese – in the system.
Manganese, in contact with chlorine, may cause the water to become cloudy, Farrokhi noted.
“Residents will see communication about chlorination at the Oxford site and tips on how they can minimize the smell and taste in this quarter’s water bill, which goes out at the end of this month,” she said, adding that advertisements will also be run in the PAN.
She also referred residents to an updated My Water FAQs page on White Rock’s website (http://www.whiterockcity.ca/EN/main/city/my-water/frequently-asked-questions.html)
The page notes Health Canada information that disinfection of water by chlorine has been practised for some 100 years, and that no risks associated with the taste and odour of the chemical have been identified.
It further quotes Health Canada as suggesting that store-bought filters can eliminate the taste and smell, but that a quicker way of eliminating the effects are to add fruits and vegetables such as oranges, lemons, limes and cucumbers, or a crushed Vitamin C tablet, to a pitcher of water and letting it sit for around an hour.
The dosage of chlorine will be adjusted upwards over the next several months leading up to the February deadline.
Chloramination, which reduces negative esthetics in the water, was initially selected for use by the city, but was abandoned early this year due to public feedback.