Portsmouth Water System to Temporarily Change to Chlorine

By: City of Portsmouth

From Wednesday, March 8th through Wednesday, March 29th, the Department of Public Utilities will be performing a routine maintenance procedure as a joint effort with the Cities of Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Suffolk, and the County of Isle of Wight, to continue to ensure the quality of drinking water.  This is done by temporarily switching from chloramines to free chlorine as the disinfecting agent added to city water.  This change will be done in accordance with the state and federal regulations and poses no impact to public health or to the safety of the city water.

Switching from chloramine to free chlorine is typically referred to as a Free Chlorine Conversion or Chlorine Burn.  The temporary free chlorine conversion will affect water for all Portsmouth water customers, including those customers in Chesapeake and Suffolk who receive water from the City of Portsmouth.  During this chlorine burn, customers may notice open hydrants or flushing valves throughout Portsmouth.  This is to help distribute the change in disinfectant.

Possible Effects: The chlorine burn can cause discoloration or cloudiness in the water, strong chlorine odors – “swimming pool smell” and taste.  Open fire hydrants and valve flushing should remove the majority of the color and odor, but some will reach customers’ lines in the process.  This is normal and it is not harmful.  If this is experienced, running the water helps to minimize the effects.  Again, this is normal and will dissipate as the change continues.

Is The Water Safe to Drink?  Yes, the water will remain safe to drink.  The City will continue to monitor chlorine concentrations and perform chemical and bacteriological analyses to ensure that customers are receiving high quality water.

Kidney dialysis patients and fish owners should continue to follow the standard water treatment process for chloramines, as this also removes free chlorine.

For more information, call Portsmouth Water Quality Laboratory at (757) 539-2201 ext. 225/232.

To read Frequently Asked Questions About Chlorine BurnClick Here