Water purchased from supplier may have slight alteration in taste

Every year at about this time, the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) conducts a monthlong process that is intended to maintain their system.  The process, which this year runs from March 2 to 30, can alter the taste and smell of the water coming from home faucets.

“The NTMWD conducts their testing every year in the cooler months,” says Public Works Director Jeff Cartwright.  “Here in Melissa, the effect may not be as pronounced as in other communities served by the water supplier.  That’s because we blend water from the district with water from the former Country Ridge Water System.”

Melissa is among the area’s cities and towns that purchase most of their water from the North Texas Municipal Water District, then blends it with water from the wells which served the now-City-acquired Country Ridge Water System.  The blending can serve to mitigate the altered taste and smell of water purchased from NTMWD.

Still, people with heightened senses may detect a slightly altered taste and smell.  That’s because chlorine is the only chemical added to the water during this period to kill bacteria and oxidize contaminants.  Normally, chlorine is combined with ammonia to treat drinking water, creating a combined chlorine, or chloramines.  Chloramines provide longer-lasting water treatment as the water moves through the system to consumers.

However, during the NTMWD maintenance period, ammonia is not added, giving chlorine a greater level of concentration.  This can result in a change in the smell and taste of the water.   

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality allows water suppliers to perform chlorine maintenance, which helps reduce the need for the NTMWD to flush systems during the summer, thus conserving water. 

“At the end of the monthlong chlorine maintenance period, the taste and smell will return to normal,” said Cartwright.  

NTMWD conducts hundreds of tests daily in a state-certified laboratory to ensure water safety.  Monthly and annual water quality reports are posted online, including results of tests conducted during the annual system maintenance.  Customers can view this information at www.ntmwd.com/water-testing/.