Water went through disinfection and free chlorine conversion process, which will be annual
KILLEEN, Texas (Feb. 28 2023) – The Bell County Water Control and Improvement District (BCWCID) is ending its water treatment process of converting chloramines to free chlorine tonight, as planned.
The Bell County WCID #1 conducted the process from Feb. 1 – Feb. 28 to maintain water quality and will now resume disinfecting with chloramines at midnight tonight. This was the first of what is scheduled to be an annual, preventative measure that residents can expect as routine maintenance for the water transmission and delivery systems.
WCID #1 provides wholesale water service to the cities of Killeen, Harker Heights, Copperas Cove, Belton, Nolanville and the Fort Hood Military Reservation.
The free chlorine conversion is an accepted and recommended step by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to help maintain water quality and minimize nitrification. During this period, residents may have experienced taste and odor changes associated with this type of temporary disinfectant conversion.
Water crews conducted continuous water sampling to track the progression of the chlorine conversion through the distribution system. Customers were able to use the water as usual during the chlorine conversion, although taste and odor changes may have occurred during the conversion. Water will return to its normal taste and odor now that the chlorine conversion is complete.
Disinfection is a critical part of the water treatment process that keeps drinking water free of harmful microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses. Disinfection involves a two-step process-- first the water at the treatment plant is treated, then chloramine disinfectant (chlorine + ammonia) is added to maintain water quality. During the temporary change, BCWCID 1 suspended adding ammonia and used free chlorine to keep water disinfected as it travels through pipes.
Public water systems are required to properly disinfect their water and maintain an adequate disinfectant residual in the distribution system. Chloramine, free chlorine combined with ammonia, is widely used as a disinfectant because it persists for long periods while also limiting the formation of disinfection by-product contaminants. Prolonged use of chloramine coupled with other factors that can affect water quality, such as high temperatures or stagnation of water, may result in the growth and/or persistence of organic matter within the pipes of the distribution system, which may hinder the ability to maintain an adequate disinfectant residual. A temporary conversion to free chlorine, partnered with flushing activities, helps to rid distribution pipes of this organic matter and improve the quality of your water overall.
The City of Killeen has maintained a superior TCEQ rating since February of 2019.
Those with questions may contact WCID’s Ricky Garrett at (254)501-9243.