Water will go through a disinfection and free chlorine conversion process as part of maintenance
KILLEEN, Texas (Jan. 6, 2023) – The City of Killeen will be included in the Bell County Water Control and Improvement District’s (BCWCID) plan to temporarily convert the disinfectant in its water treatment process from chloramines to free chlorine, which will occur from Feb. 1 – Feb. 28 to maintain water quality.
The Bell County WCID 1 provides wholesale water service to the cities of Killeen, Harker Heights, Copperas Cove, Belton, Nolanville and the Fort Hood Military Reservation.
“Killeen greatly supports this chlorine conversion, and thanks BCWCID 1’s efforts to maintain superior water quality for all their customers,” Jeffery Reynolds, Executive Director of Public Works, said.
This preventative measure is the first in what will be an annual conversion for routine maintenance of the water transmission and delivery systems. 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 experience taste and odor changes associated with this type of temporary disinfectant conversion.
As soon as Killeen’s water samples show that chlorine-converted water has reached the city, water crews will begin flushing water throughout the water distribution system to pull the chlorine converted water out to the furthest reaches of the distribution system. Water crews will be continually sampling the water to track the progression of the chlorine conversion through the distribution system. Customers should feel free to use the water as usual during the chlorine conversion. They may notice taste and odor changes during the conversion, but these should be short-lived, and the water will return to its normal taste and odor once 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 will suspend adding ammonia and use 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.