During the week beginning October 11 the City of Rockport’s Public Works Department will change the type of disinfectant used in the water supply to kill bacteria in the drinking water and water pipe system and provide a reliable disinfectant residual throughout all points in the distribution system.

Typically, the City uses chloramines, but is undertaking this method to keep the level of residuals up and reduce the need of flushing the system, which results in a waste of water.

It is estimated this process will take about two to three weeks. Both methods meet all EPA standards, are not a health risk, and are monitored daily through the City’s 28 sampling sites.

According to Public Works Director Mike Donoho, it is normal for water systems using chloramines to temporarily change to another form of disinfectant to ensure the ongoing safety. Because of this change, and the use of a calibration and injection system, there may be a slight chlorine taste or smell.

“There isn’t a need to boil the water, but we suggest letting the cold tap run for about two minutes before collecting water for cooking or drinking if you don’t have a filtration system,” said Donoho. “And, at the end of the month, change the filtration system on your sinks, ice makers and refrigerator water dispensers.

“Residents with home dialysis machines should check with their physician or equipment supplier if they are using water from the tap. And, aquarium and swimming pool owners should pay special attention to the chemistry.”

Water customers may call the City’s Public Works Department at (361) 790-1160 for additional information or questions.

Answers to commonly

asked questions

Q: Why is the City doing this?

A: This is a proactive measure to ensure that no microorganisms are present in the system. Maintaining adequate levels during the heat of the summer and in a drought condition requires extensive flushing. This will ensure that we’re providing a safe system and not wasting water.

Q: What is the difference between chloramines and free chlorine?

A: Chloramines are formed when chlorine is combined with a small amount of ammonia. Chloramines react more slowly than chlorine, but they stay active longer. Chlorine is quicker acting but is used up faster as it reacts with contaminants in the water.

Q: Is the water safe?

A: Water with chloramines can be used for drinking, bathing or cooking because the body’s digestive process neutralizes chloramine before it reaches the bloodstream. People with medical problems can use chloraminated water for all purposes. However, individuals with home dialysis machines should check with their physician or equipment supplier.

Q: What if I notice a chlorine taste or smell?

A: Run the cold water tap for several minutes when water is not used for several days. Collect and refrigerate cold tap water in an open pitcher. Be sure to collect water after running the cold water tap for two minutes. Within a few hours, the chlorine taste and odor will disappear. Water filters can reduce chlorine taste and smell. Be sure to use a filter certified to meet National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) standards and replace the filter cartridge as recommended by the manufacturer.

Q: Will chlorine affect my pets?

A: Chlorine and chloramine are toxic to fish, other aquatic animals, reptiles, and amphibians. Unlike humans and other household pets, these types of animals absorb water directly into the blood stream. Chlorine can be removed from water by letting it sit out for a few days or by buying a product at your local pet store that removes the chlorine.

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