Temporary Change in Drinking Water Disinfection - Important Alert for All Water Users

On Tuesday, May 29, the City of Mascoutah’s water supplier, SLM Water Commission, will be temporarily changing the type of disinfectant used in the water. Instead of combining the chlorine in the water with ammonia, SLM Water Commission will be adding chlorine only. The change in disinfectant will continue for approximately 4 to 6 weeks.  During this time, the City will also be conducting our annual distribution system flushing program.

How will this program affect me? 
The safety of the water will not be affected by this temporary change.  Many water plants use chlorine in the free, uncombined form on a regular basis.  Chlorine levels will continue to meet EPA’s safety standards.

Why is it necessary to make a temporary change in the type of disinfectant? 
Water leaving the treatment plant is usually disinfected with a combination of chlorine and ammonia. Combining the chlorine with the ammonia is beneficial because it prevents bacterial growth by keeping the chlorine in the water longer. It also prevents disinfection by-product formation and taste / odor problems. The use of the ammonia with the chlorine, however, can result in a buildup of small amounts of certain chemicals. These chemicals can be removed or prevented from forming by using free chlorine rather than the combined chlorine for a short time each year.

Will I notice changes in the taste of smell of the water?
During the temporary switch, you may notice a stronger chlorine taste and smell in your drinking water because the disinfectant is cleaning the pipe system.  The taste and odor are not a health risk. 

What can I do if I notice a chlorine taste or smell?

  • Flush cold water tap for 2 minutes.  Run it for 5 to 10 minutes when water is not used for several hours.
  • Refrigerate cold tap water in an open pitcher.  Within a few hours, the chlorine taste and odor will disappear. 

Who should take precautions during the temporary switch?
Dialysis patients and renal care facilities should be aware of these changes and adjust their health care practices accordingly.  For questions, please contact your physician or kidney dialysis center. 

Can children and pregnant women drink the water?
Yes.  They can use water for all purposes. 

Whom do I call for answers to questions?
If you have any questions concerning this matter, contact SLM Water Commission at 566-7100.