North Texas

Renewed Concerns Ahead of Annual Water Treatment Process

There are renewed concerns about the quality of drinking water being pumped out to more than a million North Texans.

Questions center around an upcoming chlorine treatment by the North Texas Municipal Water District.

It's the same treatment that caused major controversy last year, drawing huge crowds and criticism from activist Erin Brockovich.

Brockovich criticized the process earlier this week on Facebook.

Last year, countless customer complained about the smell, taste and alleged side effects of the water during an annual chlorine maintenance process.

"It was just a lot like pool water, so even brushing your teeth it was a little concerning," said Murphy mom Angela Groves. "I tell my kids not to drink the pool water and here I am and they're like, 'Why does this smell like the pool?'"

Hundreds shared similar concerns at a speech last year in Frisco by activist Erin Brockovich.

It brought water quality under the microscope even more.

"We live in a post Flint, Michigan world. People are interested," said Billy George, assistant deputy with the NTMWD.

George said the chlorine treatment is necessary to keep water safe year round.

The process is complex but George says 11 months out of the year, both chlorine and ammonia are typically used to treat the water.

This one month they stop adding ammonia and allow free chlorine to flow, a process he says "helps refresh the system and maintain it."

Early rains and lower demand last year, he said, likely caused the smell and taste to be worse than normal.

The controversy he said has been a teachable moment.

This year, the district is pledging more transparency with testing.

They say they'll test chlorine levels daily during the treatment process.

They plan to post the test results online for the public to view. The results can be viewed here.

The district said it's also performing monthly testing for Disinfection By Products (DBPs), more often than required by the state, they said.

"It is safe," George said.

This year's chlorine treatment runs from March 4 through April 1.

The district said the smell of chlorine may be more noticeable during that time.

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