Tap water in Parsons may taste different for a while beginning Tuesday morning as the city performs its annual cleaning of the distribution system.
The “chlorine burn” will last a month, through the end of July. Generally, the procedure coincides with the Parsons Fire Department testing and flushing the fire hydrants around town, allowing the chlorine to more easily move through the distribution system.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment recommends public water supplies that use a combined chlorine residual perform annual cleaning of distribution lines with a free-chlorine residual. Free chlorine has nothing combined with it.
The city’s water treatment plant uses chlorine combined with ammonia to form chloramines to prevent the formation of byproducts that can have an adverse effect on human health. After an extended period of time, the combined chlorine residual can allow the formation of biogrowth, or biofilm, in the distribution lines.
While the growth does not present a hazard to human health, it can deplete the chlorine residual because chlorine could combine with the growth instead of moving through the system. Chlorine is necessary to prevent the spread of potentially harmful bacteria and viruses.
During the burn, there is a higher amount of chlorine used, so residents may notice some chlorine taste and odor in the water, but there is no danger in drinking it.
Free chlorine is a stronger disinfectant, but it dissipates much quicker without ammonia. The chlorine/ammonia combination works longer at a lower rate.
Anyone with questions regarding the process can contact Derek Clevenger, director of utilities, at 421-7020.