Breckenridge Texan

Upcoming ‘chlorine burn’ to clear out system, may create temporarily discolored water in Breckenridge

Upcoming ‘chlorine burn’ to clear out system, may create temporarily discolored water in Breckenridge
November 21
09:43 2022

City of Breckenridge water customers may notice a temporary change in their water, beginning Monday, Nov. 28, and continuing through Dec. 28, as the City conducts a chlorine burn throughout the water system.

During the disinfecting process, the water will be safe to drink but may be discolored at times, according to information from City Manager Cynthia Northrop. Additionally, residents may experience taste and odor changes associated with the temporary procedure. If a resident notices discolored water, they should let their faucets run until clear, she said.

The City of Breckenridge, like all public water systems, is required to properly disinfect the water and maintain an adequate disinfectant residual in the distribution system. In the regular disinfectant process, the City uses chloramine, which is chlorine combined with ammonia. Chloramine is widely used as a disinfectant in water distribution systems because it provides more lasting and stable protective disinfection residual while also limiting the formation of disinfection by-product contaminants, according to information provided by the City. The water treatment plant operators and water/waste water crews monitor the process and test on a regular schedule, Northrop said.

However, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), 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. Therefore, good water distribution system maintenance practices require periodically returning to chlorine in the water distribution system, partnered with increased water main flushing, to clean the distribution system.

From Nov. 28 through Dec. 28, a chlorine burn will be performed in Breckenridge to clean the pipes of organic material, Northrop said in an email. “We are required to disinfect our water supply to keep it safe from micro-organisms,” she said. “A chlorine burn will only use chlorine and will get rid of (starve) organic material build-up in our pipes. During this process, the water is safe to drink.”During the chlorine burn period, the City’s water crews will be using the fire hydrants to flush the City’s water mains to move the water through the system more quickly. That is when residents may see short periods of discolored water at their taps/faucets, which should clear after the water has been running for a while.

For more information, call City Manager Cynthia Northrop at 254-246-1963 or Robert Alvarez at 254-522-5613. The City’s main number is 254-559-8287, and the Breckenridge Water Utility may be reached at 254-559-7249.

Additional information is available on the TCEQ website.


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