Water Utilities Announces Temporary Disinfection Changes in January
Chatham County Water Customers
Beginning January 7, 2019, Chatham County Public Utilities will temporarily suspend the addition of ammonia to its water treatment disinfection process, as required by NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ). Chatham County will resume the addition of ammonia to the water treatment disinfection process on February 4, 2019.
Chatham County Utilities uses both ammonia and chlorine to form chloramines for its disinfection process. Ammonia is added to the water in a carefully regulated dose and reacts chemically with the chlorine to produce chloramines. Chloraminated drinking water is safe for drinking, bathing, cooking and many other daily uses. NCDENR requires all systems using chloramination to suspend the addition of ammonia for a one-month period annually. Chatham County will flush the water mains throughout the water system during this time to remove sediment in the water mains and refresh the entire distribution system.
During the changes in our disinfection process and flushing of the water system, three groups of people need to take special precautions for higher concentrations of chlorine – kidney dialysis patients, pre-treatment owners and aquatic pet owners using county water. Dialysis patients and aquatic pet owners already treat water they use by removing chlorine. Customers pre-treating county water for such reasons should either consult with their doctor or the manufacturer of pre-treatment equipment to get directions on any adjustments to make during this period.
Also, the flushing of water mains throughout the water system during this time may cause some discoloration and/or chlorine odor to the drinking water. The county water, however, will still be safe for drinking, bathing and other daily uses. While there are no associated health risks with the discoloration and/or odor, you may want to be sure water is clear of discoloration prior laundering light-colored items during this period. If you notice discoloration at the tap, allowing the water to run for 5 to 10 minutes should clear up the problem.
Customers with general, non-medical concerns or questions should contact the Chatham County Water Treatment Facility at (919) 303-0055 or the county website feedback form.
Public Utilities Director