Local News

Durham water might have different color, taste in March

Posted February 18, 2013

— Durham residents might notice a slight change in the taste and color of their water throughout the month of March, the city announced Monday.

From Feb. 28 through April 1, the city's Water Management Department will temporarily stop adding ammonia as part of the water treatment disinfection process in order to meet annual state and federal water requirements. During that time, only chlorine will be used for disinfection.

The department’s Water and Sewer Maintenance Division will also begin flushing the entire water system to allow chlorine to disperse throughout the system. System flushing will begin in the evening of March 3.

Although most of the flushing will be conducted Sundays through Thursdays between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. to minimize the impact, customers should expect to see crews flushing during regular business hours as well. During the three-week flushing process, staff will start working in the north and south sides of the city and progress toward the center of the city.

During the process, residents might notice slight discoloration in their water when crews are working in their neighborhoods.

Residents receiving kidney dialysis treatment as well as aquarium and pond owners should continue to take special precautions to remove traces of ammonia and chlorine from the water prior to using it.

Residents should also check their water before washing white clothing. If water discoloration occurs, customers should run their water for a few minutes until it becomes clear. If water discoloration persists, contact the Water and Sewer Maintenance Division at 919-560-4344.

Durham has been using chloramination as the disinfection process since January 2002. Chloramination uses both ammonia and chlorine to disinfect water and reduces the formation of disinfection by-products in the water distribution system. City water treatment plant staff will resume adding ammonia into the disinfection process on April 1.

Several other neighboring water providers, including Cary, Raleigh and the Orange Water and Sewer Authority, will be carrying out the same temporary disinfection process change and system flushing during the same time period.

For more information on the disinfection process, contact the City’s Water Management Department at 919-560-4381. Questions related to the flushing program should be directed to the City’s Water and Sewer Maintenance Division at 919-560-4344. Information about the City’s water treatment and disinfection process may also be found on the city’s website.


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  • peterpepper Feb 19, 2013

    chances are fracking will be coming to Durham, then it will be the cause when that happens.

  • saunch09 Feb 19, 2013

    Hey charmcclainlovesdogs2,
    Where do you think the water you "buy" comes from. A tap, my friend, do some research. It's not some magical stream in your fairy wonderland. Not to mention the harmful plastic bottle your bought water comes in. How do you expect the city to clean and treat our dirty water for our use, wave a magic wand?

  • JoeF Feb 18, 2013

    @timexliving What makes you think there is no fracking going on? Step away from that spigot with that match! Pftt!

  • Ex-Republican Feb 18, 2013

    Tainted water and no fracking! Go figure.

  • slayerhil Feb 18, 2013

    This happens pretty much every year during/around the month of April. Raleigh does the same thing. This is nothing out of the ordinary.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Feb 18, 2013

    I would not drink this water. It don't sound or look safe. Buy your water.

  • powerpuffjenn Feb 18, 2013

    what are they going to be doing with all the water they are charging me for and they just WASTE during this 'flush'? they SHOULD be storing it and using it to water plants this summer, etc.

  • ginufine3011 Feb 18, 2013

    So I have to waste water and money while running water until it clears up? I hope they adjust water bills - iron fist

    You might be on to something...lol...this is one way for cities to make more money. Everyone's water bill is gonna be higher than usual, at the end of the month, w/o compensating for the extra water usage.

  • wayneboyd Feb 18, 2013

    Will it be any cheaper??

  • bobbyj Feb 18, 2013

    got love water that tASTE AND SMELLS DIFFERENT. Pretty sad.