HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – Starting May 22, some Evansville Water and Sewer Utility (EWSU) customers may notice a slight change in the taste and odor of their tap water.

Officials say the change is related to a temporary switch in the disinfectant that is used in the water treatment process. EWSU says the switch to free chlorine from the regularly used disinfectant chloramine will begin on May 22, and continue until July 10. EWSU notes it switches disinfectants twice a year, and the second switchover will be from August 28 until October 16.

EWSU says this is what its customers should know…

  • What is chloramine?
    • Chloramine is a disinfectant used in drinking water to remove bacteria and viruses that can make people sick. It is made up of chlorine and ammonia. EWSU has used chloramine as the disinfectant in its water treatment process since 1999.
  • What is free chlorine?
    • Free chlorine is a slightly more potent disinfectant than chloramine, and it is used to remove more resistant bacteria and viruses that may be found in the water distribution system.
  • Why would EWSU convert from chloramines to free chlorine?
    • State drinking water guidelines recommend that utilities using chloramine periodically switch to free chlorine for a while. The temporary use of chlorine will ensure that a proper disinfectant level is maintained throughout the network of water mains and pipes that deliver people’s drinking water.
  • Will I notice a difference in my water?
    • During this period, some customers may notice a slight change in the taste or odor of their tap water. Free chlorine may have more of a chemical odor, slightly like that of swimming pool water. Each customer has their sensitivity level to the taste or odor of free chlorine. Many detect no change at all. The mild chlorine taste and odor are typical and pose no health risk.
  • Information for kidney dialysis patients
    • Just like chloramines, free chlorine must be removed from water used in kidney dialysis machines. EWSU has contacted representatives from the medical community to inform them of this temporary conversion. EWSU advises that dialysis patients to call their physicians or dialysis centers if there are any questions.
  • Information for fish owners
    • Like chloramine, free chlorine is toxic to fish. Therefore, fish owners need to remove chlorine, ammonia, and chloramine from the water before using it with tropical fish. Local pet stores carry water conditioners that remove chloramine and free chlorine. If customers have questions, EWSU recommends contacting a pet store for information and detailed instructions.

EWSU says this temporary change in the water treatment process denies bacteria the ability to form resistance to the usual disinfection treatment process.