Why Does Washington, DC's Water Taste Bad? – Hydroviv

Why Does Washington, DC's Water Taste Bad?

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Why Does Washington, DC's Water Taste Bad?

Since March 20, we have had lots of questions about a noticeable chance in DC's tap water.  While we've heard lots of interesting hypotheses, what's really happening is that the Washington Aqueduct (where DC Water purchases water from) has recently switched over from chloramine to chlorine for an annual "Spring Cleaning" of the distribution lines.

How Are Chloramine and Chlorine Different?

We answer this question in much more detail in a different post, but here's the skinny:  Like a growing number of US cities, Washington, DC uses chloramine as the primary disinfectant for a couple of reasons:

1.  It persists longer in the distribution system, so it does a better job killing bacteria in areas of the water distribution system that are near the end of the pipes, or don't have as high of flow as other areas.

2.  It doesn't form disinfection byproducts in the presence of organic matter.

3.  Chloramine-treated water doesn't have as strong of a taste as chlorine-treated water

While these are all great reasons to use chloramine, most cities that use chloramine undergo a more aggressive disinfection cycle for a few weeks each year (aka Spring Cleaning).  

What Are The Impacts of Switching to Chlorine?

During this time, some people find that the water tastes and smells tastes bad, and the bathroom smells a bit like a swimming pool's locker room after showering.  If you want to fix this problem... you have a couple of options that don't involve bottled water (horrible for the environment).

1.  Filter your water

2.  If you let chlorinated tap water sit in a pitcher overnight, a good amount of the chlorine taste will go away.

When Will Washington, DC's Water Switch Back Over to Chloramine?

April 17 is the day that DC Water plans to switch back over to chloramine.  Until then... non-Hydroviv users will just have to hold their noses!

 

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