The City of Allen will enhance its notification efforts related to North Texas Municipal Water District’s annual chlorine maintenance after hearing from residents at a special town hall meeting.
Attendees at the April 18 Q&A session asked City officials to consider mailing a notice to residents ahead of the next chlorine maintenance period. During the 2018 maintenance period, some residents reported an increased sensitivity to their tap water.
Allen currently notifies residents of the yearly maintenance on its website and social media pages, including Facebook, Twitter and Nextdoor. It also explains the procedure in the annual Water Quality Report, mailed to every Allen utility customer each spring. Beginning in 2019, Allen will include an additional printed message in residents’ utility bills ahead of the maintenance period.
The City is also adding new resources to its website to help residents understand local water quality testing, distribution and regulation. At CityofAllen.org/SafeWater, visitors can view information about the 2018 maintenance period, search frequently-asked questions about Allen’s water supply, find ways to contact regulatory authorities and watch the Water Quality Town Hall Meeting. Residents are encouraged to email email@example.com with any additional questions.
Allen’s water supplier, North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD), temporarily changes its water treatment process each spring to kill bacteria and viruses in distribution pipes ahead of summer heat. This 30-day maintenance relies on straight chlorine, rather than a mixture of chlorine and ammonia, to disinfect the water.
Water samples collected in Allen during 2017 showed disinfectant levels under the federal limit and disinfectant by-product (DBP) levels well below limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency. However, the addition of new biologically-active filters at the NTMWD treatment plants in 2020 provides an opportunity to further reduce the concentration of residual disinfectant in the water distribution system. This could lead to reduction in the current levels of DBPs and is a change the City of Allen is committed to pursuing in coordination with other water system member cities and NTMWD.
“Once we get biologically-active filtration done in 2020…I’ll be talking to the staff at the water district. How can we calculate or work with consultants to see how we step down [disinfectant levels]? That’s what I’d love to see,” said Steve Massey, City of Allen Community Services Director. “Right now our DBP levels are about half what the limit is. Why wouldn’t I be happier if they were a third of what the limit is?”
“We meet and exceed every standard that currently exists,” said Allen City Manager Peter Vargas. “But we’re not just going to sit back and say that ‘we’re done.’ No, we’re going to continue to seek improvements.”