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Water Quality: Chlorine Taste & Odour

Sun Peaks Utilities’ staff monitor the water quality daily to ensure that the water arriving at your tap is both potable (safe to drink) and palatable (pleasing to drink).  Over the years, we have received a number of questions on the level of chlorine put into the system.  To answer these questions, please review the following information.  If you have further questions, please contact us at 250-578-5490 or email us at info@sunpeaksutilities.com.

Water Quality: Chlorine Taste and Odour

Sun Peaks Utilities treats your drinking water using chlorine

The source water for Sun Peaks comes from a protected underground aquifer.  The water has chlorine added to it to assist in making the naturally occurring metals such as iron and manganese non-soluble for aesthetic reasons only.  The water is then passed through the green sand filters to remove these metals and any other particulate matter making the water both potable and palatable.  Enough chlorine is added to the water to disinfect the source water to ensure that your water is protected from harmful bacteria and micro-organisms.  With the dosing being enough that enough chlorine remains to ensure the disinfection remains stable throughout the entire distribution system.  Sun Peaks Utilities has been using chlorine disinfection process successfully for over 20 years, and only adds enough chlorine to maintain an effective level of disinfection throughout the distribution system, no more.

The levels of chlorine are kept between 0.5 and 1.0 mg/l or parts per million so there is always chlorine present in the system to ensure acceptable water quality.  To maintain an effective disinfectant in the system during the low usage periods or warmer months of the year, the concentration may be adjusted.  This is to account for seasonally changes in the system that may cause chlorine residuals to decrease more rapidly, including distribution system flushing or maintenance projects.

Some customers can be sensitive to changes in chlorine levels and will notice the fluctuations more than others. These changes do not signal a significant change in chlorine in the system, but is more likely due to work on the system or a change in outside temperatures, indicating that the chlorine is dissipating more quickly in a certain area. These changes in the chlorine taste and odor generally pass on their own after a few hours, and are not cause for alarm.  Even though these changes may be detected, the chlorine level is still well within the accepted range.

Chlorine odor can be minimized by:

  • Putting an open pitcher of water in the refrigerator overnight will allow the chlorine to dissipate.
  • Adding a slice of citrus or cucumber to the water to de-chlorinate the water in a few hours.
  • Boiling water and making coffee or tea will reduce the chlorine by approximately 30%
  • Putting plain water on a soft boil for 20 minutes
  • A Vitamin C tablet of 1,000 mg may be crushed and added to bath water For those with sensitivities, other alternatives to help minimize chlorine levels can include the installation of activated carbon based faucet and shower filters. For recommendations on filters, NSF is a non-profit organization that tests and certifies drinking water filtration products. They can be contacted at www.nsf.org/certified/DWTU or visit your local plumbing or hardware store and look for the NSF label.   Additional information is also available at Health Canada website http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/water-eau/drink-potab/mater/index-eng.php

To learn more about the water quality at Sun Peaks, visit www.sunpeaksutilities.com and click on the ‘Water’ tab or contact the Utilities’ offices at 250-578-5490, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday.

In humans, chlorine is neutralized through the digestive system; however fish are particularly susceptible to changes in chlorine levels, as they absorb these elements into their bloodstream directly through their gills.  Chlorine can be counteracted in fish tanks by using a special filtering system, or using an additive or conditioner to remove them.  Fish owners should check with their pet or aquarium store for these products.

For those with sensitivities, other alternatives to help minimize chlorine levels can include the installation of activated carbon based faucet and shower filters.  For recommendations on filters, NSF is a non-profit organization that tests and certifies drinking water filtration products. They can be contacted at www.nsf.org/certified/DWTU or visit your local plumbing or hardware store and look for the NSF label.   Additional information is also available at Health Canada websitehttp://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/water-eau/drink-potab/mater/index-eng.php

To learn more about the water quality at Sun Peaks, visit www.sunpeaksutilities.com and click on the ‘Water’ tab or contact the Utilities’ offices at 250-578-5490, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday.