St. Tammany Parish Government Department of Utilities, serving a public water system in Cross Gates, will be conducting a temporary switch from the current Chloramine (also known as Total Chlorine) disinfection to Free Chlorine disinfection of its water distribution system beginning Monday, April 25, 2022 and is intended to last for 60 days as recommended by Owen & White Consulting Engineering, Inc. This will affect the water system in the Cross Gates service area that is served by the Steele Road and Willow Wood Potable Water Wells.
The temporary switch to Free Chlorine from Chloramine is typically referred to as a Free Chlorine conversion or Chlorine Burn. This conversion is being performed strictly as a precautionary measure and to increase public trust in the water quality as recommended in the Final Report prepared by Owen & White Consulting Engineers, Inc. There is NO evidence or indication of bacteriological contaminants in the Cross Gates water distribution system. The Cross Gates water distribution system is in full compliance with all Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations for water quality and safety.
During this temporary switch to Free Chlorine, the water disinfection process will be changed from Chloramines to Free Chlorine which is performed by significantly increasing the amount of Chlorine pumped into the water system to raise the Free Chlorine residual throughout the entire system. Customers may notice open fire hydrants or flushing valves throughout Cross Gates during this period to allow flushing of the system, which helps distribute the change in disinfectant.
Possible Effects: The temporary change will likely cause some discoloration or cloudiness in the water, minor pressure fluctuations, small air pockets, and a strong Chlorine odor and taste. If this is experienced, running water may help minimize the effects. Fire hydrant and valve flushing should remove a majority of the color and odor, but some will reach customer lines during the process.
The significant increase in the Chlorine concentration in the water system may cause customers to experience eye or skin irritations and other possible effects similar to swimming pools with a high dose of Chlorine. Customers who use tap water for kidney dialysis at home should contact their doctor to determine if any changes are necessary in their residual disinfectant neutralization procedures. Customers utilizing the water for aquariums should monitor the chlorine residuals.
Is the Water Safe to Drink? Yes, the water will remain safe to drink (except during precautionary Boil Water Advisories that will be issued during the disinfection transition periods of this process). However, be advised that by significantly increasing the Chlorine concentration, an increase in the production of disinfection by-products (DBP’s) is expected. DBP’s are classified by EPA as human carcinogens that are created during the disinfection process. The DBP’s level will be monitored throughout the Chlorine conversion to ensure levels do not increase beyond the maximum contaminant levels set by the EPA.
St. Tammany Parish Government remains committed to providing customers safe and quality drinking water.
Additional information regarding the reason for the temporary conversion to Free Chlorine can be found in the Final Report by Owen & White Engineering Consultants, Inc. on the www.stpgov.org home page.