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August 29, 2007

City of Houston Drinking Water Operations Performing Water Quality Maintenance Flushing August 30th through September 18th

The City of Houston Drinking Water Operations is dedicated to provide the best quality water in the nation.  To maintain the water quality in our distribution system, the City of Houston will temporarily modify the disinfection process used in areas served by our Southeast Water Purification Plant.  The areas served by this plant include the zip codes: 77504, 77505, 77534, 77562, 77575 and 77598.

Typically, chlorine in combination with ammonia (chloramination) is used by our utility for water system disinfection. For approximately a three-week period, beginning August 30th, 2007 and ending September 18th, 2007, the City of Houston will be using chlorine without the ammonia.  This method of free chlorine disinfection is somewhat stronger and will provide greater protection of our finished water quality. This temporary change in our treatment process is standard water utility industry practice performed in accordance with State and Federal drinking water regulations.  The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has been consulted and has approved this method for routine maintenance of potable water distribution systems.

Additionally, we will conduct flushing from fire hydrants and blow-offs at the end of our pipes to further improve water quality.  During this period, we will sample and test our water to monitor the effectiveness of the temporary modification.

Customers may notice a slight chlorine taste or odor in the tap water for a short period during the change.  Typically, within a day or two after the change, no objectionable conditions should be present.  The water will remain safe to drink, to use for cooking, to bathe in, and for other everyday uses.

However, users of home kidney dialysis machines, owners of tropical fish aquariums, and managers of stores and restaurants with fish and shellfish holding tanks are advised that the methods for testing and removing free chlorine residuals differ from those used for chloramine residuals.  Both types of residuals may adversely affect users of kidney dialysis machines and may be toxic to fish and aquatic animals if not treated properly.  We encourage customers who may be affected by this change to seek advice from professionals.

If you have substantial water quality problems, please report it for rapid response by calling 311.