Water Quality Maintenance FAQs

The City of Longview will conduct maintenance throughout the water supply system from April 20 - May 20, 2015. Periodically, the water distribution system needs to be flushed with chlorinated water as a preventive measure. Although there may be no noticeable change, the maintenance may result in temporary taste, odor, or color or water pressure issues during that time. The water will continue to be safe for use. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality support this process as a necessary and effective measure for maintaining water quality.

During the time period, the City of Longview will make some temporary adjustments to disinfectant levels, but will remain within safe ranges. In addition, the city will be flushing portions of the system at hydrants throughout the community on a continuous basis during the time period. The City of Longview is dedicated to making sure the water is safe to drink and will be monitoring the disinfectant levels continually during the work.

Q. What is a “free chlorine conversion”?
A. A free chlorine conversion is a process by which a water system periodically switches its disinfection process from chloramines (a combination of chlorine and ammonia) to free chlorine in order to improve the long term quality of its drinking water.

Q. Why is the City of Longview implementing a “free chlorine conversion” for the public water system distribution system?
A.
To improve the overall water quality in our distribution system.

Q. Is this the first time that the City of Longview has implemented a free chlorine conversion plan?
A.
Yes.

Q. Are “free chlorine conversions” a common practice among water systems?
A.
Yes. This is a common industry standard for preventative maintenance in drinking water distribution systems. Many utilities throughout the state and country that use chloramines for their primary distribution disinfectant convert to free chlorine on an “as needed” basis. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) endorse and support this procedure.

Q. Why has the City of Longview not implemented a “free chlorine conversion” until now?
A.
Until recently, the City of Longview has been able to maintain an excellent water quality for its customers without needing to flush excessively. Excessive flushing to maintain water quality is one of the most significant triggers that a water system uses to determine whether a “free chlorine conversion” is warranted. The City of Longview feels that it has reached the time where a “free chlorine conversion” can significantly improve the quality of our drinking water, while also minimizing our water loss due to flushing.

Q. How long will the “free chlorine conversion” last?
A.
The duration of the “free chlorine conversion” will be approximately thirty (30) days; April 20, 2015 to May 20, 2015.

Q. Does the “free chlorine conversion” pose any health risks? Will the water be safe to drink and use?
A.
The process is entirely safe and poses no health risk to customers. The water is safe to drink and customers can use the water as normal.

Q. Will I need to do anything differently during the “free chlorine conversion”?
A.
No action is necessary by the customers during the conversion. Customers may drink and use their water as normal.

Q. Why all the flushing?
A.
city crews will need to perform directional flushing procedures to move the free chlorine through the entire water distribution system. After the reversion back to the chloramines (a combination of chlorine and ammonia), city crews will need to perform the same directional flushing procedures to move the chloramines through the system to return the distribution system back to normal operation. Flushing should significantly subside after the termination of the conversion.

Q. I have low water pressure. What do I do?
A.
If you are completely out of water or have extremely low water pressure, please contact the City of Longview’s Water and Sewer Emergency phone number at 903-236-3030. If your water pressure is just lower than normal, but is adequate to carry out your daily routine, please be patient, as this pressure drop will likely be a short period of time. Water pressure should return to normal after flushing has been terminated in your area.

Q. I have discolored water. What do I do?
A.
Flush toilets, bathtubs, and faucets until your water clears. If it doesn’t clear with minor indoor flushing, please contact the City of Longview’s Water and Sewer Emergency number at 903-236-3030, so that they can determine whether additional flushing in your area is warranted.

Q. My water has a strong chlorine smell. What’s going on?
A.
A chlorine smell is very normal during the conversion period, as the disinfectant is transitioning from chloramines to free chlorine. Chlorine concentrations maintained during the conversion will be well within the TCEQ and EPA standards and will be entirely safe to consume and use as normal.

Q. My clothing has been stained in the laundry process. What do I do?
A
. Please contact the City of Longview’s Water and Sewer Emergency number at 903-236-3030 immediately. They will perform additional flushing to clear the water. Before washing additional loads of clothing, flush water in your sinks or bathtubs to ensure that your water has cleared. This will prevent staining of clothing moving forward.

Q. I have a fish tank. How will it affect my fish?
A. Processes in place to remove chloramines in the water will remove free chlorine. No change or adjustment should be needed. However, the City of Longview suggests that you contact your equipment supplier with questions. Remember that the “free chlorine conversion” process will only take place for thirty (30) days. This process should only be of concern if you are adding water to the fish tank or changing the water in the tank.