Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How does the City of Longview treat the drinking water?
A. The City of Longview uses a conventional water treatment process that includes coagulation, sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection. Water treatment chemicals including lime, aluminum sulfate, potassium permanganate, powdered activated carbon, chlorine, ammonia, ozone, chlorine dioxide and fluoride are added to the water to remove impurities, kill harmful bacteria, eliminate tastes and odors, and help prevent tooth decay. All chemicals used are regulated and approved for use in drinking water.

Q. What is the hardness of the Longview water?
A. Water supplied to you is considered soft to moderately hard in the Lake O’ the Pines service area and moderately hard in the Lake Cherokee and Sabine River service areas. What makes water hard is a combination of minerals that are present in nearly all natural waters. The average hardness for water in 2014 from Lake Cherokee is 73.8 mg/L (4.3 grains/gallon), Lake O’ the Pines is 72.8 mg/L (4.3 grains/gallon), and Sabine is 90 mg/L (5.3 grains/gallon).

Q. Why does my water sometimes have a taste and odor?
A. All water has its own unique taste and odor characteristics. The City of Longview, like many other water suppliers, occasionally experiences changes in taste and odor. Algae and bacteria naturally found in surface waters can produce different types of tastes and odors. Geosmin and 2-Methylisoborneol (MIB) have been identified as odor-causing compounds and are detectable at levels as low as five parts per trillion (ppt or nanograms per liter). When conditions are favorable, the bacteria and certain blue-green algae produce a musty or earthy taste and odor. Although these contaminants impart an unpleasant taste and odor, they do not have an established Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) nor pose any known health risks.

Q. Why does my water appear cloudy or milky at times?
A. Cloudy water is often caused by dissolved oxygen being released form the water. Cold water can hold more oxygen than warm water. Water saturated with oxygen will release oxygen as it warms or as the pressure is released. This release makes the water appear milky or cloudy, but it does not affect the safety of the water. The cloudiness usually will disappear in about 30 seconds.

Q. Why does my water sometimes look brown or red?
A. Often your water is discolored because of pipeline breaks and repairs. The color comes from iron or mineral deposits inside the pipe that become dislodged during the repairs. If the color is due to line breaks, run the faucet until the water is clear. If the water does not clear within several minutes, call the water and sewer emergency line at 903-236-3030 for assistance.

Q. What is the white build-up on my faucet strainers?
A. The white build-up is calcium carbonate. Lime is added to the water to adjust the pH to
provide a stable water to prevent premature corrosion of the distribution system. This calcium carbonate product places a protective film that coats the inside of the water pipes much like the paint on your car or house protects the metal or wood. When there is a change in flow or the water usage increases in the pipeline, calcium carbonate build-up may break off and enter the water stream. Calcium carbonate may accumulate in the water heater or sink faucet strainers. To alleviate this problem, you can flush the lower drain system on your water heater or rinse off the deposits on the sink faucet strainer.

Q. Does Longview fluoridate the water?
A. The City of Longview adds fluoride to the water based on a recommendation from the Texas Department of Health. Fluoridated water assists in preventing tooth decay. The target dosage for fluoride is 0.8 mg/L.

Q. How do you know the water is safe to drink?
A. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) requires surface water treatment plants to continuously monitor the turbidity of the water and the chlorine residual at the plant. Distribution system samples are taken daily and analyzed for chlorine. In addition, eighty-two samples are also taken every month at designated locations throughout the City and analyzed for total coliform bacteria. These types of bacteria are naturally present in the environment and are used as an indicator that other potentially harmful bacteria may be present. Should the City detect a coliform bacteria positive during routine samples, an extensive flushing and disinfection procedures are performed and additional samples are taken and analyzed to ensure that no bacteria exist in the distribution system. When the samples are clear, the distribution system is placed back into normal operation.