Here's why your Raleigh tap water might taste, smell like chlorine

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- In the coming days, you may notice your tap water is taking on a very distinct taste and smell of chlorine.

Public utilities in Raleigh and surrounding cities are running maintenance on their water lines, switching temporarily to chlorine-only disinfectant.

Before it reaches your kitchen sink, Raleigh Water usually treats your tap water with an ammonia-chlorine combination called chloramines.

"And that produces a disinfectant that is very effective, it stays in the water for a long time and it doesn't have any kind of taste or odor associated with it," said Ed Buchan, Senior Utilities Analyst with Raleigh Water.

The utility switched to a chlorine-only disinfectant at 10 a.m. Tuesday. That different disinfectant can cause the treated water to have a chlorinated smell and taste.

Buchan said with 2,500 miles of water line serving 600,000 customers, you have to keep the system bacteria-free. And that means shocking the system with chlorine for about six weeks every other year.

Those living closest to Raleigh's treatment plants should notice a difference in the next few days, while it could take nearly two weeks for those living farther out, Buchan said.

While the switch can be jarring to your senses, Buchan said it is safe and meets state and federal standards.

Durham is set to make its month-long switch to a chlorine-only disinfectant on Feb. 28; Cary will make the temporary switch on March 1.
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