NSU students and staff have expressed some concern over the taste and smell of the water coming out of the university’s taps. This unusual water isn’t just news for NSU — the entire Town of Davie has temporarily returned to using free chlorine as a part of their annual preventative maintenance from the middle of March to the end of April, according to the town’s website.
This routine procedure is common practice for water suppliers that use a chloramine treatment, a disinfectant composed of chlorine and ammonia, and is recommended periodically by the Florida Department of Health. It is regularly practiced once or twice a year, for a two to four week time frame, and returns to normal taste and odor afterward.
Potential health effects of the chlorination process are only listed after long-term exposure above the maximum contaminant level according to the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations. However, the process can create slight variations in color, smell and taste of the water during this time, which have been noticed on campus.
“Recently I’ve noticed that the water has somewhat of a chlorinated taste, as if they’ve added extra chlorine to the water — in the tap and in the shower,” said Luke Dombroski, a freshman political science major. “Even the water at the UC has been noticeably worse tasting, with a slightly chlorine aftertaste.”
Despite the undesirable taste and smell in the water, the NSU community is advised not to be concerned. According to the EPA, chlorine and chloramines are used as a water additive to control microbes.
“Every water management district hyperchlorinates their water in different frequencies, and a few weeks ago I did notice a bit of a taste of chlorine. This is done for preventative measures by the Town of Davie,” said Tony Todaro, associate physical plant director. “They all require that we hyperchlorinate every so often to kill bacteria… It’s well within limits. Our facility across the street has the height of technology, I’ve been through the water treatment plant. It’s state of the art.”
While the water might have an unpleasant taste and smell for the time being, the Town of Davie has a recommendation as to how to remove most of the chlorine. Filling an open pitcher with water and leaving it in the refrigerator should help, as this will cause the chemical to dissipate naturally.
Even though there is no expected impact to humans, some aquatic and marine species may be sensitive to free chlorine. Anyone who has aquariums with sensitive species are advised to speak with specialists or pet supply stores about potentially dechlorinating their water. In addition, people with questions about kidney dialysis should direct their inquiries to their doctor or dialysis expert.
For more information about chlorine or chloramines in the water supply, visit davie-fl.gov or call 954-327-3742.