The City of Russell Water Department will conduct a free chlorine burn, also referred to as a free chlorine conversion, for disinfection of the water distribution system beginning August 30, 2021. This process will take four to six weeks. Flushing and chlorine burns are routine distribution system maintenance conducted by utilities that use chloramine disinfection.
Beginning August 30, your water will be disinfected with free chlorine (chlorine only) rather than chloramine (chlorine and ammonia). This conversion to the stronger and faster-acting free chlorine from the longer-lasting chloramines allows the Water Department to cleanse the entire treatment and distribution systems simultaneously. Customers may notice open fire hydrants throughout the City during this period. Hydrant flushing during the free chlorine conversion will ensure that the free chlorine reaches even the most distant connections within the distribution system. At the end of the free burn, the standard chemicals used for disinfections will be reintroduced to the system and return to normal operating conditions. Chlorine burns have immediate treatment benefits and future benefits, helping to prevent water quality issues that some cities face in the hottest months of the year.
Is the Water Safe to Drink? Yes, the water is safe to drink throughout this process, and boiling water is not necessary. You may notice some discoloration or cloudiness in your water. The discoloration and cloudiness are harmless, and fire hydrant flushing should remove most of any colors and odors. If you encounter any of these differences in your water, you may want to let the water run through the tap until it runs clear. Some areas of town may also experience a temporary fluctuation in water pressure or a slight increase in the taste and odor of chlorine.
Why is this burn-out necessary? The City routinely collects samples and monitors the water quality. The Russell Water Department ensures that water in all systems points meets EPA and KDHE standards. Over time minerals and metals, which are naturally present in water sources, can increase and attach to pipes and release when there are changes in pressure, resulting in discoloration, odor, or affected taste. Other processes such as nitrification and the growth of biofilm can also occur in water distribution pipes. The biofilm growth can cause a reduction in the effectiveness of residual disinfectants over time. This free chlorine "burn-out" will help cleanse the lines, reduce the occurrence of nitrification and biofilm, and ensure that we provide quality water for our customers. If you have questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with Rich Krause, Public Works Director, at 785.483.6311
The City of Russell thanks you for your patience and understanding during this period as we work hard today to provide you with quality drinking water tomorrow.