DC-area water system starting ‘spring cleaning’ early

Spring is coming early for one drinking water system, with impacts on the District, Arlington County and Fairfax County.

Starting Monday, Feb. 20, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin a months-long annual Washington Aqueduct treatment.

Until May 15, the water’s usual treatment will be swapped out for chlorine to ensure that area homes, businesses and schools have access to clean water — all coming from the Potomac River.

A release from Arlington County said the change was made so that a reservoir rehabilitation project could be completed.

Residents in those jurisdictions may notice fire hydrants flowing at the curb as part of the treatment and a change to the taste and smell of tap water.

If you happen to grab some tap water during this time and notice a chlorine smell or taste coming from the line, the city said you can run cold water for about two minutes, use a filter system or just let the water sit in a container for an hour or two. The smell and taste should eventually go away.

Anyone who uses a filter to remove water cleaners like chloramine from their tap water throughout the year can keep using their filtering methods. Customers can also ask a doctor if any health concerns arise.

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for WTOP.com. Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

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