FAQ's - Chlorine Burn Out


Annually, the South Granville Water and Sewer Authority (SGWASA) performs a variety of system-wide maintenance activities on the water distribution system to ensure compliance with state and federal water quality standards. One of the proactive maintenance activities  includes changing the water disinfection process for a period, thus reducing the amount of ammonia in the drinking water, while keeping the chlorine at the same level. This practice is commonly known as a “Chlorine Burn Out”.  This helps to ensure a high level of disinfection throughout the distribution system.

How Does This Affect Me?

Customers may notice an increase in chlorine taste and smell. Chlorine levels will be tested throughout the system to ensure the water is safe for all purposes. System flushing may result in some minor discoloration of the water provided to customers.  If water appears discolored, customers should flush faucets for a few minutes. If discoloration persists, contact SGWASA customer service office at (919) 575-3367 or the water treatment plant at (919) 575-3118 weekdays between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm.  

Customers who use SGWASA water in fish aquariums and ponds or for kidney dialysis treatment should continue to remove residual traces of both ammonia and chlorine from the water prior to using it. Fish owners can get more information from their local pet supply stores; kidney dialysis patients should speak with their healthcare providers if they have concerns.

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Why does the chlorine smell stronger?

An increased smell of chlorine is very normal during the conversion period, as the disinfectant is transitioning for chloramines to free chlorine.

Is the water safe to drink during this process?

Yes, the water is safe to drink, and customers can use the water as normal.

Why are the fire hydrants flowing during this process?

Fire hydrants are used to maintain clear water for our customers and to ensure the free chlorine conversion has made it to the far reaches of our distribution system. Flowing of fire hydrants will subside after the termination of this process.

Will flushing of the system occur during this process?

Yes, flushing will occur during this process to remove any discoloration or cloudiness and maintain overall water quality in our distribution system.

What is the current drinking water disinfection method?

The current method of disinfection used by SGWASA is chloramination. Chloramination is the use of both ammonia and chlorine to disinfect water. When added at a carefully controlled level, the ammonia and chlorine react chemically to produce combined chlorine, referred to as chloramines. Chloramines are safe in drinking water and serve as an effective method of disinfection. SGWASA switched from chlorination to chloramination in November 2005.

Who do I contact if I want more information on this topic?

You may contact the SGWASA customer service office at (919) 575-3367 weekdays between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm.