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‘Spring cleaning’ for your pipes? Here’s why your tap water might smell funny until May

If you live in the District or Northern Virginia, your water might start to smell funny on Monday. That’s because of an annual change to the water purification process — a sort of “spring cleaning” for your pipes.

The Washington Aqueduct, which is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and serves D.C., Arlington County and northeastern Fairfax County, will adjust their water treatment process starting Monday.  The disinfectant chloramine — which is used year-round — will be temporarily swapped out with chlorine.

The purification process is expected to last until May 6.

This process happens every year to make sure water mains are clean and flowing smoothly, Virginia’s Arlington County said in a .

Service will not be interrupted during this process, but customers might notice that their tap water tastes and smells different. This water is still safe to drink and use as normal, according to county officials, and staff will be monitoring the chlorine levels to ensure they’re up to standard.

To combat any chlorine smell or taste coming from your tap, the county recommends running the cold-water line for five to 10 minutes. Alternatively, residents can install a filter system or let the water sit in a container for an hour or two.

Any customers who take special precautions to filter chloramine out of their tap water during the rest of the year should keep up with these methods during the switch to chlorine, the county said. Those with health concerns are advised to contact their doctors.

Residents can also expect to see open fire hydrants as part of the water purification routine. The county said it’s possible that the process of flushing these fire hydrants can lead to discolored water, which might stain clothes being washed in nearby homes.

Flushing will occur from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The county encouraged residents doing laundry during this window to “plan ahead” — it will also provide a special detergent to remove these stains upon request. Residents with questions can call 703-228-5000 for more information.

This “spring cleaning” for your pipes comes amid questions that you could be drinking so-called forever chemicals from your tap.

Ƶapp’s Sandy Kozel contributed to this report.

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Kate Corliss

Kate Corliss is a Digital Writer/Editor for Ƶapp.com. She is a senior studying journalism at American University and serves as the Campus Life Editor for the student newspaper, The Eagle.

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