My water smells of chemicals or bleach. Are there a lot of chemicals or extra chlorine in the water? - Questions & Answers

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My water smells of chemicals or bleach. Are there a lot of chemicals or extra chlorine in the water?

The answer is no. Chemicals such as chlorine are always kept at within safe and regulated levels. The chlorine is maintained in HCWA’s distribution system from 0.2 to 2.5 mg/l which is about half of the maximum allowable level. (Household bleach for example is 50,000 mg/l chlorine.) Any noticeable smells and even tastes can be from a number of possible sources:

  1. The chlorine within the water can react with odors already in the air, in the drain or even on plumbing fixtures. Chlorine itself has no odor, but when it comes in contact with any organic material, it will react and give the characteristic bleachy smell. Try smelling unscented bleach in the jug (little to no odor). Then, put a drop on your index finger and smell (bleach). This is caused by a chemical reaction with your skin (an organic substance). Remedy this by cleaning sinks and drains and running enough water to diminish the smells.
  2. Chemical smells can also come from a garden hose that is connected to the house. If this hose has water left in it, the water can make its way back into the house by reverse pressure or back siphonage and effect the taste and/or odor of the water in the house.  It can also affect the taste of and ice within the household freezer. Remedy this by keeping the hose disconnected when not in use or by installing a backflow device specifically designed for hose connections.

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Henry County Water Authority | 1695 Highway 20 West | McDonough, GA 30253 | Phone (770) 957-6659 | Fax (678) 583-2466