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Utilities director explains month-long chlorine conversion

Utilities Director Arturo Garcia says as they continue cleaning the water lines, they will gather more data from the areas they call “problematic,” and hopefully next time it will take 25 days, instead of 30.
Published: Sep. 11, 2020 at 10:53 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - If you’ve noticed the water smelling a bit different, that’s because the city has been cleaning the lines out for about a month now.

But what’s normally a week-long process is taking a bit longer than usual and it’s causing many to wonder, is it safe?

“That seven day period is not effective to reach out through all our system,” said Utilities Director Arturo Garcia Junior. “You see how Laredo has long extensions down 359, and to the south, and down to the north, and down 35 and some of the industrial areas.”

The newly appointed utilities director says distance plays a part in the cleaning process.

He says debris enters our water lines for many reasons like construction work, going through different temperatures, or simply our water lines getting old, and this is why the conversion is necessary to improve the water’s quality.

This will ensure that when people turn on their faucets, no extra stuff comes with it.

“Having chlorine in the water is not something that is tastable and if you let your glass sit in the table, let it dissipate and you won’t taste it.”

He says the level of chlorine they are using should not cause any health problems because it follows TCEQ guidelines.

The city says once you get used to the smell, you won’t notice it. But the director says this can be an inconvenience to people who are not used to it.

“Some people don’t like it, they don’t like the odor that it smells like a swimming pool, but its effective, it is telling me that its getting it out of the system.”

But as time goes by, so does the time life of water lines, some even reaching more than 50 years old.

So far several lines in the downtown area have been replaced.

However due to COVID-19 and less people on the job, these plans have slowed down for a bit.

Garcia says as they continue cleaning the water lines, they will gather more data from the areas they call “problematic," and hopefully next time it will take 25 days, instead of 30.

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