Does your tap water taste or smell different? Here's why

D.C. residents from now through May 17 may notice a slight change in the taste and smell of their drinking water due to a chemical change.

The disinfectant in drinking water will temporarily switch from chloramine to chlorine, the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority announced. 

"DC Water purchases treated drinking water from the Washington Aqueduct," the company explains on its website. "Each year, the Aqueduct switches disinfectants from chloramine back to chlorine to clean our  water distribution system and improve water quality. During the temporary switch, DC Water will also conduct system-wide hydrant flushing to enhance water quality. This program is a common practice for many U.S. water systems that normally use chloramine throughout the year."

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the safe use of chlorine and chloramine, according to DC Water. 

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To reduce the taste or smell of chlorine, DC Water recommends:

- Run the cold water tap for two minutes. Run it for five to 10 minutes when water is not used for several hours.

- Refrigerate cold tap water in an open pitcher. Within a few hours, the chlorine taste and odor will disappear.

- Some filters may reduce the chlorine taste and smell. DC Water recommends using devices that are installed at your faucet tap or pitcher-style filters. Use a filter certified to meet NSF standards and replace the filter as recommended by the manufacturer

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For more information, contact the Drinking Water Division at (202) 612-3440 (Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) or 202-612-3400 (24-hour).