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Free chlorine is a disinfectant that is used on a temporary basis to remove any residual bacteria and viruses that may be in the water distribution system. Free chlorine is the use of chlorine- only, which is a stronger disinfectant that chloramines which is a combined chlorine.
In order to disinfect and kill germs and other contaminates, Stafford County adds chloramines to the water throughout the year. Every few years, Stafford switches to “free chlorine” to do a deep cleaning of all water mains throughout the drinking water distribution system to assure there is no bacterial growth once the water has left the treatment plant.
Yes, free chlorine is safe and effective. Stafford County’s water quality has met or surpassed every state and federal requirement that safeguards public health. Stafford County monitors water quality regularly to provide residents with safe drinking water. Click here to view the latest Water Quality Report
Some people are more sensitive than others to chemicals. Individuals who have health concerns should seek medical advice from their healthcare providers.
The length of this temporary process of “free chlorine conversion” will be approximately 30 days. Crews will continue the system-wide flush for an additional 30 days after the “free chlorine conversion” ends. In 2021 - The free chlorine conversion will take place from March 15 - April 16, 2021.
Some people may notice a slight change in the taste or odor of their water during the flushing period
When a hydrant is opened, there will always be temporary incidences of discolored water containing fine sediment particles making the water appear brown or rust-colored. In addition, fine air bubbles may be introduced into the water giving it a milky appearance. There is no health hazard associated with discolored water. Allow a few hours for discoloration to dissipate. To verify the water has settled, allow your cold water tap to run a few minutes. If the discoloration persists for more than six hours, please contact Stafford’s Department of Public Works at (540) 658-8695.
Virginia Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention