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EPA Approves 2010 Change in Water Treatment for F.C. City System

The means might be changing, but Falls Church City’s water will remain safe to drink.

Following approval today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 3, Washington Aqueduct, Falls Church City Water’s supplier, will begin using sodium hypochlorite to disinfect its drinking water at the Dalecarlia and McMillan water treatment plants according to a report from F.C. City Hall.

The changeover to sodium hypochlorite – the active ingredient in household bleach – from gaseous chlorine will take place this January, and will take about six months to complete.

Sodium hypochlorite, stored and used in its liquid form, will be much easier to use and transport than the gaseous chlorine, said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees the aqueduct.

The $14.8 million project includes the installation of a caustic soda system that will improve control over the pH balance of the water leaving the treatment plants.

According to the Army Corps, there will be no change in the water’s taste, smell and look for the more than one million people served by the Washington Aqueduct system.

The EPA said it will conduct an 18-month long monitoring of the D.C. area water distribution to ensure that the new chemical treatment will not affect system concerns such as pipe corrosion and lead leaching.

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