Columbia water may soon taste different

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COLUMBIA - Columbia's drinking water may have a slight chlorine taste during the summer months. 

The Department of Natural Resources recommended Columbia Water and Light switch from chloramine (chlorine plus ammonia) to the chlorine disinfection process at some point in the year.

They are making the switch because chlorine reduces the nitrification, or corrosion of pipes, caused by the chloramine disinfection method.

"Generally we switch from chloramine to chlorine disinfection during the summer months. We just started today so it may take a little while for people to start noticing that. Some people might notice a chlorine-like taste or smell," Columbia Water and Light spokesperson Connie Kacprowicz said.

Kacprowicz said the water is safe to drink.

She said setting out a pitcher of tap water on the counter or in the refrigerator will help eliminate the taste and smell of chlorine because of an aeration process. This process allows air to circle through the water. 

Columbia Water and Light is also urging people to change any kind of filters they may have on their water in order to avoid any bacteria that may form.  

"Anytime that anyone is using some kind of a filtering device, we always make sure that they follow those manufacturer's guidelines to make sure that they are not introducing anything else into the water," Kacprowicz said. 

She said this new chlorine system is not new to Columbia. Columbia used the chlorine disinfection process from 1904 until several years ago. 

She also said the ammonia in the chloramine system off-set the taste of chlorine in the water, and people in Columbia were used to that taste. She said that is why people may be able to taste the chlorine because they are not used to it. 

"It's very important for our water utility to have that water disinfected all the way from where it's treated at the plant, all through the pipes, and through the faucet until someone drinks it," Kacprowicz said. 

Kacprowicz predicts people will be able to taste the change by sometime this weekend.

Columbia Water and Light will release the 2015 Water Quality Report next week.