DNR, Foxfire Utilities urge Spring Branch Subdivision residents to flush water lines to remove potential high chlorine levels

For more information: 573-751-1010
Volume 37-408 For Immediate Release: Oct. 30, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. -- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Foxfire Utilities, which operates the drinking water supply serving Spring Branch Subdivision, is urging residents to flush their drinking water lines in their home for 10 to 15 minutes to help remove any remaining high chlorine levels.

Spring Branch Subdivision is located in Benton County. DNR is working with Foxfire Utilities to provide public notices to customers to notify them of high chlorine levels found in their drinking water supply. If customers have specific health concerns they should consult their doctor regarding this notice. People with severely compromised immune systems, infants and some elderly may be at increased risk and should seek advice about drinking the water from their health care providers.

DNR staff were on-site yesterday to assist the water system with correcting the situation. The water system discontinued chlorination practices, and flushed the distribution thoroughly to reduce high chlorine levels. Chlorine levels were returned to lower levels in the afternoon of Oct 29. The water system then turned the chlorination system back on, and will monitor chlorine residuals more closely to maintain acceptable chlorine levels.

DNR conducted an investigation based on a concern received from a resident on Oct. 29. During the investigation, department staff discovered the drinking water at Spring Branch Subdivision exceeded 8.8 mg/l total chlorine. Spring Branch Subdivision is required to routinely monitor the drinking water for chlorine disinfectant levels. The maximum residual disinfectant level for water in the distribution system cannot be above 4.0 mg/l as a running annual average of monthly averages computed quarterly. DNR staff also discovered during the investigation that the utility company's water system staff were not conducting the water tests properly, so it is unknown how long the chlorine residuals were high.

Chlorine is added to drinking water as a part of the disinfection process. Disinfection of drinking water is important to kill and prevent potentially harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites. However, high chlorine levels can cause a variety of hazards. Some people who use drinking water containing chlorine well in excess of the maximum residual disinfectant level could experience irritating effects to their eyes and nose.