From April 10 through May 14, Sarasota County drinking water system to undergo different cleaning process

‘Free’ chlorine to be used, instead of mix of chlorine and ammonia

Because the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority has initiated a cleaning process for its own drinking water system as well as those of its partners, Sarasota County staff will be working on the county’s system from Monday, April 10, through Sunday, May 14, county staff announced this week.

Sarasota County purchases more than half of its drinking water from the Authority, a news release points out. In its 2021 report to county Public Utilities Department customers, staff noted that 65% of the county’s water came from the Authority that year.

In a December 2022 update to the county commissioners about the county’s water demand projections for the coming years, staff wrote in a memo that the Peace River Authority provides the county “an average supply of up to 15.06 MGD [million gallons per day].”

In 2021, that memo pointed out, the county requested an extra 1.5 mgd from the Authority starting in 2028. “[The 2022] demand projection has Sarasota County requesting an additional allocation of 2.5 MGD, beginning in the year 2029, from the Authority,” the memo said.

The upcoming cleaning of the county’s water distribution system is a common practice to temporarily disinfect drinking water with just chlorine, instead of the county’s normal process of using chlorine combined with ammonia, the news release explains. “This process will last approximately 35 days. This process meets all federal and state standards for drinking water,” the release adds.

“While this cleaning process will allow chlorine to move through the water distribution system and may cause a change in the taste, smell, and color of your water, the water will be completely safe to drink,” the release points out, with emphasis. “Should you experience these temporary changes, you should flush your plumbing system by running faucets until the water runs clear; however, boiling water is not necessary,” the release adds.

The county website explains, “This is the first time this [free chlorine conversion] process has been conducted in Sarasota County as it is so interconnected with other local governments that receive water from the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Authority.”

The website also notes, “The City of Venice and the City of Sarasota already use free chlorine as their primary disinfectant method.

“Pinellas County and DeSoto County also do conversions annually,” as they have chloramine systems comparable to Sarasota County’s system.

“While your water will be completely safe throughout this process, customers on kidney dialysis who use a proportioning machine to prepare dialysate at home are advised to contact their physician or equipment supplier out of an abundance of caution to obtain the appropriate steps to accommodate the change in water disinfection, and to install the proper filtering devices, if needed,” the release recommends.

“Customers using the water for aquariums should continue to use the common practice of monitoring the chlorine residuals,” the release further notes.

Customers also should check for discolored water before placing clothes in their washing machines, the release says.

The county website further points out that the Public Utilities Department “will be actively flushing fire hydrants and checking for water quality throughout the process.”

Anyone who wants to know more about the chlorine conversion process may visit this link or call 311.