Tulsa, Okla. - The City of Tulsa and the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority (TMUA) have begun the process of treating the City’s drinking water with chlorine and chloramine in an effort to meet new, stricter Environmental Protection Agency regulations and to ensure Tulsans continue to have access to the highest quality water.
City water officials tell KRMG the conversion to chloramine will be complete by the end of July. Because of the nature of the City’s water distribution process, individual residences will receive the water at different times.
Before this change, the City has used only chlorine as its primary and secondary disinfectants in the water system. Chlorine will still be used as the primary disinfectant at the water treatment plant and chloramine will now be used as the secondary disinfectant in the water distribution system, as chloramine provides longer-lasting protection as water travels through the pipes.
Chloramine has been used by municipal water suppliers for more than 90 years and is already used by many cities in the region, including Oklahoma City, Norman, Sand Springs, Denver, Dallas, Fort Worth and St. Louis. Chloramine is formed when trace amounts of ammonia are added to chlorine.
The City claims that using chloramine will allow Tulsa to meet the EPA’s new, mandatory Stage 2 Disinfection Byproducts Rule, which went into effect in 2012. The City of Tulsa could be financially penalized if it is not in compliance with EPA regulations.
In preparation for the conversion, the City has taken special efforts to educate water users about the change.
Dialysis providers, fish suppliers and the public have been notified through direct mailings, utility bill stuffers and public meetings more than 12 months prior to the planned conversion. Chloramine, like chlorine, must be removed from the water before being used in dialysis machines or being added to fish tanks or ponds. Regular workshops were held for communities who buy water from Tulsa.
Bob Bledsoe with the City of Tulsa tells KRMG that people can call the city's Customer Care Center at 918-596-9511 to document any mechanical or health issues they experience which they believe might be attributable to chloramine.