Stephenson discusses chlorinebased water treatment plant

By Barbie Porter


The city of Frazee recently changed over its water treatment system to one that uses chlorine. 

Water and wastewater treatment plants use the chlorine to disinfect and prevent the spread of disease.

The former water treatment plant utilized iron and manganese removal filter plant. The Department of Health changed regulations and now require cities to take precautionary measures to prevent contamination by using chlorine. Frazee is one of the last municipalities to chlorinate their water. 

Frazee Utilities Superintendent Larry Stephenson said he and the other city employees are adding the lowest amount of chlorine that is possible to the water. Getting the new system to the levels they want does not mean there is an abundance of chlorine, or that the water is not safe to drink, he said. 

“We’ve never had an overage of chlorine,” he said, adding the maximum allowed amount is 4 milligrams per liter. “On average, our testing shows a total of 1.4 (milligrams per liter); 1.6 was our highest.”

Stephenson said some spots are as low as .08 milligrams per liter and the goal is to have a consistent .4 milligrams per liter.

With the amounts so low, why are some residents reporting a chlorine taste or smell? Stephenson explained water has ammonia in it. He said when ammonia and chlorine mix, a chlorine taste is the result. 

If people are sensitive to the taste, the remedy is simple­—fill a jug of water and wait. Warmer air will cause the chlorine to evaporate more rapidly, and if a jug is left open in the refrigerator, the chlorine would evaporate completely in 24 hours.