Disinfectants blamed for reports of smelly water in Houston

HOUSTON – A higher concentration of normal disinfectants in Houston’s water system is causing an odor that has some people concerned, according to officials.

According to Houston Public Works, a blend of chlorine and ammonia, called chloramine, are used to clean surface water. Only chlorine is used to clean groundwater. Where these two water sources carrying these disinfectants combine is causing the stink.

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“This is a harmless odor that we try to avoid in our water system, but right now Houston Water is disinfecting the drinking water at higher concentrations in response to last week’s water emergency,” Carol Haddock, director of Houston Public Works.

Officials said the disinfectants are being reduced to normal concentrations, which should reduce the smell in two to three days.

Anyone who has concerns about their water can call 311 or go to houstontx.gov/311.