MAPLEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Something is in the water in several New Jersey towns, and it doesn’t pass the smell test.

Unfortunately, the problem will linger for several weeks.

As CBS2’s Emily Smith reported, major water supplier, New Jersey American Water, wants Union County residents to know it’s going to smell like swimming pool water for a short period of time.

“They may see a change in the taste and odor to the water,” said New Jersey American Water senior director Anthony Matarazzo.

The change is expected to last 30 to 60 days, and happens once a year to help flush the pipelines of any potential bacteria. That means putting a higher dose of chlorine in the water versus the standard chlorine and ammonia mix that is less potent.

“We turn up the chlorine a little higher. We do it in the winter when water is the coldest. Cold water inhibits biological activities, so we can get away with using the lowest dose of chlorine possible,” Matarazzo said.

One resident said he doesn’t mind the chlorine smell because he never drinks it.

“There’s no discernible sulfur taste or smell. It just doesn’t ever taste right,” Duncan Rogers said.

The Deputy Mayor of Maplewood, Kathy Leventhal, said she has a high tech water filter so she won’t be dealing with the swimming pool smell.

“I don’t notice it in the taste either, but I am from New York so when I moved here I did notice the difference in the taste. There’s nothing like New York water,” she said.

Experts said not to waste time boiling water which helps with bacteria issues, not chemical reduction.

If the temporary smell is bothersome keeping water in the fridge overnight, uncovered, can help chlorine dissipate and reduce odor.

Maplewood Health Officer Robert Roe monitors situations like this and assured residents that it safe to drink water directly out of the tap, whether it smells and tastes like chlorine or not.

“I am pleased. They are concentrating and taking care of their water supply lines,” Roe said.

In larger doses drinking chlorine can be extremely toxic but, when added safely by licenses professionals it’s the most effective way to assure safe drinking water makes its way from the facility to your home, officials said.

Officials said the extra chlorine in the water is also safe for your pets to drink.


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