Annual Spring Cleaning for Region’s Water Pipes Begins Monday, March 21st

March 21, 2022
  • Routine disinfectant switch begins today, continues until May 9
  • Regional drinking water system meets all Federal and state safety standards
  • Easy steps provided to eliminate any temporary change in water taste

DC Water, along with Arlington County and northeastern Fairfax County, will clean its tap water networks starting today. Water service continues uninterrupted during the process, which runs from March 21 to May 9. During this time, drinking water may smell or taste slightly different.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Washington Aqueduct, water supplier to these utilities, performs the temporary disinfectant switch from chloramine to chlorine. The switch provides an added element that helps clean and maintain the water pipes. Washington Aqueduct continues to add a corrosion inhibitor during the process to reduce the potential for release of lead in service lines.

“DC Water continually monitors drinking water year-round, and during the chlorine switch is no different," said DC Water CEO and General Manager David L. Gadis, “We monitor for safe levels of chlorine and a number of other water quality indicators.”

DC Water also conducts system-wide flushing to enhance water quality during this time. Water utilities systematically flush fire hydrants by opening them up to allow fresh water to flow through the pipes. Crews operating hydrants in this manner are a normal part of this cleaning routine. This process is repeated nearly every spring, in the region and across the nation.

This temporary cleaning often adds a new smell or taste to tap water. If customers opt, they can run the cold water tap for about two minutes, then use a water filter. Or they can fill a pitcher with water from the tap and place it in the refrigerator to remove the chlorine taste and odor.

Customers who take special precautions to remove chloramine from tap water should continue such methods during the temporary switch to chlorine. As always, those with special concerns should consult their health care provider.

Washington Aqueduct is the wholesale water supplier for the District of Columbia, Arlington and northeastern Fairfax County.

For more information, please visit or call 202-612-3440 (Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) or 202-612-3400 (24-hour).