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Change in disinfectant of water for several Central Texas suppliers may cause 'bleach' smell, different taste

The change will impact the water supply going to several different cities.

BELL COUNTY, Texas — If you live in Bell or Coryell Counties and you notice your water smells like bleach or tastes different, it is because the Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 (BCWCID1) will temporarily change the disinfectant in its water treatment process.

This comes after a city-wide boil water notice was issued for Killeen due to its water samples being below Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) guidelines.

The conversion is in partnership with TCEQ. It will change from chloramines (chlorine and ammonia) to free chlorine over the next 30 days until Nov. 22.

BCWCID1 provides water service to Belton, Copperas Cove, Killeen, Harker Heights, Nolanville, 439 Water Supply Corporation and the Fort Hood Military Reservation. These areas will be undergoing the chlorine conversion.

The reason the TCEQ is suggesting 30 days is so that the disinfectant works "throughout the far reaches of the system," starting at the water treatment plant, a BCWCID1 news release said Thursday.

"Disinfection is a critical part of the water treatment process that keeps drinking water free of harmful microorganisms, such as parasites and viruses," BCWCID1 said.

TCEQ said afterward, it will re-evaluate water levels to determine if a boil water order can be lifted, which can only be done if it meets the required guideline level for 24 hours and tests free of bacteria.

Earlier, the City of Killeen announced it will be offering water bottles to residents who do not have the ability to boil their own water. Additionally, the city said it will provide daily updates about this situation.

The City of Copperas Cove put out its own news release saying the change will also affect the city's wholesale customers, including Central Texas Community College, Topsey Watter Supply Corporation and the Cedar Grove Manufactured Home Park.

The release said the disinfectant conversion was "completely safe and a standard practice throughout Texas and the USA for public water systems."