Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

LADWP almost done switching to drinking water that's less hazardous, tastes better

The headquarters for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
The headquarters for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
Photo by Michael Chen via Flickr Creative Commons

Listen to

Download this 0MB

This week, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will switch over the last of the city’s neighborhoods to drinking water that tastes better and is potentially less harmful.

When the switch is complete, all of LA’s drinking water will be disinfected with the chemical compound chloramine, instead of the chlorine that’s been used for decades. 

"You have to have a disinfectant to make sure that treatment was completely effective," says Marty Adams, DWP's Director of Water Operations. "Then you also want to carry that disinfectant through the system, to make sure that you don’t want any growth through the pipes, so that the water’s clean through the very last customer."

Chlorine fell out of favor after scientists discovered that it can produce toxic byproducts when it comes in contact with materials used in reservoirs and pipes. DWP has been gradually phasing in chloramine-treated water around the city. Adams says the final piece of the project to come on line is the San Fernando Valley.

"Customers should notice nothing except an improvement in taste," Adams says. 

Adams says chloramine has a better taste and smell, and works longer than chlorine. So far, he says, DWP has heard no complaints from customers.