Despite a slight taste of chlorine in some areas, water in Washington is safe to drink and is not contaminated, said Kevin Quaethem, water/wastewater superintendent.

Quaethem stressed that water in the Clay Street tank was disinfected with chlorine because of a maintenance issue and not because of contamination.

The exterior of the tank recently was repainted. During that time, minor work was completed on the tank’s interior.

Any time a maintenance person goes inside a tank, the Department of Natural Resources requires that the tank be disinfected before it’s put back online.

The tank was put back online Nov. 19. Since that time, there have been complaints of water tasting chlorinated in different areas, such as Westridge Drive and in Dawn Valley.

Quaethem said the most affected areas are ones with lower water consumption, mostly in residential areas. City crews have been responding to complaints and flushing lines in affected areas.

“We were hoping the residual would drop and residents wouldn’t be inconvenienced,” Quaethem said.

Because chlorinating water in Washington is not standard, Quaethem said residents are especially “astute” to chlorine in the system.

He noted that chlorine is a natural disinfectant used by numerous cities throughout the area.

“It’s not harmful and won’t hurt anyone. It’s very safe to drink and use as normal,” he said.

Quaethem said the city drained the tank and planned to begin refilling it Friday afternoon.

“Then the always safe and wonderfully tasting water of Washington will be back to normal,” he said.

If there is a lingering taste of chlorine, Queathem said letting cold water run will help dissipate the taste.

If it has not resided after a day or two, people may call public works, 636-390-1030 and the city will respond to flush the line as quickly as possible.