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Archived News Release from 2003

For Immediate Release

Planned Date for Switchover to Chloramine as Water Disinfectant Changed to February, 2004

Redwood City, CA - September 12, 2003 - The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) announced that the date for the conversion to chloramine as the residual drinking water disinfectant has been changed to February 2004. The changeover was originally scheduled for late fall of this year; however the SFPUC (which provides drinking water to a number of local jurisdictions including Redwood City) determined that a February changeover made more sense, and offered the least potential impact on local water agencies.

Converting to chloramine will allow the SFPUC to provide water that meets the stringent drinking water standards for disinfection byproducts, specifically the federal and state Disinfectant/Disinfection Byproducts Rule (D/DBP Rule). Chloramine, a combination of chlorine and ammonia, is a more stable disinfectant, lasts longer in water, produces lower levels of disinfection byproducts called trihalomethanes (a possible carcinogen), and may improve taste and odor.

The SFPUC conducted a feasibility and risk assessment study of potential conversion dates. The study confirmed that a February 2004 date was the optimal time for a number of reasons including: greater system flexibility to reliably meet water supply and demand; adequate time to optimize the operation of three new chemical facilities currently being constructed to support the chloramine conversion; and, increased readiness of operating staff of the SFPUC and 29 wholesale customers for the conversion.

When surveyed, the 29 wholesale customers of the SFPUC that are represented by the Bay Area Water Users Association stated a preference for a February 2004 conversion date. The SFPUC’s outreach effort includes distribution of materials translated into primary languages spoken within the SFPUC's service area. Information on the conversion is being disseminated via web site, telephone information line, mailings and articles, and television, radio, and print advertising.

As with chlorine, those using water for kidney dialysis, fish and amphibian tanks, and sensitive industrial/biotechnology uses must take precautions prior to using the water. Chloramine must be neutralized or removed for those purposes. More than one-third of the country's water agencies have already switched to chloramine from chlorine as a final disinfection agent. In the Bay Area, these agencies include the East Bay Municipal Utility District, Santa Clara Valley Water District, Contra Costa Water District, Alameda County Water District, and the Marin Municipal Water District.

More information is available at or from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission at 415-554-3289. Visit Redwood City’s website at for information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, City government, and local business.

Contact: Manny Rosas
Public Works Superintendent
(650) 780-7468


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