Aspen alters treatment of drinking water |

Aspen alters treatment of drinking water

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The city of Aspen water department is switching from chlorine gas to liquid chlorine bleach, which officials say is a much safer substance to use in disinfecting drinking water.

“Basically, our overall threat level has gone down from high ‘orange’ to a low ‘green’ based on the Homeland Security threat levels,” said Charles Bailey, treatment supervisor, in a city announcement of the change. “This might seem like a pretty minor thing, but the water department had to go through a lot of training and work to make this happen. The community is safer as a result.”

Last week, the final ton of chlorine gas was hauled away from the water treatment facility site, located on Castle Creek Road. Chlorine gas, if released, is heavier than air and will sink to low-lying areas. If it comes into contact with moist tissues such as the eyes, throat, and lungs, an acid is produced that can damage tissues.

The water treatment industry has found that it can safely deliver, store and use chlorine bleach at 10 percent strength (household bleach is 6 percent) as the federally mandated, primary disinfectant in drinking water, Bailey explained. Staffers at the water department will remain trained on how to respond to chlorine gas-related emergencies.

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