Richardson officials are notifying residents that water will remain safe to drink and use despite a potential stronger taste or smell of chlorine in tap water.

The North Texas Municipal Water District, Richardson's water supplier, is conducting its annual chlorine maintenance period on its water transmission system and member cities’ distribution systems in the city until April 3. The NTMWD treatment, which began March 6, is both a water system maintenance function as well as a water conservation measure that helps optimize drinking water quality and reduce the amount of hydrant flushing necessary during the warm weather months, according to city officials.

“Protection of public health and keeping our water safe is a top priority,” said Zeke Campbell, NTMWD assistant director for water treatment and conveyance, in a statement. “This common maintenance practice is an essential step in our advanced year-round treatment and disinfection process, and does not increase the amount of chlorine in the system. The water remains safe to drink and use every day, and we continue to meet or surpass safe drinking water standards.”

According to city officials, water disinfected with chloramine—a compound containing chlorine and ammonia—is safe for drinking, cooking, bathing and everyday use. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization have determined that chloramine is a safe disinfectant and that water disinfected with chloramine within regulatory standards has no known or expected adverse health effects. Disinfection of drinking water is critical to protecting consumers from disease-causing microorganisms, called pathogens, including bacteria or viruses. Chloramine is an effective disinfectant and persists over a long period of time, particularly in areas with high temperatures, according to NTMWD officials.

In addition to the annual test, the NTMWD and its 13 member cities continuously test and monitor water quality throughout the year to ensure the water is safe to drink.