WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The City of Haysville launched a new water treatment system this week to lower copper levels in its water supply. Here’s how the treatment works:

The orthophosphate treatment now being used by Haysville will add a protective layer to the inside of pipes to keep copper from eroding into the water supply. It was launched Wednesday and will continue to be used indefinitely.

Some residents expressed concern about the change on social media, but the City says the treatment is safe.

A few years ago, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment submitted its yearly analysis of water in Kansas cities.

“In 2020, we were informed by them that our copper exceeded the action level,” said Tony Martinez, public works director for Haysville.

That means Haysville had more copper in its water supply than is allowed.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment told Haysville it needed to look into pipe corrosion in its water system and find a way to treat it.

The City landed on orthophosphate as a solution.

“It provides a protective lining on any private and or public water mains,” said Martinez.

That creates a buffer between pipes and the water flowing through them.

“The copper that’s entering our drinking water, it won’t be able to as much with that layer that’s on it,” Martinez said.

But what is orthophosphate?

“It’s similar to the phosphate you’re gonna find in Coca-Cola,” said Alan Oberley, an associate professor of chemistry at Newman University.

Orthophosphate is just plain phosphate, according to Oberley.

“Basically (they’re) releasing just phosphate instead of complex phosphate into the water,” Oberley said.

According to Oberley, the phosphate will take care of heavy metals in the water and prevent health issues from long-term exposure to copper.

For those who are concerned, Oberly said a simple water pitcher filter is enough to get rid of orthophosphates in tap water.