Are they safe? The most common chemicals in the US used to treat and disinfect water before it reaches consumers are chlorine and chloramines – approximately 99% of U.S. municipal water. Both chlorine and chloramines are safe for human consumption at the low levels they are found in drinking water.
They can be an irritant for certain individuals who are sensitive to changes in their water chemistry and unsafe for individuals that use dialysis. These disinfectants are also dangerous to certain pets, including fish, reptiles, amphibians and other animals that absorb water directly into the bloodstream.
- Highly effective for removing bacteria, viruses, and parasites
- Chlorine can have a “swimming pool” taste and odor
- May be unsafe for sensitive consumers and animals
- Doesn’t treat microorganisms such as Cryptosporidium or Giardia – ultrafiltration required
What Is It?
Chlorine is an effective toxic biocide which eliminates bacterial, viral and parasitic contaminants from the water. It is also used in swimming pools, insecticides and in a wide variety of consumer products.
Why Is It Not Used?
Chlorine is added during the municipal water treatment process and destroys microorganisms by entering the cell wall and disrupting the metabolism of the cell. Since its widespread adoption, there has been a dramatic reduction in the rates at which waterborne illnesses are spread.
Chlorine is most associated as having a “swimming pool” taste and odor that some find unpleasant.
Other harmful microorganisms that form cysts, such as cryptosporidium and giardia, do not allow for chlorine to pass through the cell therefore are not affected. These microorganisms must be removed by ultrafiltration.
- Chloramines are formed when ammonia is added to chlorine in water
- They are more stable and long-lasting, and used for customers further from a utility such as in regions prone to drought
- 1 in 5 Americans have water with chloramines in their home
What Are They?
Chloramines are also biocides and are formed when municipalities feed ammonia along with chlorine. They are less effective at hindering biological growth but are more stable and long-lasting than chlorine in water distribution systems.
Why Are They Used?
They are commonly used with chlorine when water needs to travel further before reaching the consumer such as in regions prone to drought. Due to their increase in use, one in five Americans have a municipal water source that contain chloramines.
Utilities also choose chloramines to reduce undesirable, EPA-regulated disinfection byproducts found in chlorine. Water treated with chloramines usually has less of a chlorine taste and odor due to the lower amount of chlorine used.
What Does Your Water Utility Use?
To learn about the water quality of your incoming water, you should request a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) from your municipality. This report will identify if there is a disinfectant in your water, and, if so, which treatments are being used.
Should You remove Chlorine or Chloramines from Your Drinking Water?
- These disinfectants can be an irritant to some and can impact your water’s taste and odor
- They can produce toxic by products, such as trihalomethanes (THMs).
- To have the highest quality and purest water, you should remove these chemicals
Different versions of water filtration systems are available for both chlorine and chloramine. The most effective solution combines ultrafiltration of microscopic particles and cysts from the water along with utilization of a sophisticated carbon cartridge to reduce chlorine and chloramine as it passes through. These two methods combined will provide the highest quality of water in a cost-efficient and low maintenance system.
Exploring Chlorine and Chloramines Reduction Options
Antunes Water offers a variety of systems to remove chlorine and chloramines from your drinking water. Visit our filtration product page to explore options.