M.U.D. changed the water disinfection process at its water treatment plants January 21, 2003 to ensure your drinking water continues to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for safe drinking water.
The change positions us to meet future drinking water standards.
Previously, we used chlorine for both primary and secondary disinfection in the water treatment process to guard against bacterial growth in the distribution system.
Like many other communities, we experienced elevated levels of trihalomethanes (THMs) with chlorine as a disinfectant.
THMs are a suspected carcinogen (cancer-causing agent), created in small amounts as a by-product when natural organics in water combine with chlorine.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lowered the standard to 80 parts per billion January 1, 2002, as the maximum level of THMs allowed in drinking water.
Our treated water averaged 74 parts per billion. The District may have exceeded the new standard on occasion with only chlorine as a disinfectant.
The EPA recommends chloramines as a disinfectant and as a way to avoid THM formation. Chloramines insure water remains bacteria-free for a longer time period than chlorine.
With chloramines, we expect the THM level to average 40 parts per billion.
Chlorine continues to be the primary disinfectant. Chloramines are used for secondary disinfection.
Estimated costs to use chloramines are $3.7 million for capital improvements and $200,000 per year for operation costs.
Chloramines, a combination of chlorine and ammonia, are used to kill potentially harmful bacteria in the water.
Approximately 20 percent of water supply systems in the U.S., including Council Bluffs and Lincoln, use chloramine as a disinfection agent. Click here for a list of U.S. cities that use chloramine.
Yes. Chloramines have been used safely in the U.S. and Canada for many years. EPA recommends chloramines as a disinfectant. If not for disinfectants in drinking water, disease-causing organisms such as typhoid and cholera could be carried in your drinking water.
CHLORAMINATED WATER IS SAFE FOR EVERYONE TO DRINK, including:
Chloraminated water is safe for all warm-blooded animals, including humans, to drink because the digestive process neutralizes the chloramine before it reaches the bloodstream. (Chloraminated water is not safe for cold-blooded animals. See fish section below.)
In fact, consumers in cities with chloraminated water report the water tastes better because it has less of a chlorine odor or taste.
Chloraminated water also is safe for bathing, cooking and all uses we have for water every day.
It ranges from two to three milligrams per liter.
The amount of chloramine is extremely small. If you are concerned that even a low concentration may cause problems for you, check with your physician.
Centers and hospitals providing kidney dialysis, individuals and businesses maintaining fish tanks, and some laboratories and businesses with processes affected by drinking water disinfection agents had to change their pretreatment steps to remove chloramine.
In the dialysis process, water comes in contact with the blood across a permeable membrane. Chloramine in dialysis water is toxic, just as chlorine in dialysis is toxic.
Chlorine and chloramine must be removed from the water used in kidney dialysis machines. There are two ways to remove these disinfectants:
Medical centers that perform dialysis are responsible for treating the water that enters dialysis machines. We notified all medical facilities to treat the water to remove chloramine, just as they do for chlorine.
Home dialysis service companies usually make the modifications needed, however you should check with your equipment supplier and/or physician.
Chloraminated water is safe for kidney dialysis patients to drink. If you have any questions, please consult your physician.
Chloramine is toxic to cold-blooded animals, such as fish, because it passes through the gills of the fish or the skin of the reptile, and directly enters the bloodstream.
Fish tank and pond owners, including zoos, hobbyists, restaurants, fish markets, grocery stores with lobster tanks and bait shops with fish containers, must have appropriate filtration equipment or use water treatment products to neutralize chloramine.
Chloraminated water should be treated before it is added to your tank, aquarium, pond or goldfish bowl. Carbon filters on your tank may not remove chloramine from the tap water that is added directly to your tank.
Chloramine will not dissipate from boiling or holding water in open, standing containers.
Bottled water may have chloramines in it because some bottlers use tap water for their product. Check the label.
According to Todd Kallhoff, owner of The Pond Guy, all ponds need a biological filter to remove the ammonia via the nitrogen cycle. De-chlorinators are not necessary unless pond owners increase their pond's water capacity by more than 5 percent at one time.
Tests should ensure the pH, or acidity and alkalinity levels are in the neutral range of 5.6 to 7.4.
No. You still will need a free chlorine residual to retard algae and bacteria growths. Contact your local pool supply stores for specific information.
The chloramine in the water is not be dangerous because the concentration of these materials is much smaller than it would be if you accidentally mixed the chemicals. Also, because chloramine is dissolved into the water, it is not available to the air as a gas.
Any activated carbon water filter removes chloramine just as it removes chlorine. However, consult your manufacturer for specific information.
No. It continues to be about 9.
We know of no evidence that chloramine offers more protection against Legionella.
Chloramine residual does not dissipate as readily as free chlorine. Chloramine does not dissipate from boiling. Therefore, it stays in the water longer.
Free ammonia, if any, will not be a significant factor in copper pipe corrosion.
Water enters sanitary sewers that flow to the sewage treatment plants. Chloramine is neutralized or "used up" before it gets to the sewage treatment plants by a combination of time and the amount of bacteria (organic matter) in the sewage. Sewage plants add chlorine in their treatment process and are limited in the amount of chlorine that can be discharged into streams.
The small amount of chloramine should have no effect on plants of any type. Beneficial bacteria generally will be protected by the soil in which they live. Chloramine is removed by the high chlorine demand in the soil.
Information provided by the American Water Works Association Research Foundation.