Disinfection with Chloramines

While Chloraminated Water is Safe, Three Groups Should Take Special Precautions When Using Chloraminated Water
In August 2015, the City of Hagerstown, the Town of Smithsburg, the Town of Funkstown, and the Town of Williamsport will embark on a modification of their current water treatment process. The new process will involve switching the disinfectant from chlorine to chloramines in order to comply with new federal regulatory standards.

What are chloramines?
Chloramine is a type of disinfectant used by many water utilities across the United States to remove bacteria and other germs that may be harmful to personal health. Chloramines is a combination of both chlorine and ammonia.

Why change to chloramines?
To comply with regulations, the use of chloramines is one of the more practical disinfectant alternatives to chlorine. Chloramines will provide a higher quality drinking water because it lasts longer in the distribution system and produces less chlorinous taste and odor concerns.

Are chloramines safe to use?
Chloraminated water is safe for drinking, cooking, bathing, and for all other general uses. However, as with chlorine, precautions must be taken to remove or neutralize chloramines during the kidney dialysis process, for businesses requiring highly processed water, and fish tanks and

Kidney Dialysis Patients
Specialized Businesses
Fish, Pond, and
Amphibian Owners
As with chlorine, chloramines must be removed from water used in kidney dialysis machines. During the process, water comes in contact with blood across a permeable membrane.

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Businesses using water for food or beverage manufacturing, commercial laundering operations, laboratory procedures, seafood handling or any other processes should carefully monitor their current filtration system and treatment process. For guidance with the conversion, businesses should contact their equipment supplier, manufacturers, or product suppliers.

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As chloraminated water passes through gills it directly enters the bloodstream of fish, amphibians, and reptiles. Chloramines are harmful because they bind to iron in red blood cells and reduce their capacity to carry oxygen. Chloramines are toxic to both fresh and salt water fish, reptiles, and amphibians and cannot be removed by boiling water, adding salt or letting water stand in an open container to dissipate. Chloramines can only be neutralized or removed with specific treatment products found in most pet supply stores. Aquarium and pond owners should carefully monitor the ammonia concentration in addition to chlorine.

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