UPCOMING CHANGE TO DRINKING WATER DISINFECTION METHOD
It is anticipated that by the first of November Worthington Public Utilities (WPU) will begin using chloramines as the primary disinfecting agent throughout our water supply system instead of the free chlorine method currently being used. The primary reason for the change is to match the disinfecting method being used by Lewis & Clark in order to avoid blending issues when we begin receiving water from that system later this year. A secondary benefit is that chloramine disinfection will produce the lowest possible levels of disinfection byproducts (DBP’s) in the system.
Chloramines have been used to treat drinking water in the U.S. for decades. A few local systems currently using chloramine disinfection include the City of Sioux Falls, the City of Luverne and Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water System. Chloramines are formed by mixing chlorine with ammonia and are a more stable form of disinfection than free chlorine and will extend disinfection benefits throughout the water distribution system. For most customers the only noticeable change may be that the water will have less of a chlorine odor or taste.
However, because chloramines are more stable than free chlorine, they cannot be removed from the water by using the same methods used to remove chlorine. This can be a concern for kidney dialysis patients and customers with aquariums.
Dialysis Patients: In the dialysis process, water comes in contact with the blood across a permeable membrane. Chloramines in that water would be toxic, just as chlorine is toxic, and must be removed from water used in kidney dialysis machines. We have been in contact with the local hospital and they are prepared to accommodate the change. Home dialysis patients should consult with their physician.
Aquariums: Chloramine, like chlorine, is toxic to fish and must be removed from water to be used in aquariums. You may not have had to remove chlorine from the water because it dissipates rapidly on its own. This is NOT the case with chloramines. Most aquarium supply store sell dechloraminating agents.
For more information on chloramine disinfection, please refer to the following websites or contact WPU: