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This article explains the use of chloramines, a secondary disinfectant used to treat drinking water.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2013 InspectAPedia.com, All Rights Reserved. Author Daniel Friedman.
This series of articles explains many common water contamination tests for bacteria and other contaminants in water samples. We describe what to do about contaminated water, listing common corrective measures when water test results are unsatisfactory. We include water testing and water correction measures warnings for home owners and especially for home buyers when certain conditions are encountered, with advice about what to do when these circumstances are encountered.
Chloramine disinfectants are used to treat drinking water because of the ability of these chemicals to provide longer-lasting disinfection of drinking water as it moves through water mains and piping between the community water source and the end-using water consumer.
Our photo (left) shows common slime formation inside of a garden hose. Similar slime layers may form inside of water pipes where water is not treated for its prevention.
U.S. EPA Information on Chloramines in Drinking Water
Chloramines in Drinking Water
Chloramines are disinfectants used to treat drinking water. Chloramines are most commonly formed when ammonia is added to chlorine to treat drinking water. The typical purpose of chloramines is to provide longer-lasting water treatment as the water moves through pipes to consumers. This type of disinfection is known as secondary disinfection. Chloramines have been used by water utilities for almost 90 years, and their use is closely regulated. More than one in five Americans uses drinking water treated with chloramines. Water that contains chloramines and meets EPA regulatory standards is safe to use for drinking, cooking, bathing and other household uses.
Public Concerns Regarding Use of Chloramines
Quoting from Drinking Water Issues: Chloramine, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
Thanks to reader Frank A. Marshall, AIA, LEED AP, at SMB&R, an Architecture, Structural Engineering, Interior Design firm in Camp Hill, PA for suggesting the addition of Chloramine drinking water treatment information
Basic water purification procedures that can be used in an emergency areat DRINKING WATER - EMERGENCY PURIFICATION. If community or private wells are back in operating and providing water, do not assume that the water is sanitary and ok to drink until responsible authorities have said so. Even then, local water pipes in a building may be unsanitary and additional cleaning or disinfection may be needed. See WELL CHLORINATION SHOCKING PROCEDURE and See WATER TESTS, CONTAMINANTS, TREATMENT for advice on using a private well for drinking water.
Chloramine testing is provided by a variety of laboratories, including companies who provide tests used by aquarium enthusiasts (chloramine at sufficient concentration and depending on the pH of the water, can injure fish). Before becoming too worried, note that as with any chemical, "the dose makes the poison", and we undestand that Chloramine-T is under study as a treatment to kill bacteria and parasites in koi fish ponds.
Chlorine in water is tested for as hypochlorite (Cl2O2) (bleach solution). We discuss chlorine testing at CHEATING ON WATER TESTS where we detail our procedure to test wellwater for trace levels of chlorine in detail at How to avoid test dishonesty
Chloramine tests in water
Because chloramine remains stable for a longer period in water, and because (sticking around longer) that may permit chlorine molecules to bond with other mateirals, different tests may be appropriate. A test kit that you intend to use to screen water for chlorine should include a test for "total chlorine" not just "free chlorine" because of this binding problem.
Prices for these tests typically run from under $8.00 to $15.00.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Questions & answers or comments about the use of chloramines for water disinfection & treatment.
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Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.