What is Chloramine in Water?

If you are on city water, it is likely your water is treated with a disinfectant.  It is common for municipalities to use chlorine and it is what homeowners will smell when they turn on their faucet.  There is a new disinfectant that some municipalities are using and it’s chloramines.  What are they?  Why are they being used?

What are chloramines?
Chloramines are the combination of chlorine and ammonia used to disinfect water.  This type of disinfectant has been used dating back to the 1930’s.  The EPA estimated in 1998 some 68 million Americans were using water with chloramines.  The main purpose of using chloramines is to provide long-lasting protection when water travels through piping since chloramines don’t break down or dissipate as quickly as other disinfectants such as chlorine.

How do I know if I have chloramines in my water?
To find out if your water supplier is using chloramines, request a Consumer Confidence Report or search online at the US EPA’s website.

Why is my water supplier switching from chlorine to chloramine to treat my water?
While chlorine is commonly used and an effective water treatment disinfectant, it has drawbacks.  Oftentimes, as chlorine travels through piping, there is not enough chlorine in the water to reach the end of the piping to properly disinfect.  However, chloramines last longer in water and therefore are more effective at disinfecting.

Are chloramines harmful to humans?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, using water with small amounts of chloramine does not cause harmful effects and does provide protection from waterborne disease outbreaks.  Your local water provider monitors the water quality regularly to provide safe drinking water, but if you have concerns with your water, contact your water supplier or seek medical advice from your health provider.

Will chloramine affect the taste or smell of my water?
When chloramines are used instead of chlorine, the only noticeable difference will be less of a chlorine taste and smell in the water.

If you are concerned with chloramine in your water, don’t hesitate to contact our certified water professionals through the Water Quality Association at (815) 385-3093 or contact us.