What Chemicals are used in Chlorine Water Treatment?
Chlorine Bleach is usually a diluted mixture of Chlorine and Water. Another chemical solution of ammonia may be added to it. This combination may be used to create a substance called Chloramine which can be used as an anti-bacterial agent in the treatment of water. The usual combination of these substances used for the chemical treatment of water has the chemical name of mono-Chloramine with the chemical symbol of NH2Cl. A diagram of it looks like:
Often Chloramine is added to water in a water treatment plant to chemically treat the water and to reduce the harmful bacteria that may be present. In the past, adding plain Chlorine was normal practice in water treatment. Tests revealed that Chloramine-treated water will keep the treating chemical active for a longer period of time, before it degrades in the treated water.
How much Chloramine is Too Much?
Some environmental groups are questioning the use of these treatments of water by the water utilities. For the same weight, Chloramine is less effective in killing bacteria than Chlorine is. To be effective the PH of the water should be about 7.0 or in the middle of the PH Scale. Some people want to remove the Chloramine from the water after it is processed and sent via pipes to our homes. Filters have been devised to remove some of these chemicals. Use of granular active carbon filters proves to be very effective in removing Chloromine as well as other chemical substances from water. If, say for instance, the levels of Chloramine were to be 1-2 ppm (parts per million), then one of these active filters could reduce this level to about 0.1 ppm, a reduction of 10-20 times.
Can Boiling Water Remove Chloramine?
In addition to active filters, aeration (spraying air into the water) or exposure to sunlight will help reduce the concentration of Chloramine. Unfortunately, boiling of water, distillation and reverse osmosis are not very effective for removal. It is said that while Chloramine does not remove quite as many bacterial agents in our water, it seems to be less offensive in taste tests than Chlorine treated water.
Can I do my my own testing of my water in my home environment?
Yes water testing kits are available to allow the testing at home of drinking water, pool and spa water and other water containers. Water can be tested for pH (pools & spas) and for Nitrates, Nitrites & Free Chlorine using commercial water testing kits. If public testing data is available the individual can make comparisons with these results. Some water agencies make their chlorine water treatment and chemical concentration data available to the public. Be sure to inquire at your local agency for this information.