Why is Ute Water Conservancy District changing to chloramines?

Chloramine disinfection is one way to comply with new and stricter health standards under the U.S. EPA's Safe Drinking Water Act. By using chloramines we will reduce the production of byproducts, such as trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs), which result from combining chlorine with organics found in surface water.

When Did Ute Water change to chloramines?

Ute Water will start adding chloramines to the water on Monday, January 22, 2007.

Who will be affected by this change?

Because the chloramines will be used during the treatment process, anyone served by Ute Water will be affected. However, aquarium owners and kidney dialysis patients should take special note of the change. If Ute Water should ever serve domestic water to other water districts on an emergency basis they too will be affected by the change. This often happens when utility workers are doing maintenance work on existing lines or repairing water line breaks. Ute Water will backfeed to other water districts such as the City of Grand Junction, Clifton Water District and the Town of Palisade.

What special precautions should kidney dialysis patients take?

Kidney dialysis patients can safely drink, cook, and bathe with chloraminated water. However, chloramines must be removed from the water used in kidney dialysis machines. Dialysis systems already pretreat their source water to remove chlorine. Minor modifications will be necessary to remove the chloramines. Home dialysis service companies can usually make the needed modifications, but you should check with your physician to be certain. All medical facilities that perform kidney dialysis have been notified of this change to water treated with chloramines. According to the ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) federal regulations, these facilities are responsible for purifying the water that enters the dialysis machines.

What special precautions should fish owners take?

Chloramines must be removed from any water to be used for fish tanks or ponds. Chloramines are toxic to saltwater and freshwater fish, reptiles that live in water, turtles and amphibians, and must be removed. This includes lobster tanks at grocery stores and restaurants as well as fish containers at bait shops. You may not have had to remove chlorine from your aquarium water because it dissipates (evaporates) rapidly on its own. This is not the case with chloramines and specific steps must be taken for their removal. Chloramines can be removed from the water by purchasing a water conditioner specifically designed to remove chloramines or by purchasing a granular activated carbon filter. Your pet supplier should be able to provide any further guidance you may need with these products. The ammonia in chloramines can be toxic to fish, although all fish produce some ammonia as a natural byproduct.

Is the use of chloramines in water treatment new?

No. Many cities in the U.S. and Canada have used chloramines as a disinfectant for decades.

What other cities use chloramines as a disinfectant?

Just to name a few, Ottawa Canada, Denver, Portland, St. Louis, Boston, Indianapolis, Dallas, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and San Diego. The United Kingdom, Finland, Australia, and Israel also use chloramines.

Are chloramines safe?

Yes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) accepts chloramines as a disinfectant and as a way to avoid formation of disinfection byproducts such as trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids. Chloraminated water is safe for bathing, drinking, cooking and all uses we have for potable water every day. However, there are two groups of people who need to take special care with chloraminated water; kidney dialysis patients and aquarium owners.

If chloramines are harmful to fish, how can people safely drink the water?

Chloraminated water is no different than chlorinated water for all of the normal uses we have for portable water, including drinking. The digestive process neutralizes the chloramines before they reach the bloodstream. Fish absorb chloramines directly into their bloodstreams through their gills, which can be fatal.

Can pregnant women and children drink chloraminated water?

Yes. Everyone can drink water that contains chloramines.

Can you safely wash an open wound with chloraminated water?

Yes. It is safe to use chloraminated water in cleaning an open wound because virtually no water actually enters the bloodstream in the process.

Can you safely water plants, vegetables or fruit and nut trees?

Yes. The small amount of chloramines in the water supply will have no effect on plants of any type.

Will chloramines affect your swimming pool?

No. You will still need a free chlorine residual to prevent algae and bacteria growths. Contact your local pool supply stores for specific information.

Will reverse osmosis remove chloramines?

No. Salts can be caught by the permeable membranes but chloramines pass through easily.

Will chloramines be removed by boiling the water?

No. Boiling is not an effective method of removing chloramines from water. The only practical methods for removing chloramines from water are using a water conditioner which contains a dechloraminator or by purchasing a granular activated carbon filter.

Will chloraminated water used for agricultural purposes have any effect on fish in adjacent streams?

Most water which runs into streams and ponds would be agriculture, landscaping , or storm water drainage. After water has been used for one purpose, it probably would not have enough residual chloramine to affect fish.

Can film development be affected by chloramines?

Yes. Chloramines have the potential to stain photographic emulsions or alter development. Please contact your equipment manufacturer and your chemical supplier to determine if chloramines will affect your set up. If you need to remove the chloramines there are two recommended methods for the removal of chloramines, use a specific reagent or a granular activated carbon (GAC) Filter.

Does bottled water have Chloramines?

It could. If the bottled water company uses water supplied by a water district that uses chloramines, then the water it provides could have chloramines in it, unless the company takes special steps to remove them.

What are trihalomethanes (THMs)?

THMs are some of the chemical compounds that are formed when chlorine mixes with naturally occurring organics in water. In other words they are sticks, leaves and other organics found in raw water. The USEPA has determined some THMs to be carcinogens (cancer causing agents) in humans. By using chloramines we will be removing THMs from our distribution system.

Will chloramines change the pH of the water?

No. The pH of Ute Water Conservancy District's water will remain in the range 8.2 pH to 8.5 pH.

Do home water purifiers remove chloramines?

Most home purifiers are not designed to remove chloramines. You should contact your manufacturer for specific information. NOTE: High quality granular activated carbon filters may remove chloramines provided sufficient contact time is permitted.

Are there any natural ways I can remove chloramines from my drinking water?

A natural way of removing chloramines can be done by adding a few lemons or orange slices to a pitcher of water. You can also use mango, apples, strawberries or cucumbers.

Where can you get more information?

If you have any questions about the new water treatment process with chloramines, please contact our Public Relations Officer, Joseph Burtard.