Source water may contain pathogens. Pathogens include bacteria such as coliform and legionella, viruses, and parasites such as giardia. Aqua utilizes chorine and sometimes ultraviolet radiation and chlorine dioxide to disinfect the drinking water and remove these pathogens. 

To maintain disinfection, levels of chlorine are present all the way to your home. In larger drinking water systems, Aqua may convert the chlorine to chloramine to help ensure the disinfection remains stable over longer distances. 

CDC offers additional information on coliform, legionella, and giardia



What are chloramines?
Chloramines are formed when low levels of ammonia are added during the drinking water disinfection process.  The ammonia reacts with the chlorine used for disinfection and forms chloramines.

Why does Aqua use chloramines?
Aqua uses chloramines to help maintain a longer-lasting and more effective chlorine residual in the distribution pipes to keep bacteria from growing.   It is also less likely than free chlorine to react to form disinfection byproducts (DBPs).  DPBs are regulated in drinking water.

Are chloramines routinely used for drinking water?
Yes. The process has been used in the U.S. for more than 90 years and is currently in use in more than 30 percent of U.S. cities with more than 70 million U.S. citizens drinking water treated with chloramines every day. Chloramine disinfection is used in Denver, CO (since 1917), St. Louis, MO (1934), Boston, MA (1944), Dallas, TX (1959), Miami, FL (1982), and Philadelphia (1969).

EPA estimates more than one in five people in the U.S. drink chloraminated water. The EPA, DEP, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all concur that chloramination is a safe, effective method for controlling DBPs and maintaining disinfection in the water distribution system.

How much chloramine should be in water?
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations govern the levels of disinfectants (chlorine and chloramines) that are allowed in drinking water. These regulations require us to routinely monitor and adjust these disinfectants in the drinking water.

The EPA maximum amount of disinfectant is 4 milligrams per liter (mg/L) and the minimum level required varies by state.

Special Precautions for Kidney Dialysis Patients and Fish Owners
The following are two groups that should take precautions if they live in an area that uses drinking water with chloramines.

People on dialysis:
• Chloramines, like chlorine, will have to be removed from the water before it can be used in kidney dialysis machines.
• The water is safe for dialysis patients to drink, cook, wash or use in any other application except for their dialysis treatment.
• Check with your physician if you have any questions or concerns.

People who care for fish:
• Chloramines, like chlorine, must be removed from the water before it is added to aquariums or fish ponds. Most pet stores sell products that can neutralize the chloramines before adding the water from your tap to your fish tank or pond.

More information on Chloramines
Aqua customers may contact Aqua at 877.987.2782 to request to have a water quality professional return your call.