Chloramine is a compound composed of both ammonia and chlorine. It is commonly utilized as a disinfectant for water, specifically in order to eliminate harmful germs while remaining safe for consumption. The type of chloramine most frequently used for this purpose is known as monochloramine.
During the process of treating drinking water with a mixture of ammonia and chlorine, chloramines are created to combat the growth of bacteria within the water distribution system.
Notably, chloramine has a longer lifespan in water pipes compared to other disinfectants and creates minimal disinfection byproducts. However, removing chloramine from potable water can be a challenging task.
Individuals who employ filters that function more effectively with chlorine, as well as those who are undergoing specific medical treatments, may encounter difficulties as a result of chloramine’s presence in drinking water.
How to Remove Chloramine from Tap Water
Chloramine has proven to be a highly effective disinfectant for water treatment, however, its use can also bring about certain adverse effects such as skin and eye irritation, corrosion, and toxicity to plants and fish.
Given these drawbacks, it is imperative to remove chloramine from water to prevent any potential harm. Unfortunately, due to its low molecular weight, removing chloramine from water can prove to be a challenging task.
Conventional methods such as water softening, distillation, and boiling have been shown to be ineffective in removing chloramine. Similarly, the use of chlorine removal substances has not been successful in this regard.
However, several effective methods have been developed to address this issue. These include catalytic carbon filtration, granular activated carbon filters, specific carbon filtration systems, reverse osmosis, and exposure to sunlight.
By implementing these techniques, chloramine can be effectively removed from water, ensuring safe and clean water for all.
1. Catalytic Carbon Filtration
The most effective means of removing chloramine from water is through the filtration method. Catalytic carbon, a form of activated carbon with enhanced adsorption capacity, is specifically designed to eliminate contaminants, including chloramine.
This method is among the few that have proven to be successful in purifying drinking water.
Chloramine is an exceptional disinfectant due to its stability. However, this same quality makes it challenging to remove from water.
Catalytic carbon shares the remarkable adsorption properties of activated carbon but is tailored to target specific contaminants, including chloramine. When chloramine comes into contact with catalytic carbon, a chemical reaction occurs that catalyzes a separation of the chlorine and ammonia within the chloramine compound, rendering them harmless.
To effectively remove chloramine from household water, whole-house filtration systems with catalytic carbon should be installed at the point of entry of the water supply into the home. This ensures that all the water flowing into the home undergoes the necessary purification process.
2. Granular Carbon Active Filter
The activated carbon filter has the capacity to decrease the chloramine concentration from 1-2 ppm to levels below 1 ppm. It is crucial to ensure that the filter is in contact with the chloramine for a significant period of time during the removal process.
Apart from chloramine, the activated carbon filter is also selective in removing other compounds such as pesticides, organic compounds, hydrogen sulfides, and Redon, and reducing chlorine to chloride. These additional compounds in the water can affect the filter’s efficacy.
To determine the amount of chloramine present in water, measuring the total chlorine residue, which involves measuring the total amount of chlorine and its compounds, is necessary.
The elimination of chloramine from water using activated carbon filters involves pumping the water through a column containing the filter. The substances that need to be removed will collect in the filter as the water passes through it, which necessitates periodic filter replacements.
Using carbon filters is an efficient approach to eliminate unpleasant tastes, odors, and chlorine from water.
3. Reverse Osmosis (RO)
While reverse osmosis (RO) membranes are not effective in removing chloramines, a properly equipped RO system with multiple pre-filters can achieve this goal. These pre-filters contain carbon that can remove chloramine, compensating for the slow removal of chloramines via reverse osmosis.
The reverse osmosis process involves purifying water, drop by drop, by passing it through a semi-permeable membrane that rejects impurities such as boron, salts, and arsenic. The contaminants that are rejected are then sent to a drain, while the purified water is stored in a tank.
To initiate the process, tap water is first filtered through a reverse osmosis unit. It is important to ensure that the unit is of high quality and specifically designed to eliminate chloramines, ammonia, and chlorine.
Under-sink units are designed to filter drinking and tap water in your home, removing by-products and heavy metals found in water.
4. Sunlight/Ultraviolent Light
Ultraviolet (UV) light has the capacity to eliminate and eradicate bacteria and germs that are present in water. This process has undergone rigorous testing and has been validated by municipal water systems in the United States.
It is an exceptional and effortless method for disinfecting drinking water, requiring minimal maintenance.
How do you neutralize chloramine?
Chloramine can be neutralized using a vitamin C filter. The amount of vitamin C required is 1,000 mg in the ascorbic form to eliminate the chemical compound from 40 gallons of water. Another way is using neutralizers supplied tanks that are resistant to corrosion.
For aquarists, the neutralization of chloramine can be done safely using a product like Amquel that neutralizes both chlorine and ammonia parts of the chloramine molecules. Through a bio filter the ammonia that has been neutralized will convert to nitrates.
Another way is aging the water while performing biological filtration simultaneously. For instance, filling a plastic garbage can with tap water and using sodium thiosulphate to dechlorinate it, and then connecting a biological filter to the can.
The ammonia will be converted to nitrate by the bio filter after which it can be added to the fish tank.
Why is chloramine dangerous?
Chloramine in water can be dangerous because it can cause the lead from lead pipes that transport water to leach. The leached lead can result in lead poisoning which will, in turn, cause health problems, neurological damage, and death in younger children.
The exposure of humans to chloramine comes from drinking water treated with the chemical compound and it can be toxic to the blood to some people such as those undergoing chemotherapy or kidney dialysis.
The chemical compound can aggravate or cause respiratory problems, asthma, and damage to the mucous membrane. The fumes of the chloramine cause congestion, coughing, sneezing, wheezing, choking, asthma, and shortness of breath.
The chloramine can also cause skin problems such as itching, rashes, welting, dry skin, cracking, blisters, and pigmentation. The chemical compound can aggravate skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
It can cause dry throat and mouth and bleeding lips. It can result in dry, red, and burning eyes. Other problems triggered by chloramine include gastric, digestive issues, blood, and kidney problems.
Chloramine presents two major issues for aquarists. First, the chemicals that neutralize chlorine only neutralize the portion of chloramine that contains chlorine neglecting the deadly ammonia.
That has devastating consequences to fish since the time a fish tank’s filter takes to transform the ammonia to nitrate is long and the fish cannot tolerate it.
The second is water changes that remove nitrate build-up. If the replacement tap water has ammonia it means that nitrogen will be put back in the tank and reducing the concentration will be difficult.
Can you smell chloramines?
Chloramines can cause pool smell because of the chemical compounds that are created in pool water when it is not properly treated. Chloramines form when chlorine disinfectants and organic substances such as sweat and oil combine.
The chlorine disinfectants are normally applied in pool water to kill germs when hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite ion are unleashed.
The two chemicals together are known as FAC which stands for “free available chlorine.” When they react with organic substances like sweat they form chloramines which in turn causes the pool smell.