Disinfectant Change

Posted on Jun 17, 2022 in GeneralInfo, News, Slider

Disinfectant Change

During the week of July 25, 2022, Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission (LCWSC) will begin the process of changing the disinfectant used for water treatment from free chlorine to chloramine. Chloramine is chlorine combined with small amounts of ammonia.

The benefits of changing to chloramine is that it stays active in the water (providing disinfection) longer than chlorine and it minimizes the taste and odor of chlorine in water. Most individuals find that water treated with chloramine taste better than water treated with only free chlorine.

During the change, you may temporarily notice a slight difference in the taste or smell of your drinking water. Should this occur, please allow the cold water to flow from the tap for approximately two minutes. If the water has not been used for several hours allow the cold water to flow from the tap for five to ten minutes.

South Carolina, particularly in the Upstate region has a long history with chloraminated water; Greenwood and Greenville Counties are both supplied by chloraminated systems. In fact, the upper part of Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission’s system has been served with chloraminated water for years; therefore, customers in the northern part of the County will not experience a change.

If you have any questions regarding this notice or Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission’s decision to change its disinfection process, please contact Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission at 864-682-3250.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: All local health providers and dialysis clinics have been notified by LCWSC and are equipped for this change. Individuals and business owners, such as dialysis centers, medical facilities, and aquatic pet owners, must determine if they need to take special precautions to remove chloramine from tap water. Individuals with special health concerns should consult a health care provider on the use of tap water.

The map below shows the BLUE area that will have the disinfectant change from free chlorine to chloramine.

Chloramine FAQ

What are chloramines?

Chloramines are a group of chemical compounds that contain chlorine and ammonia. The particular type of chloramine used in drinking water disinfection is called monochloramine which is mixed into water at levels that kill germs while being safe to drink. Chloramines provide long-lasting protection as they do not break down quickly in water pipes.

Is this a new treatment method?

No. Many water utilities across the country have been using chloramines to treat drinking water for more than 90 years. Many other neighboring utilities in SC have been using chloramines to treat water for years, some since the 1930’s.

Why the change from traditional chlorine to chloramines?

The startup process at our new facility required us to use traditional chlorine for the treatment process. We planned to change over to chloramines as soon as the startup process was complete. LCWSC strives to provide the best quality drinking water from our newly constructed Lake Greenwood Water Treatment Facility. Chloramines provide effective disinfection and give long-lasting water quality. The EPA requires water utilities to meet strict health standards when using chloramines to treat water and has proven chloramines help lower levels of potentially harmful regulated disinfection byproducts (DPB) compared to traditional chlorine water treatment.

Are there any health issues associated with chloramine in water?

According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC): ‘Studies indicate that using or drinking water with small amounts of chloramine does not cause harmful health effects and provides protection against waterborne disease outbreaks. These studies reported no observed health effects from drinking water with chloramine levels of less than 50 milligrams per liter (mg/L) in drinking water. A normal level for drinking water disinfection can range from 1.0 to 4.0 mg/L. Your water company monitors water quality regularly to provide you with safe drinking water. Some people are more sensitive than others to chemicals and changes in their environment. Individuals who have health concerns should seek medical advice from their healthcare provider before contacting their local health department.’

Will I notice a change in my water?

During the conversion on the week of July 25, 2022, from free chlorine to chloramines, you may temporarily notice a slight difference in the taste or smell of your drinking water. Should this occur, please allow the cold water to flow from the tap for approximately two minutes. If the water has not been used for several hours allow the cold water to flow from the tap for five to ten minutes. If the problem occurs for more than one week, please contact our office.
Most individuals will likely notice the chloramine treated water has less of a “chlorine” taste and smell than water treated with chlorine.

Are there any individuals that should pay special attention to the change?

Yes. Chloraminated water is perfectly safe for drinking, cooking, bathing, and other daily water uses. There are two groups of people who need to take special precautions with chloraminated water such as those who use tap water for kidney dialysis machines and fish/amphibian owners. Chloramines (like chlorine) are harmful when, rather than being ingested, they go directly into the bloodstream.

What about my pets? What about my garden?

Chlorine and chloramine are toxic to fish, other aquatic animals, reptiles and amphibians. Unlike humans and other household pets, these types of animals absorb water directly into the blood stream. Don’t keep these animals in water that contains these disinfectants. Unlike chlorine, chloramine cannot be removed by letting water sit out for a few days. However, products are available at aquarium supply stores that can remove chloramine. Ask your local pet store about methods of removing disinfectants from water for these pets.
The small amount of chloramine added to water will not affect other pets (such as mammals and birds) and can be used regularly for watering and bathing animals.
The low levels of disinfectant in the water should not have any effect on plant life. The bacteria that contribute to plant growth live within the soil and are generally protected from chloramine concentrations by the soil layer. Soil will reduce or remove the disinfectant, thereby reducing its levels in the water that reach the plants.

For more information regarding Chloramine, view the documents below.

Chloramine FAQ
EPA Chloramine Q & A
CDC Chloramine Fact Sheet

Or visit the websites below

https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/public/water_disinfection.html

https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/chloramines-drinking-water

https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/basic-information-about-chloramines-and-drinking-water-disinfection