What is the Best Way to Remove Chloramines from Your Water?
First of all, before you decide to remove chloramine, you need to understand what chloramine is. Chloramines are formed when a municipality adds a mixture of chlorine and approximately 20% ammonia to the water supply. Many municipalities are changing to chloramine from chlorine because the chloramine is more stable as it does not evaporate like chlorine, even if it is a weaker disinfectant. Additionally, chlorine produces disinfection byproducts (DBPs) known as trihalomethanes (THM's) which are VOCs (volatile organic chemicals) that are highly carcinogenic. Many people erroneously believe that chloramine has fewer disinfection byproducts, however new studies show that iodacetic acid is a chloramine DBP that could be even more insidious than THM's. Chloramines also are linked to increased lead and copper corrosion which can result in elevated levels of lead and cooper in water to which chloramine has been added. Additionally, when combined with fluoride, the corrosion level increases. It is also a fact that chloramine degenerates rubber and other parts in plumbing systems, ice makers, washers, dishwasher, toilets and sink faucets, to name but a few. Additionally, ingestion is not the primary route of exposure to chloramine. Inhalation and dermal contact are likely the prime routes of exposure to chloramine. This would mean that if you truly want to remove or reduce chloramine, you would have to do it for the whole house and not just the drinking water. By the time, the chloramine in the water reaches your home, it has accomplished it's job as a disinfectant, and if you really want high quality water and are concerned with the health risks associated with chloramine exposure, you will certainly want to consider how best to reduce it. Notice, I didn't say "remove" it? There reasons I said "reduce" and not "remove" is that it's probably impossible to remove all of the chloramine and it's associated compounds. However you can substantially reduce it with proper treatment. If someone says they can remove it all, you might want to run as fast as you can. [caption id="attachment_2309" align="alignright" width="120"] Cartridge Filter[/caption] Before we discuss what "proper treatment" is, we are going to list some other websites where you can read about chloramine:
- Citizens Concerned About Chloramine
- Byproduct of Water-Disinfection Process Found to be Highly Toxic
- Natural News - The Poisoning of America's Water Supplies
- EPA - Chloramines in Drinking Water
- CDC - Disinfection With Chlorine & Chloramine [caption id="attachment_2311" align="alignleft" width="82"] Filter Vessel[/caption] That should give you a couple of days of reading... if you so desire. Google "chloramine" and you will get about 512,000 more results. By the way, did you know that chloramine kills fish? It's a fact!
OK, let's get into what is the best way to remove... actually "substantially reduce," chloramine. The method is called "Prolonged Contact Catalytic Granular Activated Carbon Filtration" with the emphasis on "prolonged contact." There are a couple of ways to use the Catalytic Carbon - (1) is in a Cartridge Filter such as one to the right; and (2) a pressure vessel with carbon inside it (pictured on the left). The problem is that a cartridge filter that is 4.5" x 20" will flow a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute (GPM). A pressure vessel that is 13" x 54" in diameter will flow 13 GPM but will remove the greatest amount of chloramine at below 10 GPM. The slower you can run the water through the catalytic carbon, the better you will remove the chloramine. If you are really concerned about chloramine, then you might want to use two tanks to prolong that contact and increase the removal ability. If you just want to remove chloramine from just your drinking water, you may want to use a 4.5" x 20" Cartridge Filter at a sink where you only flow 1.5 GPM. That's also good for removing chloramine for the fish, but it does nothing to remove the chloramine in the shower or bath and of course, it doesn't protect the plumbing an appliances. A Backwashing Catalytic Carbon Filter like the US Water Matrixx Backwashing Filter is usually the choice for a whole house. Frequently, chloramine exists in conjunction with fluoride which also has many deleterious effects. I have discussed the effects of fluoride in a previous BLOG. So, if you want to reduce BOTH chloramine and fluoride, then you would need something like our US Water Ultimate System. Finally, if you really are serious about removing chlorine, chloramine, fluoride and a host of other chemicals from the water then you could follow up the Fusion Ultimate Superfilter with a Whole-House Reverse Osmosis System. Photo credit - Chloramine Info Center