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What is Chloramine? Here’s What You Should Know About Your “Clean” Municipal Water Supply

The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) is responsible for protecting the public by providing it with a clean and healthy water supply. As with any other district handling municipal water supply, NTMWD employs disinfection methods to treat the water it distributes. With 1.8 million North Texan residents receiving water supply through the NTMWD, it might be worth knowing how the district disinfects the water supply it provides across its 2,200 square mile service area.

The Process of Disinfecting The Water Supply

Disinfection is a critical part of water treatment to ensure its safety before it is distributed across homes by the municipal district. The first step taken by NTMWD is treating the water at the plant. NTMWD uses a combination of ozone and free chlorine to disinfect the water at the treatment plant. The second step is that it adds disinfectant to the water so that it can maintain water quality as it travels long distances through pipes to homes and businesses. For the disinfectant, NTMWD uses chloramine before it leaves the plant. Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia. Theoretically speaking, both these processes play a crucial role in keeping tap water free from harmful germs like viruses and parasites.

The North Texas Chlorine Burn

Each spring, the North Texas Municipal Water District suspends the use of ammonia in the disinfection process while treating the water and allows the remaining chlorine to keep the water disinfected while it travels through the system. This process is called the chlorine burn and typically takes place before the hot summer months to eliminate the chances of bacterial growth developing in the pipes.

Erin Brockovich Addressing the Water Supply Problems

Erin Brockovich is a prominent activist who rose to fame in the 1990s when she exposed the water contamination in California. She had accused Plano and the water district of cutting corners and failing to answer questions regarding the water quality that it supplies to its residents. The water district was quick to respond by telling its customers that the water it supplies always meets federal standards and is completely safe. There was a massive outcry among North Texan residents as the district began its annual 28-day chlorine burn, a process that uses only chlorine instead of combining it with ammonia to form chloramine as a disinfectant for the water supply. Residents packed into council meetings to complain about their water smelling like an over-chlorinated swimming pool and have raised concerns about the smell and taste of the water. The residents were forced to stop using the tap water for several common tasks they would otherwise do because of the smell and taste. The problems with chlorine and chloramine in the water supply do not just end with the strange smell and taste. The use of chlorine and chloramine as disinfectants have started raising health concerns. A resident of Anna, TX, Bill Morgan, was running for a place on the City Council partly over water quality issues. He said that his daughter suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, a condition caused by a group of connective tissue disorders. Morgan credited the chlorine burn for causing flare-ups in her condition. Additionally, a dermatologist physician assistant, Lauren Steward, stated that while she was working in Richardson and Plano, Texas, she began noticing that eczema patients would begin experiencing flare-ups during the chemical burn. She began having her patients add chlorine filters to their showers and noticed a significant improvement. Bob Bowock, the water consultant who works with Brockovich, has contended that the District’s water quality tests that meet federal standards had the sites selectively chosen so it would not reflect the water quality accurately. Many citizens have raised concerns that NTMWD has not been transparent about water issues and appears to be avoiding dialogue when it comes to coming clean. A group of North Texans filed an open records request to the water district but received only some of the requested documents. Additionally, they were not able to open most of the attachments sent to them by the water district. This lack of transparency has been raising further concerns regarding the water quality problems for residents in North Texas. Brockovich has been urging residents of the area to stay informed, attend meetings, and not be afraid to ask the necessary questions regarding their water supply. Bowock has been requesting water districts to install granular activated carbon filters instead of using high levels of chlorine to keep the water free from microorganisms. NTMWD spokespersons said that it has started treating the water with ozone and is currently looking to add biologically active filters that will consume organic matter in the water to make it safer. The spokesperson also mentioned that granular activated carbon filters would be too expensive for the NTMWD to install.

The Need to Implement Effective Water Treatment Systems at Home

At Shell Water Systems, we understand the concerns that so many residents share in North Texas and other municipalities that receive “treated” water that uses chlorine and chloramines as a disinfectant. The water supply provided by the water district should be clean and safe. However, it is becoming next to impossible to provide completely safe and healthy water to residents due to prohibitive costs and cost-cutting measures. We provide a wide range of solutions designed to resolve different problems in the water supply. The Shell Water Systems Whole House Filtration system removes 99% of all harmful contaminants found in the municipal water supply. Through the use of Jacobi catalytic coconut shell carbon and KDF 55 media, the Whole House System removes contaminants like herbicides, heavy metals, organic matter, pesticides, as well as chlorine and chloramines. The result is safer and cleaner water for the entire household right from the point where it enters the plumbing. It means that you will no longer need to rely on water filters at individual water outlets. Your whole house will get a cleaner and safer water supply from the get-go. Municipal water districts widely use chlorine and chloramines to treat our water, but they come with significant health risks to children and people with underlying conditions – not to mention a horrible taste and smell during the chlorine burn every year. Investing in the Whole House Filtration System can help you address the problem and ensure safer water for you and your family. Feel free to check out our products here if you are interested or give us a call at 1-866-341-6220.
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