Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Water Quality Preventative Maintenance Program?
It is a process that involves a temporary switch from the present water disinfectant product -- chloramines -- to a chlorine water disinfectant product in order to stabilize water quality in our distribution systems.
When will the Water Quality Preventative Maintenance Program occur?
Water utilities in Archdale, Burlington, Greensboro, High Point, Jamestown, Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority, Randleman, Reidsville and their municipal water customers will participate in the Water Quality Preventative Maintenance Program periodically.
What is chlorine?
Chlorine is a type of water additive used by municipal water systems to disinfect your drinking water.
What are chloramines?
Chloramine is a type of disinfectant used in drinking water to remove the impurities consisting of both chlorine and ammonia. In the chloramination process, ammonia is added to the water at a carefully controlled level. The chlorine and ammonia react chemically to produce chloramines. Chloramination is as effective as chlorine in killing many kinds of bacteria and other germs that may be harmful to personal health.
Why convert from chlorine to chloramines?
Chloramination reduces the level of certain byproducts of the chlorination process. These byproducts, called Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM) and Haloacetic Acids (HAAs), result from the reaction of chlorine with the small amounts of naturally occurring organic substances in drinking water. TTHMs and HAAs are suspected carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) when present at elevated levels and consumed over many years.
By converting to chloramines, the regional partnership:
- reduces the levels of TTHMs and HAAs in drinking water
- complies with more stringent standards implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency
- continues to supply water customers with safe and aesthetically pleasing water.
In addition, during the switch, customers may notice a change in the taste and odor of their drinking water.
Is chlorination and chloramination safe?
Yes. Chlorinated and chloraminated drinking water is perfectly safe for drinking, cooking, bathing, and other daily water uses. There are, however, some identified groups who need to take special precaution with chlorinated and chloraminated water such as customers who use drinking water for kidney dialysis machines, specialized industries, and fish owners.
How are kidney dialysis patients affected by chlorine/chloramines and what precautions should they take?
Chlorine and chloramines are harmful when they go directly into the bloodstream. In the dialysis
process, the water mixes with blood across a permeable membrane. For this reason, both
chloramines and chlorine are toxic in dialysis water and must be removed from water used in
dialysis machines. Medical centers that perform dialysis are responsible for purifying water used
in their dialysis machines. Each municipality will work closely with physicians, clinics, and
medical facilities in their communities to ensure they are aware of the need to remove chlorine
and chloramines. Customers with home dialysis equipment should contact their physicians and
check with equipment manufacturers for more information.
Is it safe for kidney dialysis patients to drink water containing chlorine and/or chloramines?
Yes, it is safe for kidney dialysis patients to drink chlorinated and chloraminated water. During
the digestive process, chlorinated and chloraminated water is metabolized before reaching the
bloodstream. All kidney dialysis facilities and users of home dialysis machines are advised to
seek professional advice concerning the removal methods for chlorine and chloramines.
How are fish affected by chlorine/chloramines and what precautions should fish owners take?
Fish also take chlorine and chloramines directly into their bloodstream. Chlorine and
chloramines should be removed from water used in aquariums, fish tanks and ponds. Individuals
or businesses that keep fish or other animals in tanks, aquariums, or ponds should ask a pet
supply company about removing chlorine and chloramines. Customers who use drinking water
for aquaculture purposes (growing plants in water tanks or ponds) should get expert advice
regarding the need and procedures to neutralize or remove chlorine and chloramines. Also,
restaurants and grocery stores with lobster tanks must take special precautions to treat the water.
Is it safe to wash open wounds with chlorinated/chloraminated water?
Yes. Chlorinated and chloraminated water is completely safe to use on cuts and wounds. Water cannot enter the bloodstream through an open cut.
Will chlorination/chloramination affect business water users?
Businesses and other establishments that use municipal drinking water for commercial
laundering, laboratory procedures, and other processes that require carefully controlled water
characteristics should get advice from equipment manufacturers or other suppliers regarding any
changes that may be needed. These types of businesses may include but not be limited to
laboratories, microchip manufacturers, biotech companies, soft drink bottlers, photography labs
and restaurants or seafood suppliers with fish tanks.
What actions do I take concerning swimming pool maintenance?
Contact your local pool suppliers for specific details concerning treatment of chlorinated and
Do home water softeners remove chlorine/chloramines?
Most water softeners are not designed to remove chlorine or chloramines. Contact the manufacturer for specific details.