Norwood Water Commission switching to chloramines instead of free chlorine for disinfection

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From The Norwood Post (Ellen Metrick):

In order to increase the quality of drinking water in the Norwood water district, the commission will stop using chlorine to disinfect water. On March 3, chloramines will be introduced into the system, which will reduce the amount of trihalomethanes, a carcinogenic by-product that occurs when chlorine is mixed with the organic matter in water…

The public is invited to an information session on Feb. 23, at 7 p.m., at the Norwood Community Center.

More San Miguel River watershed coverage here and here.

8 thoughts on “Norwood Water Commission switching to chloramines instead of free chlorine for disinfection

  1. I read your article regarding chloramine. Pennsylvania has been fighting chloramine along with 7 other states for several years. Chloramine has been attributed to acute health symptoms including perisistent rashes, respiratory problems, mouth ulcers and digestive problems in 20 states in chloraminated areas.
    While the acute symptoms require an urgent response by EPA, chloramine presents long term health effects, infrastructure consequences, lead issues, environmental issues and even national security issues. We have a library of over 50 peer reviewed studies that give authority to every allegation we are making. Our website goes into some detail on each of these issues…below is a reader’s digest version. The only advantage of chloramine is a financial one for the water companies.
    While chloramine does reduce the formation of TTHMs and HAAs found with chlorine, Chloramine creates its own family of byproducts that are 100-10,000 times MORE TOXIC than the TTHMs and HAAs. These include NDMA, Hydrazine, Iodo Acids and DXAA. They are cytotoxic (damage cells), genotoxic (damage DNA) and carcinogenic. While filters may REDUCE the monochloramine, they cannot reduce or eliminate these highly toxic byproducts.

    BLUE BABY SYNDROME – Even the water companies warn that mothers should not make baby formula with chloraminated water because the ammonia robs the blood of oxygen, causing the baby to have too little oxygen to its brain.

    LEAD ISSUES – Chloramine pulls lead from pipes and fixtures and puts it into our water while chlorine pushes it into the pipes and away from our water. No amount of lead is safe for children to ingest. EPA only requires the testing for lead every three years. Our children can be suffering permanent brain damage in that three year span. During the DC fiasco thousands of children were exposed to high levels of lead while the EPA denied that there was a problem. EPA is under investigation by Congress now for that incident.


    FISH KILLS – we have documented massive fish kills across the US and in Canada resulting from main breaks and plant malfunctions in chloraminated areas. In California, it killed protected steel head trout, in Virginia, it killed 9 miles of creek – everything down to the earthworm, in Canada it killed 1000 species of salmonids and invertibrates. While chlorine will also kill fish, it disipates as it flows down a street in a main break,,,,chloramine does not… goes into the creeks at full strength.

    WATERSHEDS – America’s watersheds are in danger…they are overloaded with zinc, phosphates and nitrates. In order to reduce the lead leaching from chloramine, water companies use Zinc Orthophosphate to coat the pipes…adding zinc, phosphates going into the already overloaded watersheds. The ammonia causes an increase in nitrates.


    The Chief of Infrastructure Security for Homeland Security testified before Congress that chloramine is not as reactive as chlorine to contaminents introduced into the water system. In the case of bioterrorism, chlorine will immediately attack the contaminent and the levels will plummet, signaling the company that there is a contaminent in the water. Chloramine will not react and we will not know that there is a contaminent until people start to drop.


    Chloramine pitts pipes and eats elastomer and rubber fittings. A study out of Kentucky shows that a rubber fitting with a life span of 5-6 years in chlorine has only a life of 6 months in chloramine.

    FILTERING – yes the compound monochloramine can be reduced by filters, HOWEVER….the byproducts cannot and filtering will not resolve the other issues listed bove. In addition…whole house filters are prohibitively expensive, POU filters are also costly and less effective….if one travels away from their home they are not protected. So people going to work, school, vacation, family, friends, community functions, restaurants, etc will not be protected.


    The World Health Organization as well as several other countries have determined that chloramine is 2000 times LESS EFFECTIVE in killing ecoli and 100,000 times LESS EFFECTIVE in killing rotoviruses and polio 1. For that reason, Germany has banned the use of chloramine in its drinking water system and France does not use it at all. No European country uses chloramine to the extent the US does and intends to. Only England and the US are using it to any extent. Citizen groups in England are fighting it use as well. People in 20 states are reporting adverse acute health effects. 7 states area fighting the use of chloramine. 2 states have intriduced legislation to stop the use of chloramine until further study on its health effects have been done.

    We have been able to show in PA with the water companies own data that the switch to chloramine is NOT NECESSARY in order to comply with EPA regs. We have done spot checking in other areas around the country and believe that in the majority of cases, no changes are necessary to comply.

    If you look at the EPA website, you will see that they consistently speak only to monochloramine and refuse to address the speciations of di and tri chloramine or the toxic byproducts of chloramine.

    We are encouraging other states to talk to their US Senators and Congressmen. Have them contact PA Congressman Todd Platts office , Senator Bob Casey or Senator Arlen Spector. If you need studies or information please contact our website.

    Again, there are peer reviewed studies to back up all of this information.

    THank you

    Susan Pickford
    Nancy Cox
    co-directors Chloramine Information Center

      • Yes, that might be the case if there had ever been a filter created that could remove chloramine from water. It Can’t Be Done. Charcoal filters might help but not remove it. If you have compromised kidneys..or tropical fish – DONT USE CHLORAMINATED WATER. I wouldnt give it to the children either – or let them soak in a hot bath as they will absorb the chlorine & ammonia through their skin and into their system. This is not a scheme to make money on filters. This results in true and documented health conditions. Beware.

  2. Chloramine has been in my Vermont water system for 4 years. Approximately 300 people have documented respiratory, skin and/or digestives to People Concerned About Chloramine (PCAC), a citizens group that exists to get chloramine removed from our water and banned in the state of Vermont. The website I gave is the website of Citizens Concerned About Chloramine (CCAC) in the San Francisco Bay area. CCAC has documented 500+ people with the same symptoms we have here since chloramine went into their water in 2004.

    Through their website and PCAC’s website ( we have heard from people in around 20 other states and a handful of countries from chloramine sufferers, all who have the same symptoms people in the San Francisco Bay area and in my chloraminated water district in VT have.

    There are no filters that completely remove chloramine and for people with moderate to severe symptoms there is no relief from their suffering.

    There are no studies on the skin, respiratory or digestives effects of exposure to chloramine in concentrations typically used in municipal water. The EPA, which is loathe to take a real look at the situation, says that chloramine is safe in drinking water because they are not aware of any studies showing health effects of chloramine in drinking water. Unbelievable!

    I am very sorry to hear that the “chloramine pestilence” is about to descend upon Norwood. I have not touched my water at home except to wash my hands since 8/06. And in winter, when it’s so dry, when I wash my hands in tap water I must rinse them in spring water (I keep a bowl of spring water nxt to my kitchen sink), otherwise I get rash. So far I only had to do it in winter but who knows, as my sensitivity to chloramine increases, this situation may include other seasons as well. For 2 years I had no problem washing my hands in tap water. But then the rashes started on my hands. When I shower in chloraminated water (breathing vapors and aerosols) I get pain in my lungs. When I drink it I get a chronic stomach ache and cramping. It gives my dog diarrhea and makes my cat throw up all the time, so my pets are on spring water as well as me.

    Nightmare for sure.

      • John, Send me your email address and I will email you photos of what chloramine has done to some peoples’ skin around here. I guarantee there will be people in Norwood that will have this level of severity of skin reactions.


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