The City of Tulsa announced Monday that the process of adding a secondary disinfectant to the drinking water supply will be complete this month.
Chloramine is already used by many cities including Oklahoma City, Sand Springs and Dallas. The addition of chloramine meets mandatory EPA regulations that went into effect this year.
Because of the way water is distributed in the city, individual residences will receive the water at different times. Residents who use dialysis machines or keep fish in tanks or ponds will want to take special precautions.
City of Tulsa will soon add new chemical to drinking water.
The city of Tulsa will soon start adding a new chemical called chloramine to our drinking water. It’s supposed to make water taste and smell better, but two groups need to take precaution.
Tulsa’s water treatment plant will start adding chloramine to disinfect the water supply in addition to chlorine. The city had to change to meet higher standards for drinking water. “We are switching to chloramines, because we are being required to meet more stringent EPA requirements,” said Robert Brownwood, Water Supply Manager.
City leaders warned residents all last year, and the new EPA regulations went into effect this year. Tulsans should also have received a flyer explaining the change. Chloramine is formed when ammonia is added to water. A typical person has about 2,500 parts of ammonia in their sweat.
Tulsa will be adding a half a part of ammonia to the water. “We’re adding such a small amount of ammonia that it is extremely diluted,” Brownwood said.
For dialysis patients, chloramine, just like chlorine, must be removed from the water before it’s used during treatments.
The city says all of the kidney dialysis treatment facilities in Tulsa have been notified and should have taken the proper steps.
Fish owners also need to change their routine. Russell Goleman, with Tulsa Aquatics, said you will need to treat tanks and ponds to remove chlorine and chloramine. “With the chlorine and the chloramines in it, you just put a different additive into it,” Goleman said. “I’ve had a few come in who have a lost a few fish and didn’t understand why, but mostly people just haven’t heard.”
Just get a product that removes chlorine, chloramines and ammonias. Goleman said he has to restock his shelves now that more people are finding out.
According to the city of Tulsa, chloramine has been used in other cities for more than 90 years, including Oklahoma City, Sand Springs, and Dallas.
For more information on the changes to the city’s water, click here.
Water pollution. Education Program: What are the facts about chloramines in our drinking water?
Posted: Jun 21, 2012 10:43 AM EDT Updated: Jun 22, 2012 12:30 AM EDT Thursday night, people against Charlottesville’s plan to put chloramine in drinking water made their case.
A panel of experts presented data to the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) on how the chemical is linked to long-term health problems.
Opponents argue chloramine doesn’t protect our water from bacteria and viruses such as E. coli and Polio. Those against it say argue the least expensive way is not the safest.
Chloramine panelist Bob Bowcock said, “The use of the chloramine as a substitute disinfectant actually causes a formation of scores more chemicals that by toxicologists’ research, thousands of times more toxic than the ones they’re trying to eliminate.”
There is a petition growing on SignOn.org, here opponents are trying to get 750 signatures. Click here to view the petition.
The RWSA is expected to make a final decision on the issue next month.
Water additive causing rise in plumbing problems
This article is courtesy of Citizens Concerned About Chloramine (CCAC), a nonprofit organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area, California.
The following article first appeared in The Almanac (Menlo Park, CA) on Wednesday, May 17, 2006.
Tradesman Ken Russo, who says he suffers respiratory and skin problems resulting from chloramine in the water, points to another “cause and effect” of the chemical additive: a dramatic increase in plumbing problems.
Callers desperate for help with leaks, broken pipes and busted water heaters keep his phone ringing all hours of the day, he says.
Although he prefers to work on remodeling projects, “Lately, all I’ve been doing is a lot of plumbing.”
Mr. Russo attends Citizens Concerned About Chloramine community presentations equipped with a 20-gallon water heater he uses to show the corrosive effects of chloramine.
The SFPUC acknowledges on its Web site that “the lead corrosion concern associated with chloramine is something new and unexpected both by the regulators and the industry.” And chloraminated waters “are more aggressive” than chlorine in reacting with rubbers and their derivatives.
Mr. Russo says rubber fittings and polyurethane fixtures lose their elasticity and are “more prone to cracking” because of chloramine.
“Parts are corroding and failing at an accelerated rate,” he says.
The SFPUC notes on its Web site that chloramine-resistant toilet flapper valves and washers can be purchased at hardware and plumbing supply stores.
…. Summary statement from a recent study at a major U.S. University and as reported in Science News, vol. 130.
Diagram adapted from the Weekly Newsmagazine of Science, SCIENCE NEWS.Chemistry VOL 130 no. 12 Pages 177-192
In a new study, researcher Julian Andelman, of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, the National Academy of Sciences has shown that volatile chemicals present in many municipal drinking water supplies are especially toxic to people when they are exposed to them when bathing or showering. “. . .the major health threat posed by these water pollutants is far more likely to be from their inhalation as air pollutants in the home, according to preliminary data from a study Andelman and his colleagues have just reported.”
“In the past, he says, inhalation exposure to water pollutants has largely been ignored.” His data indicates that hot showers can liberate between 50 to 80 percent of the dissolved chemicals into the air. Emissions from hot baths are half as high. “(One reason, explains Andelman, is that because water droplets dispersed by a shower head have a larger surface-to volume ratio than water streaming into a bath, more of the volatiles can vaporize out).”
It is interesting to note that chloramine actually exists in three forms: monochloramine, dichloramine, and trichloramine. The three forms constantly and rapidly shift from one form to another. “The different volatilities of the chloramines result in substantial differences in the rates of release from water: di- and tri-chloramine are released ~3 and 300 times faster than monochloramine, respectively.” (See page 3 of Chemicals in Drinking Water: Chloramine (PDF, 178 KB), by Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health. Alternate source: click here.) These chemicals vaporize easily out of the water that is heated and aerosolized. All three forms are respiratory irritants, with trichloramine being the most toxic.
Andelman points out that.. . “Although showering can be an intense source of residential exposure to water pollutants, . . . it is far from the only important source. Andelman notes that only about 5 of the 50 to 70 gallons of water used daily by the average American goes for showers. Much of the rest is used by dishwashing and laundering. “
“Though actual doses will depend on many factors–especially the level of water contamination–the study does offer clues for limiting exposure. Cold showers can reduce the vaporization of dissolved volatile chemicals by 50 percent, Andelman says. And short showers help, since each doubling in shower time quadruples the dose from accumulating gases. Finally, to limit the spread of released gases into the rest of the home, he suggests closing the bathroom door while bathing and exhausting the room air outdoors.
“Science News, Vol. 130 no. 12, pgs. 177-192, cited by CCAC in this report.
Chloramines are disinfectants used to treat drinking water. Chloramines are most commonly formed when ammonia is added to chlorine to treat drinking water. The typical purpose of chloramines is to provide longer-lasting water treatment as the water moves through pipes to consumers. This type of disinfection is known as secondary disinfection. Chloramines have been used by water utilities for almost 90 years, and their use is closely regulated. More than one in five Americans uses drinking water treated with chloramines. Water that contains chloramines and meets EPA regulatory standards is safe to use for drinking, cooking, bathing and other household uses.
Many utilities use chlorine as their secondary disinfectant; however, in recent years, some of them changed their secondary disinfectant to chloramines to meet disinfection byproduct regulations. In order to address questions that have been raised by consumers about this switch, EPA scientists and experts have answered 29 of the most frequently asked questions about chloramines. We have also worked with a risk communication expert to help us organize complex information and make it easier for us to express current knowledge.
The question and answer format takes a step-wise approach to communicate complex information to a wide variety of consumers who may have different educational backgrounds or interest in this topic. Each question is answered by three key responses, which are written at an approximately sixth grade reading level. In turn, each key response is supported by three more detailed pieces of information, which are written at an approximately 12th grade reading level. More complex information is provided in the Additional Supporting Information section, which includes links to documents and resources that provide additional technical information.
EPA continues to research drinking water disinfectants and expects to periodically evaluate and possibly update the questions and answers about chloramines when new information becomes available.
You may wish to view each question separately by clicking on the highlighted questions below or may wish to view them as one document.
EPA strongly encourages people to learn more about their drinking water. Your water bill or telephone book’s government listings are a good starting point for local information. Water systems have several different choices when it comes to disinfection. To find out if chloramines are used in your community, contact your local water system.
EPA requires all community water systems to prepare an annual consumer confidence report (CCR) (sometimes called a water quality report) for their customers. The CCR lists the level of contaminants that have been detected over a certain period of time and shows how these levels compare with EPA’s drinking water regulations. Some water suppliers have posted their annual reports on EPA’s Website. If you have not received this annual report, and it is not posted on EPA’s Website, you may request it by calling your water system.
EPA has updated the previous version of the Chloramines Q&A’s in order to better communicate complex issues to a wider audience. EPA expects to continue to review and possiblyupdate the Q&A’s on a periodic basis or as new information becomes available
Chloramines are derivatives of ammonia by substitution of one, two or three hydrogen atoms with chlorine atoms. Monochloramine is an inorganic compound with the formula NH2Cl. It is an unstable colourless liquid at its melting point of -66° temperature, but it is usually handled as a dilute aqueous solution where it is used as a disinfectant. The term chloramine also refers to a family of organic compounds with the formulas R2NCl and RNCl2 (R is an organic group). Dichloramine, NHCl2, and nitrogen trichloride, NCl3, are also well known.
Uses and chemical reactions
NH2Cl is a key intermediate in the traditional synthesis of hydrazine.
Monochloramine oxidizes sulfhydryls and disulfides in the same manner as HClO, but only possesses 0.4% of the biocidal effect of HClO.
Reduction of organic chloramines
Chloramines are often an unwanted side product of oxidation reactions of organic compounds (with amino groups) with bleach. The reduction of chloramines back into amines can be carried out through a mild hydride donor. Sodium borohydride will reduce chloramines, but this reaction is greatly sped up with acid catalysis.
NH2Cl is commonly used in low concentrations as a secondary disinfectant in municipal water distribution systems as an alternative to chlorination. This application is increasing. Chlorine (sometimes referred to as free chlorine) is being displaced by chloramine, which is much more stable and does not dissipate from the water before it reaches consumers. NH2Cl also has a very much lower, however still present, tendency than free chlorine to convert organic materials into chlorocarbons such as chloroform and carbon tetrachloride. Such compounds have been identified as carcinogens and in 1979 the United States Environmental Protection Agency began regulating their levels in U.S. drinking water. Furthermore, water treated with chloramine lacks the distinct chlorine odour of the gaseous treatment and so has improved taste. In swimming pools, chloramines are formed by the reaction of free chlorine with organic substances. Chloramines, compared to free chlorine, are both less effective as a sanitizer and more irritating to the eyes of swimmers. When swimmers complain of eye irritation from “too much chlorine” in a pool, the problem is typically a high level of chloramines. Pool test kits designed for use by homeowners are sensitive to both free chlorine and chloramines, which can be misleading.
New swimming pool initially filled with chloramine-treated tap water.
Chloramine-treated water has a greenish cast; the source of the colour is uncertain. Pure water by contrast normally is blue. This greenish color may be observed by filling a white polyethylene bucket with chloraminated tap water and comparing it to chloramine-free water such as distilled water or a sample from a swimming pool.
Adding chloramine to the water supply can increase exposure to lead in drinking water, especially in areas with older housing; this exposure can result in increased lead levels in the bloodstream and can pose a significant health risk.
There is also evidence that exposure to chloramine can contribute to respiratory problems, including asthma, among swimmers. Respiratory problems related to chloramine exposure are common and prevalent among competitive swimmers.
Chloramine use, together with chlorine dioxide, ozone, and ultraviolet, have been described as public health concerns and an example of the outcome of poorly implemented environmental regulation. These methods of disinfection decrease the formation of regulated byproducts such as alkyl chloroforms, which has led to their widespread adoption. However, they can increase the formation of a number of less regulated cytotoxic and genotoxic byproducts, some of which pose greater health risks than the regulated chemicals, causing such diseases as cancer, kidney disease, thyroid damage, and birth defects.
Removing chloramine from water
Chloramine can be removed from tap water by treatment with superchlorination (10 ppm or more of free chlorine, such as from a dose of sodium hypochlorite bleach or pool sanitizer) while maintaining a pH of about 7 (such as from a dose of hydrochloric acid). Hypochlorous acid from the free chlorine strips the ammonia from the chloramine, and the ammonia outgasses from the surface of the bulk water. This process takes about 24 hours for normal tap water concentrations of a few ppm of chloramine. Residual free chlorine can then be removed by exposure to bright sunlight for about 4 hours.
Boiling the water for 20 minutes will remove chloramine and ammonia. Additionally, many foods and drinks rapidly neutralize chloramine without the necessity of boiling (e.g., tea, coffee, chicken stock, orange juice, etc.). SFPUC determined that 1000 mg of Vitamin C (tablets purchased in a grocery store, crushed and mixed in with the bath water) remove chloramine completely in a medium size bathtub without significantly depressing pH. Shower attachments containing Vitamin C can be purchased on the Internet, as well as effervescent Vitamin C bath tablets. 
Situations where monochloramine is removed from water supplies
Many animals are sensitive to chloramine and it must be removed from water given to many animals in zoos. Aquarium owners remove the chloramine from their tap water because it is toxic to fish. Aging the water for a few days removes chlorine but not the more stable chloramine, which can be neutralised using products available at pet stores.
Chloramine must also be removed from the water prior to use in kidney dialysis machines, as it would come in contact with the bloodstream across a permeable membrane. However, since chloramine is neutralized by the digestive process, kidney dialysis patients can still safely drink chloramine-treated water.
Home brewers use reducing agents such as sodium metabisulfite or potassium metabisulfite to remove chloramine from brewing fermented beverages. Chloramine, like chlorine, can be removed by boiling. However the boiling time required to remove the chloramine is much longer than that of chlorine. Residual sodium can cause off flavors in beer (See Brewing, Michael Lewis) so potassium metabisulfite is preferred.
Chloramine can be removed from bathwater and birthing tubs by adding 1000 mg of vitamin C (as the ascorbic acid form) to a medium size bathtub (about 40 gallons of water).
US EPA regulations limit chloramine concentration to 4 parts per million (ppm). A typical target level in US public water supplies is 3 ppm. In order to meet EPA regulated limits on halogenated disinfection by-products, many utilities are switching from chlorination to chloramination. While chloramination produces fewer total halogenated disinfection by-products, it produces greater concentrations of unregulated iodinated disinfection by-products and N-nitrosodimethylamine. Both iodinated disinfection by-products and N-nitrosodimethylamine have been shown to be genotoxic.
^ Lindsay Smith, J. R.; McKeer, L. C.; Taylor, J. M. “4-Chlorination of Electron-Rich Benzenoid Compounds: 2,4-Dichloromethoxybenzene” Organic Syntheses, CollectedVolume 8, p.167 (1993)..http://www.orgsyn.org/orgsyn/pdfs/CV8P0167.pdf describes several N-chloramines
^ Krasner, Stuart W.; Weinberg, Howard S.; Richardson, Susan D.; Pastor, Salvador J.; Chinn, Russell; Sclimenti, Michael J.; Onstad, Gretchen D.; Thruston, Alfred D. (2006). “Occurrence of a New Generation of Disinfection Byproducts”. Environmental Science & Technology40 (23) (23): 7175–7185. DOI:10.1021/es060353j.
^ ab Richardson, Susan D.; Plewa, Michael J.; Wagner, Elizabeth D.; Schoeny, Rita; DeMarini, David M. (2007). “Occurrence, genotoxicity, and carcinogenicity of regulated and emerging disinfection by-products in drinking water: A review and roadmap for research”. Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research636 (1–3): 178–242. DOI:10.1016/j.mrrev.2007.09.001. PMID17980649.
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House approves bill to help sick families of NC military base water contamination.
Camp Lejeune, a military base in North Carolina, is home to hundreds of thousands of Marines and their families. It’s also the site of what may be the largest water contamination in American history. (ABC News)
Five weeks after “Nightline” reported on the decades-long attempt to secure health benefits for Marines and their families sickened by contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune, residents are finally getting the help they need, 30 years later.
The House of Representatives approved the Janey Ensminger Act on Tuesday, which will provide health care to those who lived or worked at the North Carolina military base for at least 30 days from 1957 to 1987. The bill now heads to President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature.
Health officials believe that as many as one million people may have been exposed in what may be the site of the largest water contamination in American history. Many Marines and their families who drank water laced with cancer-causing chemicals have died and others are still getting sick today.
The Janey Ensminger Act is named for the 9-year-old girl who died of leukemia in 1985. Her father, Jerry Ensminger, a career marine who raised his family at Camp Lejeune, has worked tirelessly with other Lejeune alumni to get the word out about the contamination after the Marine Corp dragged its feet for years to alert the servicemen and their families.
“This bill is confirmation of what I’ve been saying for 15 years, that we were harmed,” Ensminger said. “The Marine Corp and Department of the Navy would say, oh they didn’t do anything wrong, well they did and Congress just confirmed that they did something wrong.”
While Ensminger said he felt “pride” for Janey, the bill contains certain provisions that he didn’t agree with, such as the Dept. of Veterans Affairs would be the “payer of last resort” instead of first resort.
He also said the fight isn’t over and he will continue to seek out why the Department of the Navy and the Marine Corps still refuse to release all of the information relating to the water contamination.
“We were poisoned by the people we trusted the most, our own leaders, agents acting in a position of authority for the federal government,” Ensminger said. “Its going to take somebody in Congress to hold these people accountable for the misinformation and disinformation that they’ve been putting out…over the decades.”
In a previous interview with “Nightline,” Ensminger said Janey’s death had always seemed somewhat mysterious to him and he began to investigate what might have caused his daughter’s cancer. He said his first clue came from a local TV station’s report in 1997, saying that contaminants discovered in the base’s drinking water had been possibly linked to childhood cancer and birth defects, primarily leukemia.
“I dropped my plate of spaghetti right there on the living room floor,” Ensminger told “Nightline” at the time. “That started this journey for the truth.”
Ensminger teamed up with Mike Partain, a Florida man who was born at Camp Lejeune and later developed a rare form of breast cancer, to help get the word out. Through his own research, Partain said he has documented 80 cases of male breast cancer among men who were born or served at Camp Lejeune.
For years, there has been a bureaucratic battle over which agency should be responsible for funding the health care of those affected by the contamination: the Defense Department, which owned the base, or the Department of Veterans Affairs, which covers service-connected illness, injury and disability.
Capt. Kendra Motz, a Marine Corps spokeswoman, told ABC News in a statement that the Corps will support the bill if it becomes law and that they “continue to work diligently to identify and notify individuals who, in the past, may have been exposed to the chemicals in drinking water.”
In addition, Motz said they are “supporting research efforts that attempt to determine whether exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune is associated with adverse health issues.”
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