Why Monochloramine Disinfectant?

Disinfection of drinking water is vital to protect public health from waterborne diseases. Drinking water disinfection has made many once-common diseases, like typhoid and cholera, a thing of the past in the United States, Canada and other developed countries. Maintaining a level of disinfection in the distribution system is required to keep water safe. The two options for distribution system disinfection are chlorine and monochloramine, both of which have benefits and drawbacksKittery Water District (KWD) has selected to transition to monochloramine because;

Kittery Water District (KWD) has selected to transition to monochloramine because;

  • The US Environmental Protection Agency, CDC, and WHO research and experience to-date indicates monochloramine is safe and beneficial at the level typically used to treat drinking water.
  • US EPA recognizes monochloramine as a best available technology under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
  • Monochloramine has been safely and successfully used by water utilities for more than 90 years including many water utilities in Maine. Today, more than one in five Americans use drinking water treated with monochloramine.
  • Monochloramine forms fewer disinfection byproducts compared to chlorine. The use of monochloramine is often more affordable and requires less new equipment than other alternatives for reducing DBPs, especially if a water utility is already using chlorine. KWD may be able to save money by removing tank mixers that are needed to reduce DBPs.
  • Water treated with monochloramine is stronger and lasts longer in the distribution system thereby providing better protection against bacterial regrowth in the distribution system.
  • Use of monochloramine residual can maintain better water quality over a longer period of time in the distribution system than free chlorine.
  • Water treated with monochloramine has less of a chlorine taste and smell than water with free chlorine. Water utilities switching from chlorine to monochloramine report fewer consumer concerns about the taste and odor of the water.
  • Chloramine technology is efficient, easy to install and operate.
  • KWD can avoid a significant rate increase by converting to monochloramine and taking water from nearby systems during needed off-line renovations of the existing filtration plant, instead of building a new filtration plant for $30 million.
  • In 2016, a third-party engineering firm concluded that KWD, YWD, and KKW should modify their treatment processes to avoid water incompatibility when exchanging water and could maintain and potentially even improve on existing water quality in doing so.
  • KWD as an interconnected water system should seek to avoid differences in water quality to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of interconnections.
    • A few of these efficiencies include; water service redundancy, augmented fire flows, improved service response to major main breaks and other events.

Monochloramine is safe for drinking, cooking and all typical uses, however there are special circumstances where, LIKE CHLORINE, monochloramine must be removed. For the vast majority of these, the existing method of removal of Chlorine will suffice for removal of Monochloramine. The efficiency of removal may just be reduced.

  • LIKE CHLORINE, chloramine must be removed from water used when keeping pets like fish, reptiles, some amphibians, and other aquatic life when it directly enters the blood stream through the gills. Freshwater and saltwater life, like Koi fish, lobster, shrimp, frogs, turtles, snails, clams, and liver coral also require removal. Dogs, cats, ferret, birds, and other animals can safely drink chloraminated water. Consult a local pet dealer or veterinarian if you are unsure about your pet.
  • LIKE CHLORINE, chloramine must be removed from water used for kidney dialysis. Kidney dialysis patients can safely drink, cook, and bathe in chloramine treated water. The normal digestive process neutralizes chloramine before it enters the bloodstream.
  • LIKE CHLORINE, chloraminated water may slightly affect beer and bread making yeasts. Treatment of process water may need to be additionally adjusted. Carbon filtration remains the best and most economical method, but removal may utilize more carbon and require more contact time. Filters may need to be changed more often.

KWD is committed to providing drinking water that maximizes public health and minimizes potential health risks. To protect public health and continue to meet the US EPA’s requirements, we will begin using and closely monitoring monochloramine sometime in June as a secondary disinfectant. We will continue to monitor the recommendations of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as relevant research to make sure our operations are based on the best available information.