What's The Real Deal With Chlorine In Tap Water

chlorine drop into water

Chlorine is used as a disinfectant in city-treated water. It's normally used in small amounts, but sometimes those amounts are increased. Chlorine, in combination with other disinfectants, is very good for killing waterborne bacteria and viruses. It is required by the EPA and monitored very closely by city water treatment plants.

But chlorine can also leave a distinct taste and smell in the water. Many people still don't like the idea of ingesting chlorine along with their drinking water. It is also possible for byproducts that are contaminants themselves to form from chlorine and other matter in the water. This has many consumers unhappy with their drinking water.

It's generally accepted that not using chlorine at a water treatment point is more dangerous than using it. The risks from chlorine and its byproducts are lower than those of the pathogens that can get into the water and make you sick.

But if you don't like that taste or smell, are tired of putting flavoring into water to drink, or are still worried about the byproducts, there are ways to safely reduce the amount of chlorine in your water.


The amount of chlorine used in drinking water treatment plants is less than, and not as evident as, the amount used in swimming pools, but it can still leave a bit of a chlorine smell and taste if you're really sensitive. If the treatment plants in your area change the amount and start using more, the smell and taste will become more prominent.

This can be highly unappetizing. Chances are you don't want to think you're drinking swimming pool water when all you want is a glass of cool water from the tap.


Many disinfection systems use ammonia along with chlorine to disinfect the water. These two products can combine to produce chloramines in the water, and there have been some studies linking long-term exposure to chloramines with the development of bladder cancer and possibly other forms of cancer. Additional long-term concerns include fertility rates and central nervous system problems.

For the past few years, the EPA has allowed treatment facilities to use monochloramine instead of chlorine in the water because monochloramine appears to have fewer long-term effects on health. However, some consumers still do not like the idea of ingesting even these chemicals.

Treatment districts are not going to stop disinfecting drinking water. The risks of that are too severe and immediate to justify it. That means consumers have to remove the chemicals from the water at the point of consumption.


Removing chlorine takes two forms: evaporation and filtering.

For evaporation, you can let the glass of water sit out for a day or so. This lets the chlorine evaporate out of the water. However, it is inconvenient to leave all the water you want to drink out for a day. This option is good only if you need to have a small amount of reduced-chlorine water each day or week.

Another option is to use a pitcher filter at the faucet. This can be somewhat inconvenient as you have to keep refilling the pitcher, it can take a long time for the pitcher to fill and those filters don't last very long in the scheme of things.

These pitcher filters also don't filter water in showers, and people typically don't use them for bathroom sinks where they use water to brush their teeth and clean their toothbrushes. Faucet filter attachments are also possible, but again, these slow down the flow of water.

The third option is to have the whole house filtered at the point where the water enters the house. Reverse osmosis is a common filtering process that can remove most of the chlorine and its byproducts before it reaches the faucets.
This will make your tap water will smell and taste a lot less pool-like.

Adding reverse osmosis to your home is simple. Contact Hague Quality Water of Kansas City Inc. to discuss the installation and maintenance requirements for your home so that you can have clean, delicious water at each faucet.

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