+
Indoor
Outdoor
+
Outdoor
Indoor
This is a newly redesigned Water-Research.net page
Page Archive

Get Informed | Chloride

What is Chloride?

Chloride is an ion, specifically, because it has a negative charge, an anion.  It forms from the element, chlorine.  The difference between an ion and an element is that an element (and a compound) has a balanced charge while ions do not.  One very common compound (balanced charges) of chlorine is sodium chloride (ordinary table salt).  When sodium chloride is dissolved in water, the sodium forms a positively-charged ion (a cation) and the chlorine forms the negatively-charged chloride anion. 

Chloride is present in rainwater, streams, groundwater, seawater, wastewater, urban runoff, humans (our blood is quite salty), geologic formations, and animal waste streams. Chloride is also present in your kitchen table in the salt shaker (sodium chloride). We mine large salt deposits for road salt and water treatment salt based chemicals and also you abandon salt mines to store natural gas (Source) and even store nuclear waste. Chloride is commonly associated with other ions, such as sodium, potassium, carbonates, and sulfate (sea water has loads of all of these). Elevated chloride levels can be associated with oil / natural gas drilling, saltwater intrusion, landfill leachate, fertilizers, septic system effluent, road salt storage, salt mining, deicing agents, and saline/brine water deposits. High levels of chloride can attack and weaken metallic piping and fixtures (it promotes corrosion) and inhibit the growth of vegetation.

Water is considered to be fresh at < 500 mg/L of dissolved salts. It is brackish water from 500 to 30,000 mg/L (3%), saline (like sea water) from 3-5%, and brine from 5 to ~ 28% at which concentration the water is saturated; any more would precipitate out of solution. These descriptions are based on the salinity of the water which includes all dissolved salts. It is usually the case, however, that it is the chloride anion, especially at higher concentrations, that dominates. Chlorinity, as opposed to salinity, refers to the concentration of just the chloride. Chloride or brine solutions are used to produce chlorine gas and deicing agents and potassium chloride is a common fertilizer.

How Does Chloride Become a problem?

High levels of chloride can corrode and weaken metallic piping and fixtures, give a "salty" taste to the drinking water, damage household appliances, boilers, and, if the water is being used for irrigation, it may inhibit the growth of vegetation.

What are the Health Risks for Chloride?

Chloride is generally not considered a health risk but at relatively low concentrations this ion in drinking water can affect its taste, however, a high chloride intake can result in high levels of chloride in the bloodstream, i.e., hyperchloremia. Most individuals will detect an off-taste to the water when the concentration is at 200 to 300 mg/L, but at 400 mg/L the salty taste is very apparent. Elevated levels of chloride are typically associated with having high or elevated total dissolved solids. Not only can chloride cause the water to have a taste problem, it can induce corrosion of metal piping and fixtures, appliances, and heat-exchange units.

It is important to distinguish between the effects of chloride and salt (sodium chloride). Salt consumption is linked to high blood pressure but it is not the chloride that does this, it is the sodium. A common salt substitute is potassium chloride; the potassium doesn’t have a link with high blood pressure. It is probable that most of the chloride that gets into your body is from salt (sodium chloride) but there are other chloride compounds and this section is about the chloride anion, not salt.

What are the Standards for Chloride?

Chloride is regulated as a secondary drinking water standard because of the aesthetic, cosmetic, and technical effects that chloride can have on your body, and appliances and plumbing in your home. The secondary drinking water standard is set at a maximum of 250 mg/L. Water is generally considered undrinkable at concentrations of more than 1000 mg/L.

Get Tested | Chloride

Unlike many contaminants in drinking water, this element can be detected at levels well below the point it can pose a direct health risk, but indirect health risks, such as exposure to copper, lead, and other corrosion by-products may be present and there may be adverse corrosion effects on your household piping, fixtures, plumbing, water heaters, boilers, and heat exchange units. Your best course of action is to get your water tested and compile as much information as possible about your water supply source, well construction, surrounding land-use, and local geology. If you do have a chloride problem there are water treatment technologies available now that can reduce the problem.

Note - Do not just test your water for Chloride because there could be other primary and secondary drinking water standards that may be elevated or that may interfere with the proposed remediation system.

Level 1 | Observational Self-Testing

Level 1 Testing is done with simple observations that an individual can make with their own senses such as sight, smell, and taste. These observations can be readily apparent or can be observed as they change over time. In addition, accessible related information about the home can also be used to narrow down the cause of your water issues.

Observations for Chloride

When chloride is elevated, it is commonly associated with a combination of a salty taste and Corrosion to metal piping and fixtures in the home. In addition, you may notice a film on glassware, sink aerators, and shower curtains when the water evaporates from the surface.  This film is typically water and crystal or granular-like and can be easily removed with the addition of water (it is probably salt).

Level 1 | Self-Test Web App
To do a quick and easy self diagnosis of your water, click the button below.
Launch

Level 2 | Do-It-Yourself Testing

Level 2 Testing is Do-It-Yourself testing that can be done in your own home using a Testing Kit. After you’ve done Level 1 Testing, Level 2 Testing can confirm if your observations are correct. If your test results reveal the presence of a contaminant that is cause for concern, you can either proceed to determine the best treatment (see below) or continue to Level 3 Testing.

Notes on Level 2 Testing for Chloride

High levels of chloride may also be associated with elevated levels of sodium, other salts, petrochemicals, local geology, surrounding land-use,  and other trace metals depending on the source. That is why we recommend a Neighborhood Environmental Report.

Recommended Level 2 Tests
National Testing LabsCityCheck Standard

<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

View
National Testing LabsWaterCheck® Standard

<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

View
National Testing LabsWater Check Deluxe

<div class="product-note in-L4-carbon-filtration">Note: For rural Areas with <a href="/indoor-6/herbicides-pesticides">Herbicides and Pesticides</a> Usage</div>

View
Filter WaterFW-210 Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis System (Code A27AC)

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-uranium">Note: Uranium less than < 0.030 mg/L</div>

View
Crystal QuestReverse Osmosis (R/O) Units

<div class="product-note in-L6-radium-226-and-radium-228">Note: If the concentration of combined radium is < 5 pCi/L, alpha and beta are low, and radon less than 300 pCi/L - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-cyanide">Note: Note: For cyanide levels that are less than 0.1 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-total-dissolved-solids">Note: Consider this treatment If the problem appears to be related to chloride or sodium.</div>

View
Recommended Products
National Testing LabsL3-NATE-C-3 | CityCheck Standard

<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

View
National Testing LabsL3-NATE-W-4 | WaterCheck® Standard

<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

View
National Testing LabsL3-NATE-W-2 | WaterCheck Deluxe

<div class="product-note in-L4-carbon-filtration">Note: For rural Areas with <a href="/indoor-6/herbicides-pesticides">Herbicides and Pesticides</a> Usage</div>

View
Filter WaterST-FILT-F-03 | FW-210 Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis System

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-uranium">Note: Uranium less than < 0.030 mg/L</div>

View
Crystal QuestST-CRYS-C-01 | Reverse Osmosis (R/O) Units

<div class="product-note in-L6-radium-226-and-radium-228">Note: If the concentration of combined radium is < 5 pCi/L, alpha and beta are low, and radon less than 300 pCi/L - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-cyanide">Note: Note: For cyanide levels that are less than 0.1 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-total-dissolved-solids">Note: Consider this treatment If the problem appears to be related to chloride or sodium.</div>

View
Neighborhood Environmental Report

Order a Neighborhood Environmental Report to learn about potential hazards in your community.

Level 3 | Informational Testing

Level 3 Testing is done through an accredited Water Testing Laboratory. With Level 3 Testing, you can order a testing kit that is used to prepare your sample and submit it to the lab. By utilizing a lab, you have the assurance that a certified water expert had analyzed your water sample. If your test results reveal the presence of a contaminant that is cause for concern, you can either proceed to determine the best treatment options (see below) or continue to Level 4 Testing - Certified Testing.

Notes on Level 3 Testing for Chloride

Elevated chloride may be associated with a number of other natural and man-influenced activities.  Elevated chloride is not a common drinking water problem for city water customers but when this does occur the most common problem is that their chlorine residual is very high or you are using a whole-house water softener that is malfunctioning. This can be a problem for private water systems and can be associated with other water quality problems. For this reason, we recommend the National Testing Labs City Water Standard for city water customers and the National Testing Labs Well Water Standard Kit for private water sources, like wells and springs and the Well Water Deluxe in areas with agricultural activity. If you are considering a Reverse Osmosis system, we recommend the National Testing Labs Reverse Osmosis Screen.

Recommended Level 3 Tests
National Testing LabsCityCheck Standard

<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

View
National Testing LabsWaterCheck® Standard

<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

View
National Testing LabsWater Check Deluxe

<div class="product-note in-L4-carbon-filtration">Note: For rural Areas with <a href="/indoor-6/herbicides-pesticides">Herbicides and Pesticides</a> Usage</div>

View
Filter WaterFW-210 Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis System (Code A27AC)

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-uranium">Note: Uranium less than < 0.030 mg/L</div>

View
Crystal QuestReverse Osmosis (R/O) Units

<div class="product-note in-L6-radium-226-and-radium-228">Note: If the concentration of combined radium is < 5 pCi/L, alpha and beta are low, and radon less than 300 pCi/L - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-cyanide">Note: Note: For cyanide levels that are less than 0.1 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-total-dissolved-solids">Note: Consider this treatment If the problem appears to be related to chloride or sodium.</div>

View

Level 4 | Certified Testing

A Level 4 Certified Test Test uses chain-of-custody with a water professional coming to your home to prepare the water sample and then works with an accredited laboratory in order to certify your test results. This type of testing not only gives you the highest level of assurance in the accuracy of your test results, but can also be used as a document in legal cases. For Baseline Testing, we recommend that you use Certified Testing.

Notes on Level 4 Testing for Chloride

If you are conducting certified testing for chloride, it is critical to identify the potential cause or causes so a comprehensive assessment can be conducted. In many cases a series of tests will be needed to attempt to fingerprint a potential source and cause of the issue in order to develop a solution.

Neighborhood Environmental Report

Order a Neighborhood Environmental Report to learn about potential hazards in your community.

Get Treatment | Chloride

In most cases pretreatment will be needed to ensure acceptable treatment by the primary water treatment system. Most treatment technologies will not be amenable to point-of-entry or even whole-house treatments solutions. In most cases, the system will require a multiple-barrier approach with a final point-of-use unit that targets chloride and other salts and it may be necessary to change piping and fixtures to a material (such as plastic) less vulnerable to corrosion. Periodic testing should be maintained after the treatment system is in place to ensure objectives are being met and the system is operating properly. For most systems, the system will require maintenance on at least an annual basis.

Short Term Treatment

If you are experiencing a problem with chloride, do not boil your drinking water. In cases with high levels of chloride in drinking water, the primary short-term option is to use bottled water, haul in a source of potable water, and proceed to document the source of the "salt" contamination.

Recommended Short-Term Treatments

<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L4-carbon-filtration">Note: For rural Areas with <a href="/indoor-6/herbicides-pesticides">Herbicides and Pesticides</a> Usage</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-uranium">Note: Uranium less than < 0.030 mg/L</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-radium-226-and-radium-228">Note: If the concentration of combined radium is < 5 pCi/L, alpha and beta are low, and radon less than 300 pCi/L - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-cyanide">Note: Note: For cyanide levels that are less than 0.1 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-total-dissolved-solids">Note: Consider this treatment If the problem appears to be related to chloride or sodium.</div>

View
Contact a KnowYourH2O Recommended Professional

Submit a Request for Consultation with the KnowYourH20 Team. Contact Us

Long Term Treatment

For the long-term, the solution depends on the level of salt contamination and the source of the problem. If the source can be eliminated and the concentration of chloride is just over the drinking water standard, it may be possible to install a whole-house treatment system and then a point-of-use device or devices or a commercial reverse osmosis system with storage to manage your drinking water. In some cases it may be necessary to replace some of the piping and fixtures in your home. Common point-of-use treatment systems would include Reverse Osmosis, Deionization, and Distillation. It is important to note that these forms of treatment will commonly produce reject water, salt scale, or brine water that must be properly disposed of. When we use reverse osmosis, we force the water through a semipermeable membrane and leave the salts behind or concentrated in the original water which causes the salt to build up or concentrate on one side of the membrane. The salts and the portion of the water that is not forced through the membrane is known as the concentrate, RO reject water.  The reject water may have a concentration of salt that ranges from 30,000 mg/L to 50,000 mg/L. Common Reverse Osmosis units reject about 4 gallons of water for each 1 gallon of purified water produced, but this can be reduced by adding a permeate pump.  In extreme cases with very high levels of salt, it may be necessary to provide an alternate source of potable water. Finally, it is important to note that a water-softening treatment system will make a chloride problem worse because it adds salt to the water.

Recommended Long-Term Treatments

<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L4-carbon-filtration">Note: For rural Areas with <a href="/indoor-6/herbicides-pesticides">Herbicides and Pesticides</a> Usage</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-uranium">Note: Uranium less than < 0.030 mg/L</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-radium-226-and-radium-228">Note: If the concentration of combined radium is < 5 pCi/L, alpha and beta are low, and radon less than 300 pCi/L - (POU Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-cyanide">Note: Note: For cyanide levels that are less than 0.1 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-total-dissolved-solids">Note: Consider this treatment If the problem appears to be related to chloride or sodium.</div>

View
Contact a KnowYourH2O Recommended Professional

Not Up for A DIY or You have a series of issues? Need Help Identifying a Local KnowYourH20 Team Professional? Contact Us

Archive Page Reference
This is a newly redesigned Water-Research.net page. To reference related archived Water-Research.net page(s) click the link(s) below:

in-L6-chloride