This is more commonly a problem with City Water customers that get their drinking water from a community water system or regulated system that uses chlorine to disinfect the water and maintain a disinfection chlorine residual in the water. A common problem that customers report include the following: "my water smells like a pool", the water "burns my eyes or dries my skin", or "the water tastes like chlorine". The elevated level of chlorine in the water may be an attempt by the utility or authority to manage taste, odor, and aesthetic issues and Bacterial issues within the distribution system or to disinfect a recent repair to the distribution system.
Elevated levels of chlorine can cause a nuisance, create irritation of the eyes and skin, damage some water treatment systems, and damage stainless-steel fixtures or appliances. Anyone who has a tank of tropical fish should know that chlorinated water can kill the fish. Chlorinated tap water should be left to stand in the open for at least overnight to give the chlorine time to leave the water before putting it in the fish tank.
The common health-related issues associated with chlorine are chronic health issues including eye irritation, dry skin, and gastrointestinal issues. Chlorine by-products like Trihalomethanes can also be a problem.
The EPA requires treated tap water to have a detectable level of chlorine to help prevent contamination of the water between the water source and the user. The allowable residual chlorine levels in drinking water (up to 4 parts per million) pose “no known or expected health risk with an adequate margin of safety" and most community water distribution systems have chlorine residuals ranging from 0.2 to 0.5 mg/L. A chlorine residual is maintained in the distribution system to inhibit Bacterial regrowth, prevent the creation of nuisance conditions in the distribution system, and provide a final barrier to prevent Waterborne Disease. (Source)
The Stage 1 disinfection rules provide a drinking water standard based on a total trihalomethanes concentration of 0.08 mg/L. In the 2018 Edition of the Drinking Water Standards and Health Advisories, the EPA provided guidance for the 4 Trihalomethanes. In human and animal studies, chloroform, bromodichloromethane and bromoform (all by-products of chlorination) have been linked to bladder and colon cancer; at relatively high concentrations, there is a link between trihalomethanes and birth defects, other reproductive issues, and damage to the kidneys, liver, and nervous system.
"Carcinogenicity (EPA): Chloroform, bromoform and bromodichloromethane are classified as probable human carcinogens (Class B2). Dibromochloromethane is classified as a possible human carcinogen (Class C)." (Source)
Elevated levels of chlorine in drinking water are normally associated with a City Water supply or a private system that uses chlorine to Shock Disinfect a system or to treat a bacterial problem or as a component of a greensand filter. For City Water systems, this condition may be associated with a water main break or repair or a system attempting to manage a nuisance issue.
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.
All I have to say is, if it smells like chlorine, tastes like chlorine, and the water makes you think of going swimming and not getting a drink, it is likely that the issue is chlorine. For individuals who regularly use chlorinated water, chlorine can have a detectable and noticeable odor at levels of 2 mg/L and create a taste issue at 5 mg/L and individuals who are accustomed to chlorine can taste it at levels as low as 0.3 mg/L. (Source)
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.
There are a number of ways to screen your drinking water for the presence of chlorine.
<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L4-methyl-tertiary">Note: Concentrations < 40 ppb</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-toluene">Note: If the concentration is less than 0.8 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in_L6-elevated-chlorine">Note: Professional</div>
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.
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.
If you need certified testing for chlorine and chlorine by-products, it is likely that there are other intermittent water quality issues with the system. After getting general information on the source of the drinking water and understanding the "nuisance" history for this system, it is likely that the testing should include total and free chlorine, chlorine by-products, pH, conductivity, and other general water quality issues. If you need help, please Contact our team.