Chlorine is a disinfectant used by the water industry and small amounts are added to the public water supply as it leaves the treatment works. Chlorine kills any harmful bacteria present and keeps water safe on it's way to the tap.
Why remove it?
The reason why chlorine can be a concern in drinking water relates to the fact that some people can be very sensitive to its taste and smell. If you do not like the smell or taste then you can get rid of it by installing one of our chlorine and taste water filters.
Is it safe?
The very low levels used in drinking water in the UK are perfectly safe, but much higher concentrations are routinely used safely for other purposes such as baby bottle sterilisers and by the leisure and health care industry in spas, hydrotherapy pools and swimming pools.
The level of chlorine in tap water is very low in England and Wales, which contrasts very favourably with practices in other countries where much higher levels are common. Typically water companies keep the level of residual disinfectant in the form of free or combined chlorine to 0.5mg/l or less. However, sometimes during maintenance of the pipe network higher levels are needed. If you occasionally notice a slight taste or smell of chlorine it is probably due to maintenance work in your area, it will not be a lasting problem and there is no cause to worry. BUT, if you notice a particularly bad or strong smell or TCP like taste which makes your water unpalatable, or you notice a smell or taste for the first time which does not go away in a short time, then you should contact your water company immediately.
Water is safe when it leaves the treatment works and the trace of chlorine is there only to preserve the high quality of the water as it passes through the miles of pipes used to convey water to homes and workplaces. Chlorine has a long history of about 100 years of safe use for hygiene purposes worldwide.
There can be minor variations in the amount and the form of the chlorine present in each water supply. Water companies set the levels as part of the safe management of the whole network. For this reason if your property is located near to the water treatment works the level of chlorine may be a little higher in your tap water than it is at properties several miles further away. Water companies are required to have in place a residual disinfectant management policy designed to ensure a minimum level at the remotest part of the network whilst also ensuring the maximum level is still acceptable to all consumers. The operation of a water distribution network is a complex task and occasionally levels of chlorine are not optimal.
The WHO has set a health based guideline maximum value of 5mg/l for chlorine as a residual disinfectant in drinking water. The levels in tap water in England and Wales are well below this guideline and most water companies aim to keep the level below 1mg/l. Your water company will provide you with a free water quality report showing the maximum and minimum level of residual chlorine in your local water supply on request.
Possible side effects of chlorine
Chlorinated water may have a drying effect on the skin and this can make it itchy and uncomfortable. Some people seem more susceptible than others, particularly if a person suffers from eczema. A minority of people are allergic to chlorine.
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