Facts About Chloramines

Pinellas County Utilities changed the disinfection process for potable (drinking) water from chlorine to chloramines in 2002. Chloramine is a disinfectant produced by combining chlorine with ammonia. Both chloramine and chlorine are disinfectants that destroy potentially harmful bacteria in the drinking water system.

We changed to chloramines due to a disinfectant change from our water supplier, Tampa Bay Water. Tampa Bay Water modified the regional water supply from groundwater only to a mixture of groundwater, surface water and desalinated water. Chloramines are more effective in disinfecting surface water.

Chloramines have been used safely in the United States and Canada for many years. Tampa and Miami/Dade are among the cities in Florida that use chloramines in their water treatment process.

Chloraminated water is the same as chlorinated water for most normal drinking water uses. The exception is kidney dialysis patients and fish owners. Chloramines must be removed from the water used in the kidney dialysis process and from water in fish tanks and ponds.

Kidney Dialysis

Special Precautions for Kidney Dialysis Patients

Kidney dialysis patients can safely drink, cook and bathe in chloraminated water. However, chloramines must be removed from the water used in kidney dialysis machines.

Dialysis systems already pre-treat their source water to remove chlorine. But some modifications will be necessary to remove the chloramines. Home dialysis service companies can usually make these modifications, but you should check with your physician to be certain.

All medical facilities that perform kidney dialysis have been notified of this change to chloraminated water treatment. According to the End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) federal regulations, these facilities are responsible for purifying the water that enters the dialysis machines.

If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with your physician.

Fish Owners

Special Precautions for Fish Owners

Chloramines must be removed from any water to be used for fish tanks or ponds. Chloramines are toxic to saltwater and freshwater fish, reptiles, turtles and amphibians. This includes lobster tanks at grocery stores and restaurants, as well as fish containers at bait shops.

You may not have had to remove chlorine from your aquarium water because it evaporates on its own. This is not the case with chloramines and specific steps must be taken for removal.

Chloramines can be removed from the water by using a water conditioner specifically designed to remove chloramines or by using a granular activated carbon filter. Your pet supplier should be able to provide guidance on these products.

What are the Effects of Ammonia on Fish?

Ammonia can be toxic to fish. Although all fish produce some ammonia as a natural byproduct, ammonia is also released when chloramines are chemically removed. Some ammonia levels may be tolerable in individual tanks or ponds for short periods of time. Commercial products are available at pet supply stores to remove excess ammonia. Biological filters, natural zeolites and pH control methods can also reduce the toxic effects of ammonia.

More Information

For more information, read our Frequently Asked Questions on Chloramines or contact Customer Service at (727) 464-4000.