Water Department


Chloramine Conversion

In 2018, the City of Bardstown Water Department plans to change the disinfectant that is used in its drinking water distribution system. Free chlorine will still be used for disinfection during treatment at the plant, but monochloramine— also known as “combined” chlorine—will be utilized in the distribution system.

There are a couple of reasons for this change. First, compliance must be maintained with the U.S. EPA Disinfectants/Disinfection Byproducts Rule. A recent study of our options states that “Chloramination is the simplest, surest, and most cost-effective option to keep the water system consistently in compliance.”

Secondly, the City of Bardstown supplies water to residents of Nelson County and a few areas in Washington, Hardin and Larue Counties. By switching disinfectants, Bardstown will be more compatible with neighboring drinking water systems such as Louisville Water Company and Hardin County No. 2. This will provide water systems in the region more options for interconnection, as well as supplying water during challenging situations such as line breaks and drought conditions. After the conversion, Bardstown will continue to provide water that meets or exceeds all drinking water quality standards.

The Change to Chloramine will:

  • Reduce the level of regulated disinfection byproducts formed.
  • Provide the most economical treatment option available to Bardstown.
  • Provide a stable, long-lasting disinfectant residual throughout the distribution system.
  • Reduce chlorine taste and odor in tap water.

Monochloramine is not new—it has been safely and successfully used by water utilities for nearly 100 years. Louisville Water has been using monochloramine since the 1970’s.

Potential issues
Although water with monochloramine is safe for drinking, cooking and all typical uses, there are a couple of issues to be aware of:

  • Medical centers that perform dialysis or supervise home dialysis are responsible for ensuring that monochloramine is removed from the water before it enters the dialysis machine. Kidney dialysis patients can still safely drink, cook and bathe in the water.
  • Monochloramine is harmful to fish and other aquatic life. Therefore, it must be removed from water used for fresh or saltwater aquariums and ponds. To protect fish and amphibians, use treatment products - available at most pet supply stores- to remove monochloramine from tap water. Leaving water to sit for a few days is not an effective removal method.