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. Jump to Frequently Asked Questions.
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long has monochloramine been used as a drinking water disinfectant?
Monochloramine has been safely and successfully used by water utilities for more than 90 years. More than one in five Americans uses drinking water treated with monochloramine. Boston, Dallas, Houston, San Diego, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, Miami, Denver, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and many other cities are all successfully using monochloramine to treat drinking water.
Why did the City select monochloramine over other options?
Monochloramine was selected for the City of Bardstown because it more stable and longer lasting than free chlorine and forms fewer disinfection byproducts. It is also the most cost effective option allowing improved water quality while keeping rates affordable.
Will I notice a change in the taste or odor of my water?
Utilities that use monochloramine often experience fewer taste and odor complaints than utilities using free chlorine.
What should I do if I notice sediment in my water?
The sediment may be the result of flushing the pipeline to purge the chlorinated water and make way for the new monochloramine-treated water. If you do experience some discoloration or sediment, try running cold water in your sink or bathtub for three to five minutes. If that doesn’t clear up the problem, contact us at (502) 348-5947.
Can I drink and cook with monochloramine-treated water?
Yes. Monochloramine-treated water will meet or surpass all local, state and federal guidelines for drinking water quality. You can safely drink the water, cook with it and bathe in it. However, like chlorine, monochloramine-treated water must be conditioned or filtered before using it for fish and other aquatic life, and dialysis centers must also take special precautions.
Will I have to change the way I treat my swimming pool water?
No additional treatment should be necessary. However, you might find that there is a slight increase in chlorine demand. That means that you may have to add a little more chlorine than usual to get to the level you typically maintain in the pool after you top it off with tap water.
Will my home filtration system be affected?
You may find that you have to replace filters (particularly activated charcoal filters) more often than before, though the difference should be negligible. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s recommendations. Check with the manufacturer if you are interested in finding out if your granular activated filter removes chlorine and monochloramine.
Will my plants be affected?
No. Plants, vegetables, fruit and nut trees are not affected by monochloramine-treated water.