Municipalities have used chlorine to disinfect the water supply since the 1850’s and still do so today. Many microbiological contaminants can only be removed with the use of chlorine. While the chlorine in drinking water is safe for consumption, the taste and smell can be unappealing and can also dry out your skin and hair. Strong chlorine smell or taste in your water is usually caused by excessive chlorination in public or private well source water. Additionally, chlorine may also interact with organic materials built up in the plumbing system and add odor to the water. Once chlorine treated water reaches your home, the chlorine is no longer necessary.
Chlorine can be removed by letting the water stand with exposure to air for a while to allow the chlorine to evaporate from it, or by using an Activated Carbon Filter.
Chloramine is also used for the disinfection of water; however, water that is treated with chloramine will have little or no odor or flavor. If your water is treated with chloramine, you cannot remove it by exposing your water to air for a while. Chloramine will not dissipate into the air like chlorine does; but it can still be removed with the use of an activated carbon filter.
Both chlorine and chloramine are safe to consume in small amounts in our drinking water because the body’s digestive process neutralizes these disinfectants before they reach the bloodstream. However, it should be noted that chlorine and chloramine are toxic to fish, other aquatic animals, reptiles, and amphibians. Because these animals absorb water directly into the blood stream, even the small amount chlorine or chloramine present in our drinking water is enough to kill them. Do not keep these animals in water that contains these disinfectants! Chlorinated water can be left to air out for 24 hours to ensure that it is safe for your aquatic animals. This method won’t work for chloramine removal; but there are products available at your local aquarium supply store that will remove chloramine from the water intended for your aquatic pets. Other pets (such as mammals and birds) are not affected by the chlorine or chloramine in drinking water.