NJ Chloramine Facts
New Jersey American Water uses chloramines to treat the water for customers
in its Coastal North and Raritan water system to ensure that our drinking water
continues to comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and New
Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) drinking water
The EPA imposed more stringent standards to reduce health risks associated
with disinfection byproducts (DBP) in chlorinated water. These DBPs form when
chlorine reacts with naturally-occurring organic materials, such as decomposing
plant material, in the raw water. Since chloramine is not as reactive as
chlorine with organic materials, it produces substantially lower concentrations
of DBPs. In addition, chloramine is more effective at extending disinfection
through the pipelines that distribute water to customers’ homes and
If you're a customer in the Raritan or Coastal North Systems where
chloramination is used in the treatment process, it means that your drinking
water is disinfected with chloramine residual instead of free chlorine.
Chloramination is a common disinfection process used by the water industry in
which a small amount of ammonia in water is added to chlorine in water at the
end of our treatment process. The EPA widely accepts chloramine as an effective
treatment to prevent the waterborne transmission of parasites that are capable
of causing sickness. For decades, cities across the United
States and Canada have relied on chloramine to treat their drinking water.
Record of Safe, Proven Effectiveness
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency widely accepts chloramine as an effective treatment to prevent the waterborne transmission of parasites that are capable of causing sickness. Chloramine was first implemented in Denver in 1917, and today, one in five Americans receives drinking water from systems using chloramination. Other cities using this safe, effective disinfection process include:
- Washington, D.C.
- San Francisco
- St. Louis
- Portland, OR
- Kansas City, MO
- San Diego
Source: American Water Works Association
In addition, New Jersey American Water brings almost 30 years of experience
using chloramine to treat water in its Raritan System
, which serves
customers in Mercer, Somerset, Middlesex and Union Counties, and since June 2012
in its Coastal North System, which serves customers in Monmouth and Ocean
Counties, except for customers in Howell Township, Lakewood, Freehold Township
and Farmingdale (Note: there are a handful of customers who do receive
chloraminated water in Farmingdale).
While most customers do not notice any change in their water, some might
notice that the taste and odor of chlorine is reduced. Please note that two
groups of customers need to take special precautions: kidney dialysis patients
and fish owners. For more information, see our
for Dialysis Patients and Fish Owners
Precautions for Kidney Dialysis Patients and Fish Owners
Although the use of chloramine is proven to be safe, kidney dialysis patients
and fish owners must take special care not to use water directly from the tap.
As with chlorine, chloramine must be removed from water that is used in the
kidney dialysis process and from water that is used in fish tanks or ponds.
Please follow these precautions:
Kidney Dialysis Patients
- In the dialysis process, water comes in direct contact with the bloodstream.
Just like chlorine, the presence of chloramine in dialysis water would be toxic
and must be removed.
- Dialysis systems already pre-treat their source water to remove chlorine.
However, some modifications might be necessary to remove chloramines. Consult
your dialysis provider or health care practitioner for more information on your
particular treatment need.
- Medical facilities that perform dialysis are responsible for purifying the
water, which enters the dialysis machines. Consult your physician if you have
- Although New Jersey American Water has notified the region’s medical
facilities, you should remind your physician of the switch to chloramine.
- If you use a home dialysis machine, check with your physician. Many home
dialysis service companies are able to make any necessary modifications if they
- Kidney dialysis patients can drink, cook and bathe in water treated with
chloramine. Chloraminated water can be consumed because the digestive process
neutralizes the chloramine before it reaches the bloodstream. Please consult
your physician if you have any questions. For more information, customers can
also visit the EPA’s website.
- Both chlorine and chloramines are toxic in very low levels and must be
removed from the water used for aquatic life. Most pet stores sell
disinfectant-removal products that can be added to the tap water prior to
introduction to the fish tank or pond.
- Consult your local pet supply store for specific assistance on recommended
- Chloramine is a very stable disinfectant and will remain in water for weeks.
You are advised to remove chloramines from any water used for fish or aquatic
life. This approach will provide maximum protection for your pets.
- More information for fish, amphibian and fish pond owners.
Chloramine is safe for all mammals –
including dogs, cats -- as well as birds. More information for
fish, amphibian and fish pond owners.
Temporary Water Treatment Changes in Monmouth and Ocean County
Beginning the week of January 4, 2016, as part of an annual maintenance
program for its water distribution system, New Jersey American Water will
temporarily change the water treatment process from chloramines (a combination
of ammonia and chlorine) to free chlorine at the company’s Swimming River Water
Treatment Plant in Colts Neck and its Jumping Brook Water Treatment Plant in
Neptune. During this period, customers may notice a slight increase in the taste
and smell of chlorine in their water. This is normal and will only be temporary
until the system maintenance is complete.
Learn more here.