- Most of the drinking water in the
Spokane area is taken from the Spokane Aquifer, an underground river
that flows into the region from the mountains northeast of Spokane.
- Public water systems in Spokane add chlorine (a process known as "chlorination") to their water supply for the purpose of disinfection.
- Disinfection kills or inactivates harmful microorganisms which can cause illnesses such as typhoid, cholera, hepatitis and giardiasis. Sometimes water systems use chlorination for taste and odor control, iron and manganese removal, and to stop nuisance growths in wells, water pipes, storage facilities and conduits.
- Chlorine can be added to water as a gas or in the form of hypochlorite either as liquid or solid. Hypochlorite is much simpler, requires less training and is considered safer. The use of chlorine is a good choice of disinfectant for most water systems. You are exposed to chlorine in swimming pools, some pharmaceuticals, household cleaners, and public drinking water throughout the region and nation. (Most of the other large water systems in Washington chlorinate full time.)
- Some studies of human health effects from exposure to chlorinated water show an increased risk to cancer and reproductive and developmental effects. Other studies show no additional risk. (Washington State Dept. of Health, Chlorination of Drinking Water Fact Sheet, May 2004; and Vera Water Power's Drinking Water Chlorination FAQ's, July 2013)
- Most of the other large water systems in Washington chlorinate full time.
What You Can Do:
- To remove chlorine from drinking water,
- The traditional way is to fill a pitcher of water and put it in your refrigerator, uncovered, for 24 hours. The chlorine will dissipate.
- Another method of removing the chlorine is a carbon-based filter. These filters come in a variety of price ranges and are available for different points of use within your house or business. You will need to change out the filter as recommended by the manufacturer.
- If you have concerns about health issues, such as an allergy to chlorine, low sodium diets, diabetes, baby's formula, children, pregnant women, or kidney dialysis as it relates to chlorinated water, please consult with your family physician.
- If you have concerns about treating your fish tank, please visit your local fish/pet store to see what is best for your use. Many stores sell tablets to neutralize the chlorine. Chlorinated potable water should not be used for replenishing fish tanks.
- If you have concerns about using chlorinated water on plants, please visit your local plant store to inquire about the health and needs of your plants. (Vera Water Power's Drinking Water Chlorination FAQ's, July 2013)
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