Removing Chlorine from Municipal Water

water-dropTwo recent articles on growyourowngroceries.org have mentioned a method for removing chlorine from water that unfortunately won’t work for many people (‘Saving Water, Using Urine for Fertilizer, and Never Wasting Anything‘ and ‘Ferment Your Feed for Healthier and Happier Chickens‘). The method in question assumes that you can get the chlorine out of municipal water by allowing it to set out, open to the air, for 24 hours. That method did work when simple chlorine was used to disinfect water. However, in recent years, most water treatment plants have transitioned to using chloramines rather than chlorine to disinfect water.

The reason for the change is that chlorine will break down when exposed to air, sun, and motion; while chloramines will not break down in these same conditions. Chloramines are a combination of chlorine and ammonia. They are, of course, much more toxic to living things such as us, our animals, and our plants; and the larger environment. But they are not as effective as chlorine at disinfecting water. In fact, people with immune issues should boil chloramine-treated water for at least 10 minutes before using or consuming it.

Most water filter systems don’t remove chloramines because it takes a lot longer contact time with the carbon filter to remove the chlorine component; and then a second process is required to remove the ammonia component (reverse osmosis or cation exchange).

All this is to say that the method suggested for de-chlorinating municipal water will no longer work. Rain water is by far the best option to water our plants. For a lot more detail, including studies on chloramine’s effects on lung and mucus tissues, see this article by San Francisco’s CCAC, Citizens Concerned About Chloramine.

Click here to read Leslie Parson’s article, A Guide for Using Tap Water in Your Garden.


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  • Patrick Henry says:

    You can get the chlorine out. The fluoride is a different story.

    1. debbie says:

      Berkey has a filter you can add for chloramine.

  • Iris Weaver says:

    Very interesting and good information. However, it’s frustrating not to have more options mentioned for cleaning our water. Thank you for getting this info out there.

    1. Michael Ford says:

      Hi Iris – We’re working on some more detailed information about different methods for cleaning your water. Hope to have that ready for you soon!

  • terryg says:

    using distilled water not effective alternative…sigh, what will one do..to protect human life in addition to plants, which distill water for us, no, and usher toxins in as well

  • KenTex says:

    Shower Chlorine Filter. Bought at Home Depot, about $25-$30. I do not know if it removes the newer stuff but I have used it on my fish tank and the fish like it ok. If anyone knows more about this please reply. Thanks.

  • Sheila says:

    I believe this is vital for all of us. Just knowing about this could save lives, pets, animals, and our gardens. What else could we hope for, especially if we don’t even know that this is happening.
    I keep up, and I had no idea, and I can’t thank you enough for the information. I will be researching this from now on. Thank you SO very much.

  • Jan from the Netherlands says:

    Thank you very much, Marjory.

    I thought I knew a little bit about solving the dirty and toxic drinking and tap water problem. Happily enough you came up with Glenn Meder. After having seen and enjoyed his crystal clear webinar presentation, I now know for sure what to do about creating my own completely toxin-free drinking water. You have greatly advanced my awareness by introducing me to Glenn Meder with his mission to clean everybody’s drinking water.

    We have been searching and searching for better solutions to clean our drinking water. We have been using a German Brita water filter as an intermediate measure, yet I have always had doubts about the filter approach. Now I know why, thanks to Glenn. Of course we knew distillation could be the ultimate answer, yet many people came up with the objection about the lack of minerals in distilled water. Now we have decided to add our own minerals. I know Glenn’s Survival Still was developed for emergency situations, but I think it can also be a solution for everyday life.

    Thanks again, Marjory. You have enhanced my awareness.

    Jan from the Netherlands

    1. Thanks Jan, yes that webinar was very informative for me too. The survival still is not optimized for everyday use…. and I am sure glad I have one.

    2. cee xee says:

      Chloramines are generally used in the United States. Much of the world uses UV, or in some cases no disinfectant. Honestly, you might not even have to worry about this in the Netherlands. Best thing to do is just check with your water provider. They could give you a good answer to which methods they use.

  • Carivan says:

    I’ve read that Vitamin C might be able to neutralize chloramines. I would search it on the web to see what you can come up with.

    1. Michael Ford says:

      Hi, Carivan. Leslie Parsons just published a good article titled A Guide for Using Tap Water in Your Garden on GrowYourOwnGroceries.org. She included some information on using vitamin C to neutralize chloramines there. Thanks – Michael

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