The City of Richmond will be changing the disinfectant that we use from chlorine to chloramines to disinfect its public drinking water in September 2017. This change from chlorine to chloramines is necessary as Richmond transitions to the use of legislatively mandated surface water. This transition is intended to benefit our customers by reducing the levels of regulated disinfection byproducts (DBP's) in the system, while still providing protection from waterborne disease.
However, the change from Chlorine to Chloramines can impact people dependent on dialysis machines. Chloramines, like chlorine, must be removed from the water before it can be used in kidney dialysis machines. A condition known as hemolytic anemia can occur if the disinfectant is not completely removed from the water that is used for the dialysate. Medical centers that perform dialysis are responsible for purifying the water that enters the dialysis machines. Medical centers should also determine if additional precautions are required for other medical equipment. Kidney dialysis patients should contact their physician or local kidney dialysis center for guidance on modifications to dialysis machines and procedures.
Kidney dialysis patients can still bathe, drink and cook with chloraminated water. The digestive process neutralizes the chloramines before they reach the bloodstream. It's only when water interacts directly in the bloodstream, as in dialysis, that chloramines must be removed.
Chloramines, like chlorine, must also be removed from the water before it is added to aquariums or fish ponds, including fish and lobster tanks in restaurants and stores. The ammonia used to form chloramines is toxic to fish and other aquatic life as it enters the bloodstream directly through the gills. If you have a fish tank, please make sure that the chemicals or filters that you are using are designed for use in water that has been treated with chloramines. Leaving water to sit is not a reliable method for removing chloramines from the water.
For questions concerning the change, contact Public Works at 281-342-0559.