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An Open Letter Calling for a Moratorium on Chloramine Use in LA’s Water Supply

  • 2 min read
I’ve been a plumber for over 40 years, but I’ve never seen anything like the levels of corrosion and disintegration in pipes and fixtures since the LADWP introduced chloramine.

Chloramine is:

  • De-zincing the brass from fixtures
  • Stripping lead from older pipes — and putting it into the customer’s water
  • Deteriorating o-rings and other rubber products in faucets and toilets causing leaking and requiring replacement at an unprecedented rate
  • New copper flaking off in water
  • Accelerating scale build up in tank and tankless water heaters
Most water supply systems used to use chlorine, a well understood, extensively tested chemical for disinfection. Under a recent EPA mandate, water suppliers were required to reduce the amount of byproducts — some of which are toxic — produced when chlorine interacted with organic compounds in unclean water. Chloramine doesn’t create as many of these byproducts, or at least the ones on the EPA’s list. So, rather than cleaning up the water, most suppliers have chosen to switch to chloramine over the last several years, including LADWP.

But… chloramine is different than chlorine.

Chloramine is produced by combining chlorine with Ammonia.

In many ways chloramine is far less effective at disinfecting (2,000 and 100,000 times less for E. Coli and rotaviruses according to WHO).

Chloramine doesn’t easily dissipate like chlorine by boiling, distilling or letting stand.

Chloramine may have disinfection by products which are more toxic than chlorine and which we’re only just beginning to understand.

Chloramine, and particularly the tri-chloramine variant, is a respiratory irritant. Research suggests that aerosolizing and heating chloriminated water vaporizes it, releasing as much as 50% to 80% of dissolved solids in the water… which we do every time we shower. (CCAC)

Chloraminated water is unsafe for fish and dialysis machines.

Ultimately chloramine is understudied. We just don’t have enough information about it. There are a lot of serious people raising questions about it, and there are a lot water suppliers assuring the public that it’s perfectly safe.

But I can tell you, from what I’m seeing every day, something is eating away at the pipes and the fixtures that our drinking water is flowing through, and I’ve never seen anything like it.

I believe we need to step back and take a hard look at this chemical. I’ll let Erin Brockovich sum it up, “Collectively, we can stop the poisoning of our drinking water supplies. Speak up, and tell your water utilities, state officials, and the EPA, ‘We are informed, we understand the issue, and we do not want you to continue contaminating our water supplies.'” (Erin Brockovich)

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