Water Treatment Plant Pilot Study will begin March 29.

By Linda Bock (Patch Staff) Danvers Patch March 27, 2015

In October 2009, the Town of Danvers implemented the use of chloramines as the secondary disinfectant for the Town’s water supply. The use of chloramines is a result of a settlement agreement with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection due to a violation of trihalomethanes (THM) within the distribution system.

During the past several years, the use of chloramines in the Danvers Water System has proven not to be compatible with the Town’s water supply sources and distribution system causing taste, odor and color issues despite test results show the Town has been in compliance for THM levels, according to town officials.

With the completion of the renovations to the Water Treatment Plant in 2014, the Town approached the state’s Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a pilot study to utilize the Ozone System as the initial primary disinfectant and sodium hypochlorite as the final disinfectant. As the initial disinfectant of the incoming water into the plant prior to the treatment filtration processes, the use of ozone eliminates any THM generation during the Treatment Process. Sodium hypochlorite (liquid chlorine) is necessary to provide final disinfection of the treated water as it is pumped into the water distribution system.

The pilot study received DEP’s approval in mid-March 2015 and the pilot test will be started during the week of March 29. While the study is intended to end in June 2015, the test may be extended should THM sampling results show that the THM levels are well below EPA standards. If successful and DEP approves, the use of chloramines will be discontinued.

The Treatment Plant staff will be closely monitoring and sampling the water distribution system during this test with the results transmitted to DEP for review.

For questions concerning this testing, call the Danvers Water Treatment Plant at (978) 774-5054.

Photo Credit: http://www.danvers.govoffice.com

Littice Bacon-Blood, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune By Littice Bacon-Blood, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
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on October 20, 2014 at 7:00 PM, updated October 20, 2014 at 8:01 PM

Two employees of the St. John the Baptist Parish Utilities Department were indicted Monday on charges of lying and falsifying data about a public water system infected with a brain-eating amoeba. They were given 24 hours to surrender for arrest.

Kevin Branch, 54, of LaPlace and Danielle Roussel, 43, of Paulina were supposed to collect water samples daily at the Lions treatment plant in Reserve and at the other end of the system in Mount Airy, to ensure the water met the state minimum of 0.5 milligrams of chlorine per liter of water. They completed testing logs that were sent to the state Department of Health and Hospitals.

But the global positioning systems on their parish vehicles showed they were not near the sampling sites on several of the dates and times they indicated on the logs, according to the indictment, handed up by a parish grand jury in Edgard. It charged them with malfeasance in office and filing false public records between Aug. 1 and Aug. 27.

The later date is when state health officials announced the presence of the potentially deadly Naegleria fowleri amoeba in the Lions system, which serves almost 13,000 residents in Reserve, Garyville, Mount Airy and a small part of LaPlace, and issued an emergency order for increased chlorination. Their conclusion was based on their own water samples, taken Aug. 12.

Discovery of the amoeba rattled St. John Parish, with residents and Parish Council members repeatedly demanding answers from Parish President Natalie Robottom’s administration. Robottom and state health officials said the water was safe for drinking and bathing, for the amoeba poses a health threat only if contaminated water were to enter the nasal cavity.

The state health department’s samples showed not only the amoeba in the system but no chlorine at all. Health officials asked State Police to investigate, because the parish reports prior to Aug. 12 never indicated that the water system was out of compliance for chlorine levels.

According to the indictment, Branch said he collected and logged 25 samples from the Lions treatment plant, where chlorine is added to the water system, and 23 samples at the Mount Airy site, farthest from the plant. But the indictment says Branch’s vehicle did not stop at the Reserve site on seven of the 25 days and did not stop at the Mount Airy site on at least 13 of the days. Roussel indicated she collected four samples at Mount Airy, according to the indictment, but her vehicle’s data supports her story on only three of those days.

In addition, the indictment charges that Branch falsified testing times on 16 of the 23 samples at the Mount Airy site and 14 of the 25 times at the Reserve plant site. Roussel, the indictment states, falsified testing times on two out of four samples at the Mount Airy site and one of two samples at the Reserve site.

Robottom released a brief statement saying she will review the latest developments in the case with legal counsel. “While I am disappointed in the events associated with the emergency order, I remain committed to taking all actions necessary to make sure our water is safe and to prevent this from happening again.”

St. John Parish is currently in the middle of a 60-day, state-ordered “chlorine burn,” in which the water system is being flushed with pure chlorine to eliminate the amoeba and clean the distribution pipes. The burn is expected to be complete by mid-November, but state health officials have said that they think the amoeba already has been eradicated because of the high chlorine levels.

After the burn is complete, the state will test the system again for the amoeba.

N.O. Indictment

Posted by: chloraminewater | November 21, 2014

$3 Million Fine Proposed for San Mateo Fish Kill

Water treated with chloramines, a common disinfectant for drinking water that is deadly to fish, spilled into a creek.

By Updated November 20, 2014 at 3:02 pm


A water company could be facing a penalty of more than $3 million for spilling 8 million gallons of drinking water into a San Mateo creek over three days last year, killing at least 276 fish.

The California Water Quality Control Board on Monday announced the proposed penalty against California Water Service Co., a San Jose-based company serving drinking water to more than 473,000 California residents.

The proposed penalty of $3,060,700 would be the largest the agency had ever handed down.

It took days for Cal Water to detect the spill and even longer for the company to realize the magnitude. The leak in a cracked bell joint went undetected for three days from Oct. 25-28, 2013, leaking an estimated 8,207,560 gallons of water treated with chloramines, a common disinfectant for drinking water that is deadly to fish.

On Oct. 25, a worker at the San Mateo facility noticed a drop in water pressure, but concluded it was from algae blooms that had been clogging filters controlled by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, a problem that had been going on for months, according to Cal Water spokeswoman Shannon Dean.

Cal Water did not contact SFPUC about the recorded pressure drop, according to the water board’s civil complaint filed Monday. It wasn’t until four days later that SFPUC biologists noticed dead fish downstream from the facility and alerted the water board.

The board sent investigators who surveyed the creek bed and followed the creek upstream, finding dead fish along the way to the broken joint.

According to the water board, the water was gushing at a rate of 2,280 gallons per minute, nearly seven times more than the usual creek flow, and had caused significant erosion to the streambed and banks.

Dean said the leak happened mostly underground so there was little visible evidence for the full extent of the leak, but the water board report said that while the extent of the damage was difficult to see from a passing vehicle because of thick vegetation and the steep surrounding banks, it was obvious to an observer standing in the creek bed.

When, on Oct. 29, Cal Water did report the leak, the company drastically underestimated the amount of water spilled at only 43,200 gallons, and estimated the leak had gone on for only one day, according to the complaint.

The company became aware of the leak on Oct. 28 and shut off the water and used dechlorination tablets to clean the creek but did not inspect as far downstream as had been damaged.

Dead fish were found more than a mile downstream.

The water board said that Cal Water’s cooperation in the investigation was poor, and that a week after shutting off the valve the company still estimated that only 43,200 gallons had been spilled, a figure that the water board said could not be accurate because of the significant erosion and number of dead fish.

In mid-November, ordered by the water board to review its findings, the company revised its estimate to say that more than 8.2 million gallons had been spilled.

Dean said that the company does not agree with all the facts as described in the water board’s complaint and that staff from Cal Water and the water board will meet over the coming months to discuss their findings.

Whether the company will challenge or seek to lower the penalty at a Feb. 11 hearing in Oakland will depend on what conclusions are reached during those meetings, she said.

“We are very committed to protecting the environment while providing safe water to our customers,” Dean said.

In the meantime, the company is taking steps to revise its processes for dealing with leaks and reporting, establishing new reporting procedures and installing new equipment for automated flow checks to catch leaks sooner, she said.

Cal Water is also seeking CPUC approval to replace some of its aging water mains.

“Every water provider must add a disinfectant, every water provider is going to have main leaks, particularly in areas like this that are seismically active,” Dean said. “The bigger picture is how do water providers deal with this.”

–Bay City News

–File Photo Credit: Citizens Concerned About Chloramine

Posted by: chloraminewater | July 3, 2014

City takes preliminary look at water filtration systems

by Leila Kheiry – KRBD Ketchikan, AK

July 2, 2014 1:58 PM

It’s still preliminary, but the City of Ketchikan is looking into filtration as an option for treating its water. Filtration would solve some of the city’s recent water woes, but it wouldn’t necessarily mean the end to chemical disinfection.


Ketchikan’s city government has tried for many years – and still is trying – to avoid building an expensive filtration plant. But it’s getting harder, as federal regulations related to disinfection byproducts get more stringent.

In addition, the city’s raw source water – Ketchikan Lakes – has been testing above allowed levels for the bacteria coliform.

Coliform is destroyed by the city’s treatment process, but the Environmental Protection Agency still requires untreated water to test below a certain level in unfiltered systems. If the city can’t figure out how to get the levels down, it’s going to have to filter.

So, the City Council recently asked for a report on options for filtration systems. Water Division Manager John Kleinegger’s response has two options. One is a conventional filtration plant, which could cost an estimated $35 million. Then there is a relatively new technology – membrane microfiltration.

“Basically, from my standpoint, it’s a possibility and we would certainly want to study it,” Kleinegger said in a Wednesday interview.

Membrane microfiltration is not cheap, by any means. But, the basic equipment for such a system is not too bad – especially compared to the conventional filtration plant. Hard numbers aren’t yet available, but here’s rough idea:

“The cost just for the microfiltration equipment themselves is about a dollar per gallon, and we need to have the capability of providing at our peak season, about nine and a half million gallons per day,” Kleinegger said.

So, $9.5 million. Read More…

Posted by: chloraminewater | July 3, 2014

Is your water making you sick?

by Community Word Staff • July 2, 2014 •
Lauri Gannon – Peoria, IL

Have you recently been suffering from a compromised immune system, respiratory difficulties, congestion, coughing, sneezing, increased allergies, or skin ailments such as itching, roughness, blistering, etc.? Have the fish in your backyard pond died in the past few weeks? If so, you might want to contact Illinois American Water Company, who says they take their orders, ultimately, from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency – a misnomer, if ever there were one, and a taxpayer supported “agency” composed of politicians who obviously care nothing for either the environment OR our health – and ask why they are adding chloramine to your water, and just how much of that toxic concoction is being piped into your home.
Chloramine, a “disinfecting agent” proven to be highly inferior to less-toxic simple chlorine as a pathogen killer, is a poisonous combination of chlorine and ammonia. Once added to your home’s water supply nothing but a VERY expensive whole-house reverse osmosis $10,000 – $15,000 water filtration system will take it out. I can’t afford that. Can you? If it goes into the blood vessels of fish and kills them overnight, what does it do to us? “Good question,” you might say. “Where is the evidence, I.E.P.A., and Illinois American Water Company, that it isn’t harming the health of us and our pets?” Another good question! Funny thing, though. There isn’t any such objective study indicating that it isn’t harming we who are forced to drink it, cook with it, launder in it, bathe in it, and wash our infants in it. There are, however, countless published studies examining the deleterious effects of chloramine – on plumbing (causing pitting of lead pipes that can lead to the formation of dangerous molds), on the environment, and on human and companion animal health – none of it good.
Proponents of this particular method of “water NONpurification” will have reasons for adding this to the water to which they subject us. None of those reasons are, ultimately, for our benefit. As always, follow the money. It’s cheaper to pump a less effective “disinfectant” to outlying areas than to pump chlorine. Has YOUR water bill gone down to reflect this money-saving maneuver? Mine hasn’t!
The next time your water bill arrives, you might want to look into what, exactly, you are paying for, and what you and your family are being forced to ingest. Many chloramine-informative websites are available online. Citizens Concerned About Chloramine, http://chloramine.org/chloraminefacts.htm#effectsofchloramine, will give you information that probably won’t be shared with you by our local water company.
And, on the topic of clean water, the fluoride that is pumped into our water supply – falsely hyped to “strengthen teeth” – has officially been classified as a NEUROTOXIN by The Lancet, the world’s best-known and most well-respected peer reviewed medical journal.
We can do something positive to protect the health of our children, our animals, and ourselves. Contact the I.E.P.A., Water Quality, at 1021 N. Grand Ave., East, Springfield, IL 62794, and the American Water Works Company – the corporate headquarters of IL American Water – whose website reads: “Our commitment to the environment extends beyond the quality of our water into the heart of who we are – your local water company. We are stewards of the communities we serve, and we are proud of the role we play in protecting your surroundings.” They can be reached at American Water, Quality Control, 1025 Laurel Oak Road, Voorhees, NJ 08043, 856-346-8200, and demand that the water company stop harming our health! We are paying for healthful water. We aren’t getting what we pay for!

Tags: letter to the editor water quality

Posted by: chloraminewater | April 25, 2014

Breaking News: Anti-chloramine petition denied on legal grounds


by Maria Dudzak – Ketchikan, AK,  KRBD Community FM Radio

April 24, 2014 5:56 PM

City of Ketchikan voters will not be heading to the polls to decide whether or not they support the city’s new municipal water treatment system. The anti-chloramine ballot proposition has been denied on legal grounds.
Of the 623 signatures on the petition, 492 were deemed valid. It’s more than enough, but the city attorney says the ballot language proposes an ordinance that’s not enforceable.

According to the decision, “The proposed ordinance relates to administrative matters which are not subject to the initiative process.”

The ballot prop, if voters supported it, called for the city to stop using chloramine to disinfect the city’s public water supply within a month.

City of Ketchikan attorney Mitch Seaver argues that means the city would be out of EPA compliance until a new facility is built, which could take years and could lead to significant fines for the city.

The city attorney also argues that the proposed ordinance is administrative, and an initiative process isn’t appropriate.

The group sponsoring the initiative – United Citizens for Better Water – was contacted for comment. A response was posted to their Facebook page.
“We are saddened by the turn of events, but we are not surprised by it as our City officials have already spent a tremendous amount of money to fight us. It is a long document that we were sent and it will take us a little while to review it. We are seeking outside assistance at this time.

One thing is certain, we are not done fighting and our City officials have just polarized many of those they are supposed to represent.”

Posted by: chloraminewater | April 25, 2014

School Board postpones chloramine resolution indefinitely


by Maria Dudzak – KRBD Ketchikan FM Community Radio

April 24, 2014 5:51 PM

NOTE: Discussion on this issue occurred prior to a decision being issued on the anti-chloramine petition. Late Thursday City Attorney Mitch Seaver released his findings, stating the initiative was legally insufficient. The issue therefore will not be brought before voters.

On Wednesday night, the Ketchikan School Board voted to indefinitely postpone a resolution taking a stance on the use of chloramine in city water. The City of Ketchikan switched to a chloramine disinfection system earlier this month.

The proposed resolution was prepared by School Board member Trevor Shaw. Shaw says there is a lot of conflicting research and the use of chloramines is a personal issue. He says he drafted the statement after a public request for the school board take a stance.

City water is used in many school buildings, and the Gateway Aquatic Center is often used for school programs. The resolution states that the School Board takes no official position. Shaw made the motion to postpone.
“I think it could be a dangerous precedent to set as to how we are going to tell other governmental bodies to do their work. For example the City Council wants to tell us how to run our schools or the City Council wants to tell the Borough how to do this or the Borough wants to tell us how to do that. We talk about micromanaging and I feel that the city did this because it was the most viable option, and the voters will make their decision. That’s a personal decision that has to be made. That’s why I ask that we postpone this indefinitely.”
Several board members agreed with Shaw and felt the issue would be decided by voters. School Board member Ralph Beardsworth says this is a city issue and the school board should not interfere.
Student member Evan Wick says the proposed resolution fails to address the public request.

“I think it would be appropriate for the board to take a position on this issue because of the impact it has on our schools. I’ll come right out here and say I haven’t drank any water from the school since they have started putting into the system. I believe that the board should take a position because we’ve been asked by the public to do so.”
Board member Collen Scanlon says she is not comfortable telling the city what to do. She says only one person has spoken publicly to the School Board about the issue.
“I don’t know where I stand on this yet, and I certainly haven’t gotten any phone calls from constituents saying ‘I want you to do this for our schools.’ For that reason I can’t support taking a position at this time. I don’t have enough information. This issue did go before the voters of this community 10 years ago when the bond was approved, and it’s happened. We can take a position, but it’s not going to change anything.”
The motion to postpone the resolution indefinitely passed with Wick and Board members Stephen Bradford and Michelle O’Brien voting against postponement.



Posted by: chloraminewater | April 19, 2014

Council OKs $100K more for water consultant

by Leila Kheiry – KRBD Ketchikan, AK

April 18, 2014 3:27 PM

Following a somewhat heated public hearing on the issue Thursday, the Ketchikan City Council unanimously approved a budget amendment to provide an extra $100,000 for the city’s contract with engineering consultants CH2MHill.

Members of the public speaking against the budget amendment questioned the need to use CH2MHill for certain activities, such an answering concerns from the public about the city’s new chloramine water treatment system, which was turned on April 7th.

Jeannie Wills told the Council that city staff should be able to answer the questions themselves. Wills adds that she believes CH2MHill is biased in favor of the use of chloramine.

“I wonder if it would have been better to get a different third party and not the person that you paid all that money to build that plant,” she said. “It just seems like there is this huge conflict of interest there.”

Council Member Bob Sivertsen responded that a different firm would need to spend significant time studying the background, and learning all about the project before it would be able to answer any questions.

Speaking of background, here’s a little information for those who might not be familiar with the issue. For many years, the city’s water treatment system has been using free chlorine – essentially bleach – to kill organisms in the water that can make people sick. Unfortunately, when chlorine comes into contact with organic material, it produces byproducts. Some of those byproducts are regulated by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, because studies have indicated that they can cause cancer.

Ketchikan’s water had too many of those regulated byproducts, and the EPA told the city it needed to do something to reduce the levels. There were options. One was a filtration plant, but the cost estimate was high – somewhere in the range of $30 million. The other was a combination of chloramine and ultraviolet light.

Chloramine is chlorine mixed with a small amount of ammonia. It also produces some of those regulated byproducts, but not usually as many. It also was a lot less expensive to build that system, so that’s what the city chose to do.

That was about 10 years ago. This winter, the city announced it was ready to turn the new system on, and that’s when a group formed to oppose the switch. United Citizens for Better Water members are worried mostly about the health effects of chloramine. They got a petition to put the issue on the ballot, collected signatures and turned it in. The city is in the middle of reviewing that petition, to make sure it passes legal muster.

That brings us to the present. Because of the public opposition, the city used CH2MHill’s services more than anticipated, and the money in the contract was used up. City officials said they’ll need the firm’s guidance through fall, at least, which is why they wanted the $100,000 budget adjustment.

Amanda Mitchell, who spearheads the United Citizens group, said she’s concerned about at least a couple of the items listed under CH2MHill’s proposed scope of work. One is assistance with the petition review.

“Why does CH2MHill think that they need to review our citizen initiative?” she said. “They’re not involved in our local ordinances, and we’re looking at paying them $10,000 to fight against us wanting to vote on this. That’s kind of disturbing.”

City Mayor Lew Williams III responded that the only person who will make the decision about the petition is the city attorney. But, the attorney might have technical questions, and needs to be able to get answers from an expert.

City Manager Karl Amylon added that the $10,000 is a placeholder, and the city may well not spend that much for the attorney’s technical advice.

“Money will not be borrowed unless expenses are incurred,” he said. “In terms of the technical support that CH2MHill will provide to the city attorney in this context, they’re the experts on the design of the plant. They didn’t build the plant, they designed it. If the city attorney needs their assistance to answer questions he has, that’s what this money is intended for. It may or may not be expended.”

Amylon added that it is common for municipal governments to hire professional firms to provide expertise in specific areas.

A couple more people spoke during public comment about chloramine, asking the Council to rethink its decision. One, Sally Balch, said she’s been testing her water and it appears that the pH level had risen since the city started chloramine. She said she would like clear, simple answers from city officials.

“If I really felt, heart to heart, that it was safe for us, I wouldn’t oppose it, because I trust you guys. I really do,” she said. “I voted for most of you guys to be here, because I believe in what you’re doing.”

But, she said, the Council should take a step back and rethink the decision about chloramine.

Later, during Council discussion of the budget amendment, Williams asked  City Attorney Mitch Seaver to explain how he would use CH2MHill for the petition review.

“I have most of the information I think I’m going to require from Mr. Kleinegger,” Seaver said. “There are some technical and complex issue that I want to be able to speak with CH2MHill. I don’t foresee it being anywhere near the amount in this estimate.”

The budget amendment passed unanimously.

During Council comments at the end of the meeting, Council Member Marty West noted that the city of Portland, Oregon, is known for its environmental conscientiousness.

“I was noticing a news item today that they are going to discharge 38 million gallons of water from their reservoir because they found that a guy peed in it,” she said. “So, they take their water purity and quality extremely seriously. And they also have chloraminated water.”

If the ballot initiative proposed by the anti-chloramine group is approved by the city, it would go before voters within two months. If city voters then chose to prohibit the use of chloramine, the city likely would have to move forward with filtration.

The city’s legal review of the ballot initiative petition must be completed by May 2nd.

The chloramine issue is moving beyond city limits. At the prompting of people opposed to chloramine, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly has scheduled a presentation about the water treatment process for its next meeting; and the Ketchikan School Board is supposed to talk about the issue, as well.

Posted by: chloraminewater | April 19, 2014

Council to consider $100K more for CH2MHill

by Leila Kheiry – KRBD Ketchikan, AK

April 16, 2014 3:21 PM

The Ketchikan City Council meets in regular session Thursday, and on the agenda is a $100,000 addition to the city’s contract with engineering consultants CH2MHill. That firm has been working with the city on the decade-long process to convert the public water treatment system from free chlorine to a combination of UV light and chloramine.

According to Water Division Manager John Kleinegger, public opposition to the change that arose early this year led to the city using CH2MHill’s services more than anticipated.

Specifically, Kleinegger noted in a memo that the firm helped the City Council and city staff respond to citizen concerns; requested letters from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the American Water Works Association showing support for chloramine treatment; and provided assistance in refuting information in a letter to the mayor from national consumer advocate Erin Brokovich.

Representatives from CH2MHill also attended three Council meetings to provide information about chloramine water disinfection, and provided updated cost estimates in case the city needs to develop another treatment system.

A ballot initiative petition was turned in two weeks ago by a group that opposes the city’s use of chloramine. If it passes the city’s legal review, city voters would be asked to decide whether to prohibit chloramine in the public water system.

The city turned on the new chloramine disinfection system last week. The city has an interim permit to operate the chloramine/UV facility, and that permit expires Sept. 30th. The city must prove that it has met all regulations, and answered all state DEC concerns before final approval will be given.

Kleinegger noted that CH2MHill’s assistance likely will be needed during that interim period. In a memo to Kleinegger, the firm’s vice president and project manager, Floyd Damron, wrote that CH2MHill also would assist the city attorney with any questions he might have for his legal review of the ballot proposition petition, at an estimated cost of up to $10,000.

If the additional $100,000 is approved, the CH2MHill contract with the city will total $1.375 million.

Also Thursday, the Council will talk about whether to move forward with a fence along the Third Avenue Bypass, to discourage people from throwing items down the hill into residential areas.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in City Council chambers. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.

Posted by: chloraminewater | April 9, 2014

Today’s must-read letter — Published April 9, 2014



April 09, 2014 12:00 AM

A reader on March 28 expressed concerns regarding the future deployment of the chloramine water disinfection process at the North Stockton Water Treatment Plant. What was not mentioned was that the chloramine produces lower levels of the undesirable carcinogens trihalomethanes than does the older chlorination process.

Also not mentioned in the letter was the fact that all major Bay Area water districts (San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, East Bay Municipal District, Marin Municipal Water District and Santa Clara Valley Water District) have switched from chlorine to chloramine for drinking water disinfection.

This widespread use of chloramines is noted in a Stanford University publication, “Domestic Water Disinfection Using Chloramines,” which is readily available online.

The Stanford publication is a good read for getting informed before deciding to “storm the Bastile” (aka the City Council).

John Whipple



  • Ellen Powell

Yes, chloramine produces two disinfection byproducts (DBPs) at lower levels of the undesirable carcinogens trihalomethanes than does the older chlorination process. However, chloramine produces its own (unregulated) DBPs, several of which are up to 10,000x more toxic than chlorine’s regulated DBPs. To name a few: dimethylnitrosamine and nitrosamines. Iodoacetic acids are another of chloramine’s unregulated DBPs, and in fact are the most toxic ever to be found of all water disinfection DBPs. They change DNA. It will be a crap shoot on which of chloramine’s DBPs the community will be unknowingly exposed to. And no one is required to test for chloramine’s DBPs because they are unregulated. 

Three hundred people in my water district were documented by a group of concerned citizens who had developed skin, respiratory and/or respiratory symptoms after the switch to chloramine here. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, we believe. These people had no idea they were being exposed to chloramine instead of chlorine. Those with severe symptoms, about 65, went completely off the water and for completely better, including me. It’s extremely hard to avoid tap water and takes a lot of effort and money. 

I suggest going to www.chloramine.org, the website of the oldest citizens group in the U.S. fighting chloramine, the the San Francisco Bay area ((San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, East Bay Municipal District, Marin Municipal Water District and Santa Clara Valley Water District). They have documented many hundreds or thousands of people who come down with the skin, respiratory and/or digestive symptoms after chloramine went in there. It is readily available, and is a good read for getting informed before deciding to “storm the Bastile” (aka the City Council).

  • Annette Smith

Hundreds of San Francisco area residents have become sick from chloraminated water. Same for Vermont’s largest system. Just because something is widely used doesn’t make it okay, especially when EPA admits that the health studies that were recommended by EPA scientists in the 1970s were never done. Chloramine is harmful to human health, highly toxic to aquatic life, and the wrong direction to go when disinfecting water. Address the problem at the source rather than adding chemicals at the back end, especially a nitrogenous toxin like ammonia.

  • Robert Bowcock

This reader is completely misinformed. Chloramine produces more toxic disinfection byproducts than chlorine. The USEPA Best Available Technology calls for reducing the organics in water that form with both chlorine and chloramine. Masking the reaction of chlorine by adding ammonia to drinking water causes serious illness, property damage, water system fouling, lost system security and is just wrong. Chloramine is more persistent but less reactive… water systems across the country that did try chloramine are switching back permanently and seasonally…literally everyday. 

Citing a “Public Notice” flier from the Stanford University Utilities Division as a scientific study… required because they are a customer of San Francisco PUC is ridiculous…pathetic and sad. 

The water quality situation in Stockton is not even remotely comparative to that of the San Francisco PUC. Let’s get our facts straight…Stockton’s proposed conversion to chloramine is ill informed and frighteningly dangerous.

Posted by: chloraminewater | April 9, 2014

KPU starts chlormaine water disinfection system


by Leila Kheiry KRBD Ketchikan, AK

April 8, 2014 4:58 PM


A listener sent us this shot of water flushing into Hoadley Creek near Tongass Avenue. KPU crews were flushing the water distribution system today as part of the switch to chloramine disinfection.

Ketchikan Public Utilities Water Division started its new water disinfection system Monday night. Water Division Manager John Kleinegger said ammonia was added to the entry point of the 3-million-gallon Bear Valley Reservoir, and the newly treated water has been making its way through.

Kleinegger said they took samples for testing, and he has tasted it, as well.

“I’m certainly pleased to say that the water, to me at least, tastes just about the same as it always has,” he said.

He said chloramine-treated water will first show up in the Bear Valley area, and then will move down Schoenbar Road toward downtown and Tongass Avenue. Some neighborhoods, such as those above Baranof in the Carlanna area, won’t get chloramine-treated water until later in the week, because of the time it takes for water to move through the system.

KPU crews will be flushing water mains to speed up that process. Kleinegger encourages residents to flush their own pipes, as well.

That would be wise,” he said. “Probably the best valve to flush out a person’s service line would be to open the cold-water line on their bathtub.”

He said there can be a stronger chlorine smell when chloraminated water contacts water that has been treated with only chlorine. But, Kleinegger said he hasn’t noticed that.

“Thus far, at least, the water that I’m drinking right now really has no discernable difference,” he said. “I’m very pleased about that.”

Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and a small amount of ammonia. The city has used chlorine alone as the primary disinfectant, but because of high levels of regulated byproducts in Ketchikan’s water, the federal Environmental Protection Agency required the city to make some kind of change.

The city chose chloramine, and has been working toward the new system for about a decade.

There is a citizen effort under way to place a ballot question in front of voters, asking them to prohibit the city from using chloramine. The completed petition is still under review by city officials.


Posted by: chloraminewater | April 9, 2014

Bad weather delays chloramine switch


by Leila Kheiry – KRBD Ketchikan, AK

April 7, 2014 2:34 PM

An engineer who was going to assist Ketchikan Public Utilities in its switch to chloramine water disinfection wasn’t able to land Monday morning because of weather, and ended up in Wrangell.

Water Division Manager John Kleinegger says the engineer landed in time to catch an Alaska Marine Highway System ferry headed toward Ketchikan, and was due to arrive Monday evening.

Kleinegger says the utility might start adding ammonia to the system Monday evening, or perhaps Tuesday evening.

He says chloramine-treated water will first show up in the Bear Valley area, and then will move down Schoenbar Road toward downtown. Some neighborhoods, such as those above Baranof in the Carlanna area, won’t get chloramine-treated water until later in the week, because of the time it takes for the water to move through the system.

Chloramine is a mixture of chlorine and a small amount of ammonia. The city uses chlorine as the primary disinfectant now, but because of high levels of regulated byproducts in Ketchikan’s water, the federal Environmental Protection Agency is requiring that the city make some kind of change.

The city chose chloramine, and has been working toward the new system for about a decade.

A group called United Citizens for Better Water formed this winter to oppose the switch, primarily citing concerns over possible health effects. That group is spearheading a ballot initiative process that, if approved, would ask voters to prohibit the city from using chloramine.

Posted by: chloraminewater | April 9, 2014

Chloramine petition review still under way


by Leila Kheiry – KRBD Ketchikan, AK

April 4, 2014 5:01 PM

At deadline Friday, a petition to place the chloramine water treatment issue in front of City of Ketchikan voters still was undergoing a review by the city clerk and attorney.

Petition sponsors turned in the petition on Wednesday, and say they collected 622 signatures. They needed 356 signatures of registered city voters. As of Friday afternoon, the clerk was still reviewing the signatures to make sure they fell under those regulations.

Even if sponsors have enough valid signatures, the petition still must make it past a legal review, which likely won’t be completed for at least another week.

If it is approved, the city must schedule a vote on the initiative within two months. The ballot question would ask city voters whether to prohibit the city from using chloramine as a water disinfection treatment.

While the initiative process moves forward, the city continues with plans to start the chloramine system on Monday. The city has been moving toward that process for about 10 years.

A group called United Citizens for Better Water formed this winter to oppose the switch, primarily citing concerns over the possible health effects of chloramine. That group is spearheading the ballot initiative process.


Posted by: chloraminewater | April 9, 2014

Hospital expansion project enters Phase One

Hospital expansion project enters Phase One

by Leila Kheiry – KRBD Ketchikan, AK

April 4, 2014 2:08 PM

Ketchikan Medical Center was the central theme of Thursday’s Ketchikan City Council meeting, along with some public comment about the ongoing chloramine water disinfection controversy.

Phase one of the long-planned hospital remodel project is about to start, and as with every big construction project – especially those that will take place on the primary road in the middle of the busy summer tourism season — there have been concerns about the impact.

Jim Quick, project manager with Dawson Construction, talked to the Ketchikan City Council during public comment about how his company plans to minimize that impact. He said the only closures will be a parking lane and the sidewalk right next to the hospital.

“One thing I want to make sure everyone is aware of is the norm is that we are not going to be impacting traffic along Tongass Avenue at all,” he said. “All three lanes, both directions and turn lane, will not be impacted during normal operations of the project.”

Quick said there will be some moments during the project when vehicle traffic will be affected because of utility work, for example, but they will be of short duration.

“And we’ll be making every effort to time that on off hours, and periods of low traffic flow, and does not affect busy times of traffic,” he said.

Also related to the hospital expansion project is the relocation of the Ketchikan Alcohol Rehabilitation facility, also called KAR House. The facility is run by Akeela, Inc., a nonprofit that also operates the former city-run Gateway Center for Human Services.

The Ketchikan City Council unanimously approved an agreement with Akeela and PeaceHealth, which operates the city-owned hospital building. In that agreement, PeaceHealth will donate a Washington Street building for use as the rehab center, plus $100,000 to help with remodeling. The city will provide $300,000 toward remodeling the property, and – after an amendment suggested by Council Member Matt Olsen – will waive the usual permit processing fees.

Akeela will pay the balance of the estimated $750,000 remodel. The move is needed because the current KAR House is in the way of the planned hospital expansion.

Following an executive session to talk about title issues related to the hospital, the Council approved a motion to apply for a zoning permit to obtain clear title for part of the property that is in question. They also approved several contracts moving the hospital remodel project forward.

While the issue wasn’t on the agenda, three people spoke during public comment about the city’s plans to start chloramine water disinfection. Bill Hardy said he respects the Council’s commitment to the community, but he doesn’t think the city made the right choice.

“I have listened, researched, become informed, assessed the options and have arrived at my own informed decision on this issue,” he said. “This is my opinion, advice and counsel to you, the mayor, management and Council. I do not think that the city has made its case to introduce chloramine to treat our water.”

Sally Balch told the Council that she and her mother are both allergic to ammonia. And MJ Cadle expressed concern for how the switch will affect people, such as herself and her granddaughter, who are sensitive to chemicals. Read More…

Posted by: chloraminewater | April 9, 2014

Anti-chloramine petition turned in at City Hall


Anti-chloramine petition turned in at City Hall

by Leila Kheiry, KRBD Ketchikan, AK

April 2, 2014 1:48 PM


Ketchikan is seen from the water on a beautiful sunny day.

A petition to place the chloramine water treatment issue in front of city voters was turned in at Ketchikan City Hall Wednesday.

If all of the estimated 622 signatures belong to registered city voters, that’s well above the required 356 needed for the petition to pass the first hurdle.

City Clerk Katy Suiter says it will take at least a couple of days to verify the signatures. If there are enough valid signatures, the city attorney then will review it to make sure the proposed ballot initiative language passes legal muster.

If it survives both reviews, the city must put the initiative before voters within two months. The initiative would ask city voters to prohibit Ketchikan Public Utilities from using chloramine – a mixture of chlorine and ammonia – as part of its water treatment system.

The city has been moving toward a chloramine treatment system for about 10 years. A group called United Citizens for Better Water formed this winter to oppose the switch.

While the initiative process continues, the city is moving ahead with plans to start that new treatment next week. In a memo to the Ketchikan City Council, Water Division Manager John Kleinegger writes that the process will take about five days. It involves testing the equipment and flushing pipes as the new disinfection mixture is distributed throughout Ketchikan’s water system.

Kleinegger’s memo was part of the Ketchikan City Council meeting agenda, although there is no action item on the agenda related to chloramine.

During that meeting, the Council will consider an agreement with Akeela, Inc., to help relocate the Ketchikan Alcohol Rehabilitation House to property on Washington Street donated by PeaceHealth for that purpose.

PeaceHealth also would provide $100,000 to help with the move, according to the agreement. The city would provide $300,000. The estimated cost to renovate the donated building is $747,500.

The Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. Thursday in City Council chambers. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.

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Posted by: chloraminewater | March 22, 2014

City Council votes in favor of chloramination


City Council votes in favor of chloramination

by Leila Kheiry KRBD Ketchikan, AK

March 21, 2014 2:26 PM


After nearly two hours of public comment Thursday against the city’s plan to switch its water disinfection system from free chlorine to chloramine, the Ketchikan City Council voted to turn on the chloramine portion of the disinfection system on or after April 7.

Anger, frustration and fear were the overriding emotions during the long public comment period. About a dozen people spoke, and many more murmured from the audience. None supported the city’s decision to switch to chloramine – which is chlorine combined with a small amount of ammonia.

The city has been working toward this switch for about a decade, and while there were articles, advertisements and public meetings about the change, many people say they didn’t realize it was going to happen until just recently. A group called United Citizens for Better Water formed within the last two months to rally support against the change to chloramine.

Amanda Mitchell is the primary organizer of the group, which is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative that, if approved, would prohibit the city from using chloramine.

“This is not just about chloramination and adding ammonia for our disinfection,” she said. “This is about our choice to direct what we consume. What do you think? Do we have a right to choose? So I’m going to ask that you guys hold off on putting the ammonia into our water until we can find out this ballot issue.”

Mitchell’s comments turned into a conversation. Council Member Marty West said the federal Environmental Protection Agency is mandating that the city change its water disinfection system because of high levels of regulated byproducts formed by chlorine-only disinfection.

Council Member Bob Siversten then noted that there was an election, in which city voters approved bonds to pay for the new water treatment system. He said he supports clean water, but his definition is different.

“Chloramination has been used 90 years all over the United States,” he said. “It’s increasing in use, to meet the federal standards. We’re following good science. I have children, I have family in this town, I have grandchildren. If you think I’m going to put something in that’s going to harm them? It’s not going to happen. “

Mitchell then asked the Council to sponsor a forum to get more information out to the community. West responded that the city had forums, and the only alternative that would work for Ketchikan would be a filtration plant. Read More…

Posted by: chloraminewater | March 20, 2014

City Council to decide chloramine start date


City Council to decide chloramine start date

by Leila Kheiry – KRBD

March 19, 2014 2:19 PM

A motion that would set an April 7th start date for the city’s new chloramine water disinfection system is on the Ketchikan City Council agenda for Thursday.

The city has been planning the new treatment system, which also incorporates ultraviolet light, for about 10 years. There were some construction delays, and then the city had to wait for a state permit to operate the system. That was issued last October, but the city decided to wait until spring to turn on the chloramine part of the treatment.

Because it will be a new system, and because water treated with chloramine – a mixture of chlorine and ammonia – should not be used in aquariums or in dialysis machines, the city restarted a public information campaign to let people know about the change.

Some people who say they weren’t aware that the switch was going to take place oppose the city’s plan. A group called United Citizens for Better Water is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative that, if approved, would prohibit the city from using chloramine disinfection. Group members say that chloramine is potentially more dangerous than chlorine, and can cause numerous health problems, including skin irritation and digestive issues.

The city is required to make some kind of change to its water treatment system, because the level of federally regulated byproducts in city water is too high. The city chose chloramine as a less-expensive solution, especially compared to filtration.

Byproducts form when chlorine comes in contact with organic material. Chloramine also forms byproducts, but not as many, at least not of those that are regulated. The United Citizens group says that there are numerous unregulated byproducts formed through chloramine disinfection.

Thursday’s Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. in City Council chambers. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.

Posted by: chloraminewater | March 15, 2014

Anti-chloramine group trying to collect records


Anti-chloramine group trying to collect records

by Leila Kheiry

March 14, 2014 3:37 PM

Some members of a group that opposes the City of Ketchikan’s new water treatment system met with city officials this week to talk about how best to obtain public records that group members hope will provide answers to the process the city went through when choosing the new system.

United Citizens for Better Water is collecting signatures for a proposed ballot initiative that would prohibit the city from using chloramine – a combination of chlorine and ammonia – to disinfect its water.

The group also is collecting background information, and organizer Amanda Mitchell has requested records on the project, which has been going on for about a decade.

During the meeting with Assistant City Manager David Martin and City Clerk Katy Suiter, they talked about the history of the project, but the main point of the meeting was to determine what public records the group wants, and how to find them.

They started with a discussion of the original study, from consulting firm CH2MHill.

“So, CH2MHill spent a lot of time studying the water, the watershed, the treatment process, and at some point came back with two orders of magnitude – either you could do this for X amount of dollars, or you could do this,” Martin said.

Mitchell asked whether the city was given a written report, and Martin said he hasn’t been able to find one.

“It’s probably in Council minutes, as a Council packet,  at whatever time that meeting occurred,” he said.

Martin explained that while the document is available, finding the right one is not always that easy. The city doesn’t keep all the records in one place, and staff would have to sift through a significant amount of paperwork to find everything the group requested – some actually on paper, even, because the project dates back to before the city’s electronic record system.

The city had told Mitchell that fulfilling all the requests for information about the project would cost the group about $1,400, because of the staff time that would be required. If they can get the searching time down to five hours or less, it would be free. Read More…

Posted by: chloraminewater | March 8, 2014

Residents getting familiar with chloramine issue


Residents getting familiar with chloramine issue

by Leila Kheiry

March 7, 2014 4:48 PM

Water disinfection was the hot topic in Ketchikan this week, with several presentations, two from a water treatment specialist who works with national consumer advocate Erin Brokovich; and one by a water treatment consultant who is member of the Alaska Water and Wastewater Advisory Board.

The controversy is over the City of Ketchikan’s plan to start disinfecting its public water system with monochloramine – a combination of chlorine and ammonia – in order to bring the city’s water into compliance with federal regulations limiting certain byproducts.

ImageAbout 250 people showed up at Ketchikan’s Ted Ferry Civic Center for Bob Bowcock’s presentation about why chloramine is not a good idea. Bowcock works with Erin Brokovich, and gives similar presentations all over the United States. He argues that merely meeting Environmental Protection Agency regulations doesn’t mean the water is safe, or free from dangerous byproducts.

“There are thousands of studies that tell you how bad chloramines are, but the EPA hasn’t had time to look at them, so in the next generation or two they might get around to it and then, there will be regulated byproducts,” he said. “But until then they’ll tell you chloramines are safe because none of the byproducts are regulated. Does this mean that Ketchikan consumers should be forced to suffer from the medical conditions and property damage while we wait? I say no.” Read More…

Posted by: chloraminewater | March 7, 2014

Chloramine, not just for breakfast anymore Ketchikan, Alaska

Published on Mar 6, 2014
Erin Brockovich couldn’t make it but Robert Bowcock told Ketchikan residents that they have other choices in “Water Disinfection”.

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