Chlorine is added during water treatment as a disinfectant to kill bacteria and eradicate waterborne germs like e.coli and the norovirus. It is actually required by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in order to disinfect water before it is distributed to homes and offices.
The EPA recommends levels below 4mg/L. Chlorine can be smelled at levels of 1 mg/L.
The very low concentrations of chlorine used to disinfect water is entirely harmless and regularly monitored. Water leaving our treatment works will have less than 1.4 parts per million of chlorine and this will reduce further before reaching your home. This is to ensure the quality of the drinking water is maintained through the pipe network to the point when it reaches your tap.
Some people are more sensitive than others are, to the smell or taste of chlorine and may become aware of occasional changes in chlorine levels in their tap water.
For example, the taste or odor of chlorine may be more noticeable at times of day when water use is high. This is because the water is reaching you quicker and contains more chlorine than when it has been standing in the pipes.
Levels of chlorine may also become more noticeable if we’ve been working on the water mains or if we have to supply you with water from our other water treatment facility.
The strength of this chlorine scent can also be affected by the temperature of the water. Hot water generally has a stronger smell yet it contains no more chlorine than cold water.
If you find the taste of chlorine unacceptable, a good solution is to fill a jug of tap water and cover it. Keep it in the fridge. Not only will the chilled water taste better, it will lose that chlorine smell.