what is chlorination? how to chlorinate the water?

What Is Chlorination? How to Chlorinate the Water?

What Is Chlorination?



 Chlorinated water is a crucial tool in maintaining public health, serving as an effective disinfectant against harmful pathogens. But how does chlorination work, and what does it mean for the water we consume daily?


What Is Chlorine?

Chlorine is a naturally occurring chemical element, often recognized by its symbol Cl on the periodic table. This element is highly reactive, making it an excellent disinfectant for various applications. Its most common use is in the treatment of drinking water. For over a century, chlorine has been the primary agent to disinfect water, ensuring the eradication of harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites.


The use of chlorine revolutionized water treatment. Before its implementation, waterborne illnesses like cholera and typhoid were rampant. But thanks to chlorine's disinfecting properties, these diseases became rare in areas where water is treated.


Why Water Is Chlorinated?


Water is chlorinated primarily to protect the public from waterborne diseases. As water travels from its source to our taps, it can get contaminated with various microorganisms. These pathogens, if ingested, can lead to illnesses ranging from mild gastroenteritis to severe conditions like cholera. Chlorinated water supply ensures that these harmful agents are neutralized before the water reaches consumers.


Moreover, chlorinating water is not just about eliminating pathogens. It also prevents the growth of algae, removes unwanted tastes and odors, and eliminates other contaminants. For instance, when used in swimming pools, chlorine helps prevent the spread of diseases and keeps the water clear.


Is Drinking Water Chlorinated?


The answer is often 'yes' when it comes to municipal water supplies. As part of the standard treatment process, many municipal water treatment facilities use chlorine to disinfect water before distributing it to households. By ensuring that drinking water is chlorinated, cities and towns significantly reduce the risk of waterborne diseases among their residents.


However, not all water sources are chlorinated. For example, well water or water from certain natural springs might not undergo chlorination. But for the vast majority of urban dwellers, when they wonder, "is tap water chlorinated?", the answer is affirmative.


How to Disinfect Water with Chlorine


Disinfecting water using chlorine involves a straightforward process. The first step is to determine the appropriate chlorine dosage, which may vary depending on the water source and its contamination level. Once the proper amount is ascertained, chlorine is introduced into the water. This can be done using liquid chlorine, chlorine tablets, or granular forms.


The chlorine then reacts with the water, forming compounds that effectively neutralize harmful pathogens. This process, called chlorination, continues until the chlorine has reacted with all contaminants, leaving the water safe for consumption.


For more specific guidelines and detailed methods on how to use chlorine as a disinfectant, one can refer to the article on chlorinated water at Fairats.


What are the Health Effects of Chlorinated Water?


While chlorinated water is essential for public safety, concerns about its health effects have been raised. When chlorine reacts with organic matter in water, it can create by-products. Some of these by-products have been associated with health risks when consumed in large quantities over extended periods.

Most research suggests that the risk from these by-products is minimal at the concentrations typically found in treated water. However, some individuals might be more sensitive to the effects of drinking chlorinated water. For example, there have been reports of people experiencing stomach discomfort or skin irritations after consuming or coming in contact with heavily chlorinated water.

However, it's essential to weigh the potential risks against the clear benefits. The risk of contracting waterborne diseases from non-chlorinated water is far greater than the potential side effects of chlorinated water side effects.

Does Chlorine Affect The Taste Or Smell Of Water?

Yes, chlorine can influence the taste and smell of water. Many people describe chlorinated water as having a "chemical" taste or smell. This is primarily due to the chlorine and its by-products present in the water.


However, it's worth noting that the taste or smell of chlorinated water usually dissipates when left uncovered for some time. Using activated carbon filters can also help in reducing the chlorine taste and odor.


For those who are particularly sensitive to these tastes or smells, opting for bottled water might be a solution. But, it's essential to note that not all bottled waters are free from chlorine. One should check the label to determine if the bottled water is chlorinated or not.


26 September 2023

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