What Are The Safe Chlorine Levels In Drinking Water?

Chlorine has been used as a disinfectant for over 100 years. It is an established, robust and reliable solution to preventing the spread of disease in public water. Today, chlorine is still a widely-used disinfectant used by the water industry to maintain water hygiene conditions in public supplies.

In short, it is perfectly safe to use chlorine in drinking water because it is only metered at very low levels, while much higher levels are used in the leisure and healthcare industries. Compared to other countries, chlorine levels in England and Wales are extremely low, and typically, water companies maintain residual disinfectant levels at 0.5mg/l or less, and definitely below 1mg/l. This is against a World Health Organisation guideline safe standard of 5mg/l in drinking water.

However, some people are sensitive to the taste and smell of chlorine in drinking water, and some very slight variations to the levels, while still safe, can be detectable. An excessive smell or taste of chlorine could be due to maintenance work in your local area, and therefore should only be short-lived. Although if you experience this for a prolonged period it should be reported to your local supplier. Also, as a short term solution, it is recommended that people can leave drinking water to cool in the fridge for a short period of time, which typically removes the smell and taste of chlorine. You can also use jug filters with a carbon cartridge, which are very popular for filtering domestic drinking water supplies. It is certainly not recommended that you repeatedly boil water and allow it to cool as a precaution. This is unnecessary and is a huge additional drain on energy resources and your own finances.

Chlorine is only used to preserve the high quality of water as it passes through the system to people’s homes, the water is already safe to use when it leaves the treatment plant. But one other explanation for experiencing a variation in chlorine levels could be that you live close to a water treatment works. Water companies set their chlorine levels depending on the size and design of their entire network system. A procedural system ensures that minimum agreed levels are maintained in the parts of the system most remote to the treatment plant, and conversely, the maximum levels found in parts closest to the treatment plant are still acceptable.

If you still have concern over chlorine levels in our UK drinking water, you are entitled to request a free water quality report from your local water company. This will show the minimum and maximum levels found over a period of time, in your local water supply. You can also then find online how this compares with and varies between different water companies in other parts of the country. However, one important point will always remain, and this is that chlorine levels in the UK are among the lowest in the world, and inadequate disinfection of our drinking water supplies carries with it a far greater risk of illness and disease.

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