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WATER PUMPS, TANKS, TESTS, WELLS, REPAIRS
WATER CONTAMINANT LEVELS
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WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER TANK REPAIR PROCEDURES
WATER TANK: USES, TROUBLESHOOTING
WATER TESTS, CONTAMINANTS, TREATMENT
WATER TREATMENT EQUIPMENT CHOICES
WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS
WELL FLOW RATE
WELL WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSIS
WELL YIELD IMPROVEMENT
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
At what level and under what conditions is chlorinated drinking water a health hazard or a possible cancer hazard? Does chlorinated drinking water harm the septic tank? This article answers questions about the harmfulness of chlorinated drinking water being discharged into the septic system. We explain that actual chlorine is not present in drinking water, that bleach is not "chlorine", and we describe potential health hazards associated with these substances.
Is my chlorinator or chlorinated water going into a private septic system likely to harm the septic tank or drainfield? Do some septic systems require chlorine or other disinfectants? Will chlorine, bleach, or Clorox™ damage the septic tank or leach fields? This document explains how to extend the life of the septic system by being careful about what goes into it.
Citation of this article by reference to this website and brief quotation for the sole purpose of review are permitted. Use of this information at other websites, in books or pamphlets for sale is reserved to the author. Technical review, content suggestions, critique are welcomed and are listed at "References." This article is part of our series: Inspecting, Testing, & Maintaining Residential Septic Systems an online book on septic systems.
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Is There Actual Chlorine in Drinking Water? What health hazards are associated with chlorinated drinking water, chlorine, & bleach
Chloramine, Chlorine and Chlorine Dioxide Health Effects
|Disinfectant||Common Uses||Health Effects of Disinfectant in Drinking Water||Maximum residual disinfectant levels (MRDLs)|
|Chloramine (as Cl2)||Chloramine is a water additive used to control microbes ... as a residual disinfectant in drinking water distribution system pipes.||Drinking water with excessive levels of chloramine above the maximum residual disinfectant level (MRDL) could experience irritating effects to the eyes and nose, stomach discomfort or anemia||MRDL = 4.0 mg/L or 4 ppm as an annual average|
|Chlorine (as Cl2)||A ga or liquid form of chlorine (CL2) chlorine is used by municipal water systems to control microbes.||Some people who use water containing chlorine well in excess of the maximum residual disinfectant level could experience irritating effects to their eyes and nose. Some people who drink water containing chlorine well in excess of the maximum residual disinfectant level could experience stomach discomfort.||MRDL = 4.0 mg/L or 4 ppm as an annual average|
|Chlorine dioxide (as ClO2)||Chlorine dioxide is added to water to control microbes and can be used to control tastes and odors.||Some infants, young children, and fetuses of pregnant women who drink water containing chlorine dioxide in excess of the maximum residual disinfectant level could experience nervous system effects. Some people who drink water containingchlorine dioxide well in excess of the MRDL for many years may experience anemia.||MRDL = 0.8 mg/L or 800 ppb|
Health hazards from bleach:
Watch out: Drinking small amounts of hypochlorite solution (less than a cup) can produce irritation of the esophagus.
Drinking concentrated hypochlorite solution can produce severe damage to the upper digestive tract and even death. These effects are most likely caused by the caustic nature of the hypochlorite solution and not from exposure to molecular chlorine.
Spilling hypochlorite solution on the skin can produce irritation.
The severity of the effects depends on the concentration of sodium hypochlorite in the bleach.
Cancer risk from chlorine? The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have not classified chlorine as to its human carcinogenicity.. - "Chlorine toxicity", ATSDR 
The above information is adapted from US EPA, "Water: Basic Information about Regulated Drinking Water Contaminants", retrieved 8/27/2013, original source water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/basicinformation/disinfectants.cfm 
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Chlorine kills bacteria, including disease-causing organisms and the nuisance organism, iron bacteria. However, low levels of chlorine, normally used to disinfect water, are not an effective treatment for giardia cysts. A chlorine level of over 10 mg/1 must be maintained for at least 30 minutes to kill giardia cysts. -- http://ohioline.osu.edu/b795/index.html is the front page of this bulletin.