Along with the City of Norfolk and City of Chesapeake, the City of Virginia Beach will undergo a conversion from chloramines to free chlorine disinfection in the water distribution system from November 18 – December 16, 2013. This routine maintenance denies bacteria the ability to form resistances to the usual chloramines disinfection process, helping ensure high-quality drinking water. On December 16, the disinfectant will be switched back to chloramines. It will take several days for the chloramines to replace the free chlorine in the water distribution system.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are chloramines?
Chloramines are a safe and common disinfectant used to treat drinking water.
 
Why the temporary change to chlorine disinfection?
This is a routine preventative maintenance procedure to assure the high quality of drinking water. 
 
When will this temporary switch begin?
November 18
 
When will this temporary switch end?
On December 16, the disinfectant will be switched back to chloramines. It will take several days for the chloramines to replace the free chlorine in the water distribution systems.
 
What’s the difference between chlorine and chloramines?
Chlorine is one of the oldest and most commonly used drinking water disinfectants. It has been the primary method to disinfect drinking water for more than 100 years. Chloramines are a better long-term disinfectant because they produce lower levels of disinfectant by-products, last longer in the distribution system, and typically have a less noticeable odor than chlorine.
 
Is chlorine disinfection new?
No. Chlorine has been the primary method to disinfect drinking water for more than 100 years. 
 
Will my water smell and taste like with chlorine?
You may notice a slight change in taste or smell.
 
Is switching between disinfection methods safe?
Yes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that both chlorine and chloramines are safe disinfectants for bathing, drinking, cooking and everyday water uses.
 
Can children and pregnant women drink chlorinated water?
Yes.  If you have any questions, please ask your physician.
 
Will it affect my baby’s formula?
No. If you have any questions, please ask your physician.
 
What about people who are sensitive to chemicals?
The amount of chlorine will be extremely small – no more than 2.5 to 3 milligrams per liter of water. If you have any questions, please ask your physician.
 
Can I wash open wounds with chlorinated water?
Yes. If you have any questions, please ask your physician. 
 
Can I use chlorinated water on plants? 
The small amount of chlorine in drinking water should not affect plants.
 
Will chlorine affect my plumbing?
No. Chloramines and chlorine disinfectants are safe for household plumbing.
 
Does bottled water contain chlorine?
Some bottled water companies use water that has been disinfected with chlorine.
 
Will a carbon filter remove chlorine?
You should check with the manufacturer. Chlorine is normally removed with a carbon filter; however, to remove chloramines the filter must contain high quality granular activated carbon.
 
Will letting water sit remove chlorine?
Yes. Chlorine will dissipate over time, but after 24 hours it should be refrigerated.
 
Can people on low sodium diets or with diabetes use chlorinated water?
Yes.  If you have any questions, please ask your physician.
 
Questions related to kidney dialysis patients
Note: Dialysis clinics, hospitals, and medical centers are being notified by the City of Virginia Beach about the temporary switch to free chlorine disinfection.
 
What should kidney dialysis patients do if they have questions?
Follow your doctor’s recommendations. Medical centers that perform dialysis commonly remove the chloramines or chlorine that enters the dialysis machines. You should consult your physician if you have any questions regarding the use of water for dialysis.
 
Questions related to fish owners
Should I take special precautions with my aquarium or pond?
You should use water treatment products that remove chlorine and chloramines for your aquarium or ponds. Most pet stores have been selling de-chlorinating agents for years and generally have recommended using them for fresh and saltwater tanks.  See your pet store supplier for more details.
 
Where can I get more information?
For more information, contact the following:
•For health-related questions, call the Virginia Dept. of Health @ (757) 683-2000
•For technical, water supply-related questions, call VB Public Utilities @ (757) 385-1400
 
 
Contact Information