The most common association that people have when they think about chloride is sodium chloride, which is better known as table salt. Chloride is an ion and although it is made of the same element as chloride they are not similar. This can be confusing because chlorine is added to water as an effective disinfectant and chloride is non-reactive in comparison and has no ability to clean water. In this article, we will take a closer look at chlorine, how it can affect our water quality and how you can fix the problem.

What is Chloride?

Chlorine occurs naturally in various salts such as sodium chloride and potassium chloride. It’s present in all sources of natural water, including rainwater, seas, oceans, and other bodies of water. Higher concentrations make seawater taste salty and it dissolves quickly when it comes into contact with water. Chloride is more obvious in certain locations such as the Great Salt Lake in Utah where the water has dissolved away. Chloride is frequently used in various industrial processes including the production of bleach and potassium chloride is used to make some fertilizers. Salt that contains chloride is used to clear ice and snow on roads and sidewalks which can be added to the water supply during melting and runoff. Other sources of chloride, include septic tank effluent, industrial wastewater, and seawater intrusion that may contaminate coastal aquifers.

How Does Chloride Affect the Water Quality?

The first consideration is the taste. At a salt concentration of 200-300 mg/L, salt can be detected by taste alone. When the concentration passes 400 mg/L, the taste of coffee can even be affected. Chloride concentrations of 10mg/L or less inland and 30mg/L or less at the coast would be considered to be unpolluted. The waste from humans and animals contains high chloride concentrations and a sudden rise must be treated seriously. The water supply may have been compromised by sewage or animal waste that could contain coliform bacteria. This is especially true in private wells because the well owner is responsible for their own water quality.

How Does Chloride Affect Human Health?

Chloride is not a particular threat to human health unless a person is particularly sensitive to salt. When we consume too much sodium, it can clog our arteries and may lead to heart damage. People that are sensitive to sodium should be consuming water with a concentration of less than 20mg/L. The presence of high concentrations of chloride is linked with high levels of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). This can cause corrosion in plumbing pipes which may cause materials to leach into your drinking water.

How Can I Remove Chloride?

The most reliable method to remove chloride from your drinking water is to install a reverse osmosis (RO) filtration system in your home. This could be a point-of-use (POU) system at a single kitchen tap or a whole-house system that supplies every fixture. This is a purely mechanical system, no chemicals are added and the water that’s produced is exceptionally clean from chloride and many other contaminants. If you want to learn more contact your local water treatment specialist today.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.