BMU to use monochloramine to treat city’s water

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BROOKINGS – Brookings Municipal Utilities will start using monochloramine this fall to treat city’s water supply, BMU announced Friday.

“Brookings Municipal Utilities is committed to providing drinking water that maximizes public health and minimizes potential health risks. To continue to protect public health and to meet the evolving Environmental Protection Agency’s requirements, Brookings Municipal Utilities will begin using monochloramine in the fall of 2020 as a secondary disinfectant,” according to a BMU press release.  

Historically, Brookings has used a free chlorine residual as the primary disinfectant. The switch to monochloramine is being made because it is an effective, longer-lasting disinfectant that reduces the potential risk associated with regulated disinfection byproducts in tap water, BMU reported. 

“As the community continues to grow, and distribution pipelines are added, the monochloramine treatment process will ensure Brookings’ residents water remains safe for consumption,” the press release says. 

Today, more than one in five Americans drink water treated with monochloramine. The EPA recognizes monochloramine as a best available technology under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Monochloramine is safe for drinking, cooking and all other typical water uses, BMU reported. Brookings residents will not notice any difference in the taste of water once the process beings. 

Major cities such as Denver, Minneapolis, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas and Miami are using monochloramine to treat drinking water. Locally, the cities of Sioux Falls, Madison, Parker, Tea, Harrisburg and Beresford utilize monochloramine to treat water. Additionally, Lewis & Clark Regional Water, Big Sioux Community Water, Minnehaha Community Water System and the Clark Rural Water System all treat water with monochloramine.  

While the longer lasting disinfectant capabilities are a benefit, there are special circumstances where monochloramine must be removed from the water supply, the BMU release says. 

“First, monochloramine must be removed from water used for kidney dialysis. At levels used to disinfect drinking water, monochloramine is harmful if it directly enters the bloodstream, as it would in the dialysis process. Patients are encouraged to reach out to their doctor to discuss the appropriate type of water treatment. Dialysis patients can safely drink, cook and bathe in monochloramine treated water. 

“Secondly, monochloramine must be removed from water used when keeping fish and some amphibians. Because fish absorb monochloramine directly from the water into their blood streams, monochloramine must be removed from water. Most pet stores have sold dechlorinating agents for years and, generally, have recommended using them. The chemicals used to remove chlorine should work just as well for monochloramine. It is recommended you check with pet store staff or a veterinarian to ensure which products are suitable to use.”

The treatment process is estimated to begin in October. In the coming months, BMU will provide additional information. 

The community can also find additional information about the monochloramine process on Brookings Municipal Utilities’ website. For more information about this process, email [email protected] or contact BMU via phone at 692-6325.

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