Chloramine is a disinfectant used to treat drinking water. It is formed by mixing chlorine and ammonia. Although it is a weaker disinfectant than chlorine, it is less likely to create disinfection by-products (DBP's) because it is less reactive than chlorine.
Many major water utilities that have surface water as their drinking water source have been using chloramines for many years to meet the Stage 1 and 2 Disinfection By-Product Rules. For example, the City of Denver has utilized chloramination since 1918. The EPA estimates in a 1998 survey that the number of people drinking water treated with chloramines exceeded 68 million.
Chloramines are small, stable molecules with no charge making them difficult to remove using Reverse Osmosis or ion-exchange technologies. Carbon filters do not adsorb chloramines but rather removes them through a catalytic process, breaking them down to innocuous chlorides in the water. Effective and reliable chloramine reduction requires fine mesh catalytic carbon with extended contact times. The ChloraMax cartridges used in OptiPure systems contain a large amount of a very fine powdered carbon with ultra-high catalytic activity providing very high reduction capacity.
This is most commonly observed on black rubber seals. If the seal crumbles when removed and leaves a black stain on your fingers it has been attacked by the chloramines.
The case for stainless steel corrosion came from the swimming pool industry and the chloramines in this case are typically dichloramine or trichloramine in a vapor form. Research in this area is still needed to see if mono-chloramine in water will corrode stainless steel.
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