Drinking water must be protected from micro-organisms and pollutants that can enter it through the pipelines that transport it to their homes. This is accomplished by disinfection with various agents, including the most widely used chlorine: it is a very effective disinfectant, used to kill all the harmful bacteria that may be present in the water source. The amount of chlorine used is based on the amount of water that is treated, on the amount of pollutants that must be controlled and on the amount of time the water takes to reach the first house. Chlorine levels are usually low, but in some rural areas the dangers to drinking water are greater and the chlorine levels used are somewhat higher. People can feel its presence in tap water.
When tap water tastes like chlorine, it does not mean it’s dangerous to drink it. Chlorine levels used in drinking water are not high enough to pose a serious health threat.
If the water tastes of chlorine, it may mean that the system has not been added enough chlorine: increasing the amount of chlorine used in the treatment plant, different forms of chlorine are in fact generated in the water, reducing the odor of chlorine.
For water terminology, go to our water glossary
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