Switching Either to Chloramine or Chlorine Draws Taste Complaints

One of the headaches of water treatment is that whenever there is change, there is complaint.
When cities switch from chlorine to chloramine disinfection, taste complaints are usually numerous and loud.
The irony is that when there is a temporary switch back to chlorine, which regulatory agencies recommend periodically, there are equally strong complaints about the taste of chlorine in the water.

When chloramine is used as the primary disinfectant,  the ammonia and nitrogen in chloramine can cause a biofilm buildup in pipes. A periodic, short-term change back to free chlorine, a much stronger disinfectant than chloramine, clears out some of the buidup. Cities often refer to the temporary change back to chlorine as “chlorine burns.”

Another item that affects taste is TDS, or Total Dissolved Solids, the mineral makeup of the water. That’s why when people become used to high TDS water (as in some bottled spring waters or some well water), they describe low TDS water, like reverse osmosis water or distilled water, as “tasteless.”  Reverse osmosis water drinkers, by contrast, are often shocked by the heavy mineral taste of tap water when they get a drink from a water fountain or restaurant.

With water, as with many things, people tend to like what they’re used to.  They may complain about the way things are, but when there’s a change,they complain twice as loudly.