What is chlorine?

by wfnblog on March 29, 2012

Frequently Asked Water Filter Questions AnsweredAtomic number 17 on the periodic table, chlorine is a naturally occurring element that is used extensively as a disinfectant in public water treatment plants to eliminate bacteria. Chlorine has been added to disinfect drinking water since the early twentieth century, making it possible to minimize more effectively the spread of waterborne diseases.

Chlorine Reduction from Drinking Water is Basic ChemistryChlorine works better than either iodine or bromine in destroying bacteria and other microbes, such as  as E. coli. Not surprisingly, however, a chemical that effectively kills bacteria can be dangerous to people at high enough concentrations. In World War I, chlorine gas was applied as an early chemical weapon, but was quickly replaced by the deadlier mustard gas.

In water treatment, chlorine is usually added as a part of a much more stable hypochlorite solution. Since using chlorine is intended to disinfect the water, it must be used in a high enough concentration to ensure that the water is free of microbes. This often results, however, in an unpleasant smell or taste in chlorinated tap water–even though it is considered okay to drink. A simple solution for reducing chlorine in drinking water is to use any carbon-based filter to adsorb the chemical.

Carbon Filtration Reduces Chlorine by Adsorbing ContaminationAdsorption works in this way: The large (and porous) surface area of activated carbon gives it countless bonding sites. As the water passes through the filter media, chemical contaminants like chlorine molecules are attracted to the carbon’s extensive surface, where the molecules are held tight. They are added to the surface–hence, adsorption. So instead of hanging out in your water, the chlorine will bond with the carbon–resulting in better tasting drinking water for you. For this reason, activated carbon filters are the ideal technology for the reduction of chlorine taste and odor in your tap water.

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