Water troubles: Chloramine causing stir for Green Country residents

TULSA - A highly-controversial chemical will soon show up in Tulsa's water, and concerns of its effects have been debated by the city's residents for months.

The city will start using Chloramine to disinfect the water supply in the middle of July, but Tulsa customers aren't the only consumers who will be affected. Other cities include Jenks, Owasso, Sperry, Turley, Bixby, Glenpool and rural districts.

The city started sending out post cards to advise customers on the new changes. On one side, it tells residents what Chloramine is and why the city is using it. On the other side, it says dialysis patients and fish owners must remove the chemical before use.

"All these fish here are very, very sensitive," said Scott Tracy, owner of Aquarium Oddballs near 31st and South Sheridan.

Tracy fears his fish won't stand the test of time when Chloramine is introduced to the water supply in the next few weeks.

"We're going to have to add more de-chlorinator, which adds more chemicals," he said.

If the chemicals aren't added, Tracy says "it would definitely kill the fish."

Tracy says fish owners' wallets will have an even harder time adapting. They'll have to use three times as many chemicals and filters to remove the Chloramine.

"Our goal is to provide the highest quality of water to Tulsa citizens at the lowest price," said Bob Brownwood, water supply manager.

Brownwood, who says he has studied the chemical for the past 12 years, is the one who chose to use Chloramine.

The city will still use Chlorine as its primary disinfectant and add the ammonia as a secondary disinfectant. Brownwood says Chloramine is a longer-lasting disinfectant and controls bacteria better.

He says the city will put in a half-part-per-million of ammonia, quickly spouting that "the sweat in your own body is 2,000 to 4,000 times as what we're putting in the water."

Opponents think the new addition is highly dangerous and says the EPA hasn't extensively studied it. They also say it's harmful to inhale, causes skin irritations and can't be totally filtered out.

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services compiled a comprehensive fact sheet about the chemical.

City of Tulsa officials say one in every five Americans drink water with Chloramine.

Brownwood says there may be some taste and odor issues that occur during this transition period. If you notice a strong ammonia smell or taste for more than two days, call the Mayor's Action Center at (918) 596-2100.

Brownwood says Chloramine will show up within two weeks.

City of Tulsa officials say one in every five Americans drink water with Chloramine.

Print this article Back to Top