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Brainerd questions water chlorination after contamination

Lana Bandoim's picture

The town of Brainerd in Minnesota is questioning the idea of adding chlorine to its water supply on a permanent basis after recent contamination. Although the city currently uses chlorine sparingly, it is considering the option of following the trend of other towns and using it all the time. Residents are concerned about the impact on the taste of the water.


Brainerd is one of the few locations that does not add chlorine to its water on a routine basis. Instead, it handles contamination on a case by case basis and adds the chemical if it is needed. Recently, a water main burst forced the town to use chlorine to kill bacteria, and it raised questions about the water supply.

The Brainerd Public Utilities Commission is in the process of gathering data about permanent water chlorination in the town, but it is also collecting responses from residents. Many people are worried about the taste of the water once chlorine is added to it all the time. They argue that the city is known for its pure water, so the chemical will jeopardize businesses such as breweries and fish hatcheries.

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Residents argue that they are always aware of the smell and taste of chlorine if it has to be added due to contamination. Although they are not opposed to using the chemical on occasion, they prefer that it not become a permanent process. However, not everyone is against the idea of using chlorine because some people believe it will make the water safer and prevent problems such as the recent boil notices. They also point out that it is easy to buy and install water purifiers and filters that can eliminate the taste of chlorine. There are YouTube videos that can guide a person through the entire process, and this video on how alkaline ionizers work is an example of how filters can be used.

Minnesota allows cities to make their own decisions on water chlorination, and Brainerd is still considering it. It already has fluoride, so some residents believe the extra step of added chlorine should not be difficult and would help avoid contamination issues from appearing in the future. On the other hand, other residents are resisting the idea and do not believe the town should copy other cities that have changed their water supply.

Image: Wikimedia Commons



It was generally understood that allergies to chlorine were rare but in recent years that thought has been proven wrong. It is harmful both as a gas and a liquid. Chlorine is a poisonous, greenish-yellow gas. As a disinfectant it is added to our drinking water under the mistaken assumption that it is safe to do so in small doses. As allergists are now aware, even the smallest amounts of an allergen are having the same effect as larger doses. The proposed federal drinking water standard for chlorine is 6 parts per million (ppm). Many city water supplies are treated with chlorine to reduce the possible spread of bacterial disease. The system operators are required to maintain a detectable level of chlorine in the piping system. Chlorine kills bacteria in drinking water, but after drinking this water the killing of bacteria continues in the body. Most of those bacteria in the human system are beneficial, and chlorine can seriously upset the digestive system, where those beneficial bacteria live Water that contains more than 6 ppm of chlorine on a regular basis should not be consumed. If you can smell chlorine in your home or swimming pool, the level may be too high to be safe. Chlorine gas allergy is thought to be responsible for ADD and ADHD. Chlorine aggravates asthma, especially in those children who swim in chlorinated swimming pools. Chlorine and chlorinated by-products are also linked to a greater incidence of bladder, breast and bowel cancer as well as malignant melanoma (skin cancer). The last use of chlorine gas as a weapon of mass destruction was by the Iraqi Army under Saddam Hussein in the Iran/ Iraq war, in the Kurdish village of Halabja where hundreds of men, women and children were gassed, and by Iraqi insurgents, who blew up a truck loaded with chlorine gas canisters on March 17, 2007 in Anbar, killing 2 and sickening over 350.