Change in city water concern for dialysis patients, fish owners

Jul 16, 2014

It has become a tradition for customers of the City of Greenville water department.

During late summer, the city switches which disinfectant it uses to treat the local water supply, leading to changes in the smell and taste.

But this summer, city officials are also warning of the potential risks for kidney patients.

According to an announcement from the city, starting today the City of Greenville’s Water Treatment Plant will be changing the disinfectant it uses from chlorine to chloramines.

The change is intended to benefit the plant’s customers by reducing the levels of disinfection byproducts (DBPs) in the system, while still providing protection from waterborne disease.

The city is indicating the change to chloramines can potentially cause problems for persons dependent upon dialysis machines.

Credit StateImpact Texas

A condition known as hemolytic anemia can occur if the disinfectant is not completely removed from the water used for the dialysate.

Consequently, the pretreatment scheme used for the dialysis units must include some means, such as a charcoal filter, for removing the chloramine prior to this date.

Medical facilities should also determine if additional precautions are required for other medical equipment.

In addition, chloraminated water may be toxic to fish. Residents with fish tanks should be sure the chemicals and/or filters they use are designed for use in water treated with chloramines, and they may need to change the type of filter used in the tank.