Water & Wastewater Treatment

WWT November 2018

Water & Wastewater Treatment Magazine

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Page 12 of 39

www.wwtonline.co.uk | WWT | XXXX 20XX | 13 The Works T he use of chlorine as a disinfectant has been a key feature of drinking water treatment in the UK for well over a century. First deployed in water supplies in the late Victorian era to combat waterborne diseases, there is no doubt that the introduction of chlorine was one of the most significant public health improvements ever made – and its power as a residual disinfectant ensures it remains central to strategies for safe water provision across the country. Nevertheless, the use of chlorine presents a number of potential issues www.wwtonline.co.uk | WWT | NOVEMBER 2018 | 13 that have led some in recent years to question its ubiquity. These include taste and odour concerns from customers, and the potential to form so-called disinfection by-products, which, in high concentrations, could have a health impact. From the point of view of water company operations, there are also potential health and safety risks associated with the handling of chlorine, together with consideration of the cost and sustainability of its manufacturing and transportation. The Netherlands has for many years shown that potable water can be delivered without a residual disinfectant providing conditions are right, and a growing number of other countries have followed suit. Cutting down on the use of chemicals in water treatment is an aspirational goal for many in the sector, with a number of benefits for both consumer and water utilities alike. So is it time for the UK water sector to consider scaling back the use of chlorine, using alternative methods of disinfection, or even rethinking the role of the disinfectant entirely? It's a mainstay of drinking water treatment in the UK, but is it time for the water industry to reconsider its reliance on chlorine? By Robin Hackett The future of chlorine GOAL 3 DRINKING WATER QUALITY

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