Water safety concerns prompts possible change in chloramine rules

CAMP HILL, Pa. (WHTM) – Chemicals are considered the best way keep public water clean and safe to drink. However one of those common chemicals chloramine has caught the attention of the EPA, which is considering a ban by the end of the year.

The Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson Neil Shader said they have proposed a minor change to enhance the detection of chloramine levels in Pennsylvania to make sure they’re getting accurate information.

Thousands of homes on the west shore receive their water from Pennsylvania American Water — a company that still uses chloramine to treat their water. Local attorney and Director of the Camp Hill Chloramine information center said this is the same chemical that has caused the water issues in Flint and that causes brain eating amoebas to flourish.

The chemical is a derivative of ammonium, it’s a chemical compound made up of one part nitrogen, one part chlorine and two parts hydrogen. Pickford says the water causes short term issues like rashes and digestive issues…and says it the long run it’s carcinogenic – cancer causing.

Pickford said “I get bottled water, I cook with it, clean with it, I give it to my dogs. I use it for everything. I expose myself to this water as little as possible and I encourage everyone I know not to use this water.”

We spoke with PA American Water company spokesperson Terry Maenza who said, “We’ve been through this battle with Miss Pickford, she wants to get on her soap box, stir people up with her scare tactics and there is just no basis to it.”

A Capital Region Board Member and local environmental attorney said chloramine won’t be put into Harrisburg’s water system as long as he’s on the board. For now it remains in much of the water on the west shore.

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