In the midst of a very intense debate over water treatment options, one fact may be given less attention than it should. According to the scientific reports, adding chloramine, a mixture of chlorine and ammonia, is toxic to fish and other aquatic life. Even proponents of chloramine agree that “people who keep fish tanks must dechlorinate their water to avoid toxicity to fish.” Chloramine, according to the reports, cannot be boiled off like chlorine or let to sit over night to dissipate as you can now do with chlorine. Chloramine stays in the water for up to 30 days.
When the mayor held his forum two weeks ago, Ray Solomon, an environmental scientist with the state of Vermont, was asked about dealing with fish tanks, and he said that there are chemicals that can be added to the water to make it safe, but he did not specify what those chemical agents might be or how expensive they might be. People need to check with their pet supplier, as I now understand that there may be several chemical additives for keeping fish in tanks safe.
If the granular activated carbon filtration system is bonded and the DPW commissioner decides to proceed with that system, fish owners will not have to change the way they treat their water for their tanks, but need to keep in mind that some chlorine will still be added to disinfect water.
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