To optimize its treatment process and improve water quality, Indiana American Water will be switching to chloramines at its Sheridan water treatment facility the week of Nov. 3.

Chloramination, the practice of mixing a small amount of ammonia in the disinfection process, will optimize and enhance the treatment process in Sheridan and also reduce the likelihood of creating disinfection byproducts (DBP) during the treatment process. DBPs are potentially harmful contaminants that form when disinfectants react with naturally occurring organic materials in the source water.

The switch to chloramines will also reduce the taste and odor associated with free chlorine disinfection methods and help to maintain the required residual levels throughout the distribution system better than chlorine alone.

Although the use of chloramines is proven to be safe, two groups of customers must take special care when using chloraminated water:

• Kidney Dialysis patients: Because water comes in contact with the bloodstream in the dialysis process, chloramines in the water would be toxic, just as chlorine is also toxic. Chloramines can be removed by adding ascorbic acid or by filtering the water through granular activated carbon prior to use. Kidney dialysis patients should contact their physician or local kidney dialysis center for guidance on modifications to dialysis machines and procedures. Medical centers that perform dialysis are responsible forpurifying the water that enters the dialysis machines. Dialysis patients can drink chloraminated water and use it for bathing, washing wounds and other standard uses of water. Contact your physician if you have any health-related concerns.

• Fish owners: Both chlorine and chloramines are toxic to fish in very low levels and must be removed from the water to be used in an aquarium. Most pet stores sell a disinfectant removal product that can be added to tap water prior to introduction to the fish tank or pond.

Since the early 1900s, chloramines have been used routinely in the United States and Canada. Nearly one in five U.S. water treatment facilities currently use chloramination in cities including Washington D.C., San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, Indianapolis and Philadelphia. Several communities served by Indiana American Water also use chloraminated water, including Muncie, Terre Haute, Richmond, Kokomo and Northwest Indiana.

Indiana American Water is also distributing a letter to its Sheridan customers to make them aware of the impending change. The company also reached out by letter and phone to targeted businesses most affected by the change. More information on the use of chloramines to protect drinking water systems is available online at the EPA’s Web site at: https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/chloramines-drinking-water.

Additional information on the switch to chloramines can be obtained by calling the Indiana American Water customer service center at (800) 492-8373 or visiting www.indianaamwater.com.