It Could Be Chloramine!


Three citizens appeared before the Greenville County Council during their July 20 meeting, requesting assistance in getting Chloramine, a combination of bleach and ammonia, removed from the Greenville and Greer tap water. They testified that bleach and ammonia in drinking water causes “breathing problems, skin irritations and digestive problems.” Their appeals to the Greenville Water System and Greer Commission of Public Works, that operates the water system for Greer, were unresponsive to their complaints.

Council members explained that they had no control over either the Greenville or Greer Water Systems, although a large majority of the customers for the Greenville Water System reside in the county, county residents and water customers have no representation on the water commission. The three individuals who appealed to the County Council were advised to speak to the Greenville Water Commission, the Greenville City Council and the Greer Commission of Public Works during their meetings because they have authority to do something about the problem.

The primary reason for using bleach and ammonia rather than Chlorine is said to be cost.

Michelle Anderson, a resident of Greer informed Council that she and her son were sick “for three long years” before beginning to drink only bottled spring water.

Anderson said an expensive filter she purchased does not remove 100 percent of the chloramines.  Washing her hair with bottled spring water keeps the rash on her forehead from “feeling like it is being burned with acid.” She does not, however, want to have to drive to Spartanburg to take a shower with water that is treated with chlorine rather than chloramine.

Mrs. Anderson reported that only 20 percent of the water systems in the United States use the harmful bleach and ammonia mixture. The remaining 80 percent use chlorine.

“Tennessee has banned chloramines,” Anderson said. “I spoke to Tom Moss the Deputy Water Director there. One of the reasons he told me they do not use chloramines is because it is an unstable chemical. With temperature and ph changes in your home, it can change into dichloramine and trichloramine, which are strong mucous membrane irritants.”

Organizations have been formed in several states to inform citizens about the dangers posed by chloramines in drinking water. There are about 1,000 individuals in the U. S. whose symptoms have been positively linked to chloramines.

South Carolinians Against Chloramine is the local organization that provides information. The brochure published by ACAC lists a website and telephone number for those seeking information. The brochure also lists the respiratory, skin, eye, and digestive system symptoms experienced by individuals exposed to the chemical mixture in water.

For additional information, go to or send email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The phone number is 400-8556.

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Mike Scruggs