How and Why to Remove Chloroform From Water
Chloroform is a man-made byproduct of treating water. Learn about the risks of it in drinking water and what you can do to remove it.
Updated March 7, 2023.
Chloroform, also known as trichloromethane, is a byproduct of chlorinating water and treating municipal sewage to prevent waterborne diseases. However, certain species of algae and various chemical compounds also produce chloroform.
The byproducts of chlorinating water can cause severe health issues, including an increased risk of cancer, birth defects, and kidney and liver damage.
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Why Does Water Contain Chloroform?
Due to improper waste management, chloroform enters water systems, including waste from paper mills and paper companies, wastewater from sewage treatment plants, and excessively chlorinated drinking water. Chloroform dissolves effortlessly in water, allowing it to enter groundwater systems without difficulty. Once the groundwater is contaminated, it is affected for a long time and can move to our drinking water.
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Can Chloroform Be Removed From Water?
As with other trihalomethanes, chloroform is best removed with high-quality granular activated carbon, which is present in the majority of reliable home water filtration systems. According to an article published by theNational Library of Medicine, boiling chlorinated water for at least one minute reduced the chloroform concentration by 74-98%. The combination of boiling and filtration with an activated carbon filter will eliminate the majority of chloroform contaminants.
Industrially, chloroform can be removed from drinking water through a two-step process. The chloroform is extracted from the contaminated water by passing it through a "curtain" of compressed air in a convection tank. Before the air is released back into the atmosphere, it is treated with a charcoal bed, which also removes chloroform.
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