Chlorine is a chemical element that is frequently used to disinfect water and eliminate dangerous microorganisms. To make sure that the water we drink and use for daily activities is safe for consumption and use, it is added to the water supply. Understanding the distinction between total chlorine and free chlorine is one of the key components of using chlorine as a disinfectant.
We will go into great detail about these two varieties of chlorine in this article, including what they are, how to measure them, and how they are used to treat water. We will also go over the relationship between total and free chlorine and why it is so important to keep these two types in the proper proportions in order to maintain clean and safe water.
What is Chlorine?
The chemical element chlorine is a gas at standard pressure and temperature. Carl Wilhelm Scheele made the discovery in 1774, and it has been employed as a disinfectant since the early 20th century. Seawater, for example, contains chlorine in the form of salt. However, it is typically found as chlorine gas, sodium hypochlorite, or calcium hypochlorite when used as a disinfectant.
What is Total Chlorine?
The amount of combined and free chlorine in water is calculated as total chlorine. It counts all chlorine, whether it is free chlorine or combined chlorine, that is present in the water. Total chlorine is expressed as “total chlorine residual” and is measured in parts per million (ppm). The World Health Organization states that the ideal range for total chlorine residual is between 1 and 4 ppm.
The Role of Total Chlorine
Total chlorine is crucial to the water treatment process because it eliminates pathogens and harmful microorganisms that are present in the water. To guarantee that the water is safe for use and consumption, it is injected into the water supply in a controlled amount. However, having too much total chlorine can harm the water, leaving it with a strong chlorine taste and odor and possibly creating hazardous byproducts.
What is Free Chlorine?
Free chlorine, also referred to as residual chlorine, is the type of chlorine that can be used to clean water and eradicate any harmful microorganisms that may be present. It is measured separately from total chlorine and is the “active” form of chlorine. Additionally measured in parts per million is free chlorine (ppm). The World Health Organization states that between 0.2 and 4 ppm is the ideal range for free chlorine residual.
The Role of Free Chlorine
Free chlorine is essential to the water treatment process because it eliminates pathogens and harmful microorganisms that are already present in the water. To make sure that the water is secure for use and consumption, it is added to the water supply. While having too much free chlorine can result in a strong chlorine taste and odor as well as the potential formation of hazardous byproducts, having too little can leave the water susceptible to dangerous microorganisms.
The Relationship between Total and Free Chlorine
Understanding the relationship between total and free chlorine is crucial because it has an impact on how well the water is disinfected and overall water quality. Chlorine can combine with other particles or chemicals in the water when it is added to the supply, creating combined chlorine.
In order to calculate the amount of free chlorine, the combined chlorine should be deducted from the total chlorine since it will no longer be useful for water purification.
The Importance of Maintaining the Correct Balance
To keep the water safe for use and consumption, it’s essential to maintain the proper ratio of total and free chlorine. The right ratio guarantees that the water is effectively disinfected while also preventing the formation of harmful byproducts and strong chlorine flavor and odor. The development of harmful microorganisms in the water supply can also be caused by an imbalance between total and free chlorine, increasing the risk of waterborne illnesses for the general public.
Additionally, the relationship between total and free chlorine is impacted by the pH levels of the water. The amount of free chlorine declines as pH levels rise. This implies that the chlorine’s ability to disinfect water decreases as pH increases. To keep the balance of total and free chlorine, it’s critical to monitor and adjust pH levels as needed.
In conclusion, a key component of water treatment is comprehending the distinction between total and free chlorine. Total chlorine is a measurement of all chlorine, whether it is free chlorine or combined chlorine, that is present in water. The kind of chlorine that is readily available to clean water and eradicate dangerous microorganisms is called free chlorine.
To guarantee safe and clean water, maintaining the proper balance of total and free chlorine is essential. It’s also critical to monitor pH levels. It is always best to speak with your local water authority if you have any worries about the chlorine levels in your water supply.