Chlorine Program FAQ


Municipal Office

395 Mulock Drive P.O. Box 328 Station Main, Newmarket, Ontario
L3Y 4X7

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What is Chloramine?

Chloramine is a disinfectant used in drinking water to control bacteria and viruses. It is made up of chlorine and aqueous ammonia. This is currently the form of disinfection that is used in York Region's drinking water supply serving the Town of Newmarket. Chloramines are a longer lasing disinfectant that minimizes taste and odours within the drinking water.

What is Free Chlorine?

Free Chlorine is a stronger disinfectant than Chloramine, which may be used to remove more resistant bacteria that may be found in water distribution systems.

Why are you converting from Chloramine to Free Chlorine?

Free Chlorine is a stronger disinfectant than Chloramine, and it will be used as an enhanced maintenance practice during the winter months to maintain Newmarket's high standard of water quality.

What is the difference in benefits between Chloramine and Free Chlorine?

While Chloramine has certain benefits (odour is less noticeable, longer disinfectant persistence in the distribution system, less likely to form disinfection by-products), Free Chlorine is a stronger disinfectant. Free chlorine is more aggressive on nuisance biological growth in the distribution system.

When will the conversion occur?

The conversion has been completed.


Will I need to do anything differently during the conversion?

No action is necessary. Customers may drink and use their water as normal. The Town will be flushing the distribution system to change over all the water in the pipes in the selected area from chloramine to free chlorine. As the transition in water chemistry moves through the distribution pipes, temporary changes in taste and odour may be experienced by some people. If you experience discolouration, run the cold water tap until it runs clear, generally for 5 minutes. 

Will my water taste different after the conversion to Free Chlorine?

Most people will not notice any change. Each individual has his or her own sensitivity level to the taste and/or odour of Chlorine.

Is Free Chlorine and Chloraminated water safe?

Yes, both forms of chlorine are effective and safe. Both forms of chlorinated water are safe for people and animals to drink, for cooking and bathing, watering the garden, and for all other common uses. Just as with Chloramine, precautions must be taken to remove or neutralize Free Chlorine in the preparation of water for fish tanks and ponds, and for businesses requiring highly-processed water.

What should dialysis patients know about Free Chlorine?

Both Free Chlorine and Chloramine need to be removed from water before passing into the bloodstream. Like everyone else, dialysis patients may drink water treated with either Free Chlorine or Chloramine because the digestive process neutralizes these chemicals before they can enter the bloodstream. Customers with home dialysis equipment should contact their physicians and check with equipment manufacturers for more information.

How can I remove chlorine taste/odour from my water?

The easiest and most effective way to remove any chlorine taste is to put a pitcher of water in the refrigerator. Adding a lemon wedge, or using a home water treatment device (i.e. Brita water filter) that employs granular activated carbon or reverse osmosis, will also reduce or remove chlorine taste/odour.

Will pool owners need to treat water differently?

Pool owners must maintain the same chlorine level in water treated with either Free Chlorine or Chloramine to prevent algae and bacterial growth. Pool supply stores can provide pool owners with more information.

Where can I get more information?

If you have any questions or concerns with the temporary free chlorine treatment, are experiencing persistent water discolouration or a significant reduction in water pressure to your home, please contact Customer Service Centre at 905-895-5193, or email For health related questions, call York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.