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Chlorine gas has been in use as a disinfecting agent for close to 100 years. During this time its use has been effective, successful and, at times, controversial. Chlorine gas is the most widely used disinfectant at water and wastewater treatment plants. The use of chlorine compounds is traced from their initial uses as a deodorizer in open sewers and ditches to the current use of chlorine gas as an effluent disinfectant.

The history of the safety practices developed for the use of chlorine gas is reviewed and the introduction of regulations that impacted the safe use of chlorine gas is detailed. Changes that were made in the handling of chlorine, as conditions were recognized that could have lead to unsafe handling, are detailed. The evolutionary process, though painful, produced a chemical that has a safety record that stands alone in the chemical industry.

The water and wastewater industry uses only 5% of the chlorine that is produced but has an estimated 95% of the users. The chlorine industry's safety concerns led to the production of a video and pamphlet for use by the operating personnel that details the current thinking regarding safe chlorine gas use.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2000

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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