THMs are a group
of chemicals that are created when water is chlorinated. When drinking water is disinfected with chlorine, the chlorine mixes
with organic material, that is naturally present in the water (such as leaf debris), and creates other chemicals called “disinfection
by-products (DBPs).” THMs are one of the by-products of chlorinating water. There are four different trihalomethanes:
bromoform, chloroform, bromodichloromethane, and chlorodibromomethane. Together they are called “total trihalomethanes”
or TTHMs. The amount of TTHMs in drinking water can change, depending on such things as water temperature, the amount of chlorine
needed to disinfect the water, the time that the chlorine interacts with the organics, and even the amount of organic material present in the groundwater.
tests for TTHM’s in the drinking water. Previously, a running annual average
of 100 parts per billion (ppb), was allowable. EPA lowered this level to 80 parts
per billion in January 2004.
The Immokalee Water & Sewer District made the switch in November 2005, from free chlorine
to chloramines as a disinfectant, to reduce the concentrations of TTHMs and HAA5s in the finished water. Since the change
in disinfection, the levels have to continued to drop, and the District has been reduced to Annual instead of Quarterly testing
for these parameters.