Beginning on Monday, May 28th, New Jersey American Water will be switching the way it treats their water supply before delivering it to your homes.

The chemical switch over is important to note for several reasons. Company officials are promising a cleaner and less chlorinated tasting water.

The utility is changing its water treatment disinfectant for customers in Ocean and Monmouth Counties from chlorine to chloramine, which is a mixture of chlorine and ammonia approved by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The switch has become a necessity to reduce certain disinfection byproducts associated with chlorinated drinking water that could be a potential health hazard.

According to company spokesman Richard Barnes, "as a disinfectant, chlorine reacts with naturally occurring organic materials found in raw water and the byproducts of that reaction could be attributed to some health risks. Chloramine is not as reactive with organic materials, and thereby produces less disinfection byproducts."

The changeover to chloramines will affect New Jersey American Water customers in the following municipalities: Aberdeen Township, Allenhurst, Asbury Park City, Avon, Bayhead, Belmar, Bradley Beach, Brick, Colts Neck Township, Deal, Eatontown, Fair Haven, Farmingdale (partially), Highlands, Holmdel Township, Interlaken, Keansburg, Lake Como, Little Silver, Loch Arbor Village, Long Branch City, Matawan, Middletown Township, Monmouth Beach, Neptune City, and Neptune Township (incl. Ocean Grove), Ocean Township, Oceanport, Red Bank, Rumson, Sea Bright, Shorelands, Shrewsbury, Shrewsbury Township, Toms River (Montoloking) Tinton Falls, Union Beach, and West Long Branch.

New Jersey American Water advises kidney dialysis patients to consult their physicians to determine what modifications should be made in their treatment process to filter chloramine-treated water. Water treated with chloramines is safe for dialysis patients to ingest but there are findings that chlorine and chloramine that mixes with the blood stream could be toxic.

Fish owners should also take precaution with the changeover to chloramines as it may be toxic to fish. Products can be obtained at pet stores that will remove chloramines from tap water prior to filling fish tanks.

New Jersey American Water has established a website that provides customers with more information with chloramines.