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Chlorate is a chemical anion that may enter your drinking water from several potential sources, including from hypochlorite or chlorine dioxide disinfection at a treatment plant and source water contamination from pesticide runoff or industrial discharge.
Byproducts chloride, chlorite and chlorate are formed when chlorine dioxide is used as a water disinfectant to oxidize taste and odor issues. Approximately 70% of chlorine dioxide is converted to chlorite and approximately 10% becomes chlorate. This rate of conversion is a function of the hypochlorite concentration, storage temperature, time and pH.
Perchlorate forms in stored hypochlorite solutions as a secondary reaction after chlorate generation. Also, if ozone is applied to water treated with chlorine or chlorine dioxide that has not been dechlorinated, oxidation to chlorate will occur.
Chlorate has been included in several national monitoring studies including the 1997-1998 EPA Information Collection Rule (ICR) that produced data from 353 surface water systems. It has also been included in the 3rd U.S. EPA Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR).