Household water treatment with chlorine can improve the microbiological quality of household water and reduce diarrheal disease. We conducted laboratory and field studies to inform chlorine dosage recommendations. In the laboratory, reactors of varying turbidity (10–300 NTU) and total organic carbon (0–25 mg/L addition) were created, spiked with Escherichia coli, and dosed with 3.75 mg/L sodium hypochlorite. All reactors had >4 log reduction of E. coli 24 hours after chlorine addition. In the field, we tested 158 sources in 22 countries for chlorine demand. A 1.88 mg/L dosage for water from improved sources of <5 or <10 NTU turbidity met free chlorine residual criteria (≤2.0 mg/L at 1 hour, ≥0.2 mg/L at 24 hours) 91–94% and 82–87% of the time at 8 and 24 hours, respectively. In unimproved water source samples, a 3.75 mg/L dosage met relaxed criteria (≤4.0 mg/L at 1 hour, ≥0.2 mg/L after 24 hours) 83% and 65% of the time after 8 and 24 hours, respectively. We recommend water from improved/low turbidity sources be dosed at 1.88 mg/L and used within 24 hours, and from unimproved/higher turbidity sources be dosed at 3.75 mg/L and consumed within 8 hours. Further research on field effectiveness of chlorination is recommended.

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