Chloride is one of the major inorganic anions, or negative ions, in saltwater and freshwater. Almost all natural waters contain chloride. It originates from the dissociation of salts such as sodium chloride or calcium chloride in water. These salts originate from natural minerals, saltwater intrusion into estuaries and industrial pollution.
There are many possible sources of manmade salts that may elevate levels of chloride such as road salts used as a de-icer, which are also harmful to the aquatic life. Freshwater aquatic plants and freshwater invertebrates are the most sensitive to chloride water. Chloride ions that enter ground water can ultimately be expected to reach the surface and therefore influence the aquatic environment as well as humans. High levels of chloride in drinking water will produce a briny, salty taste. The recommended maximum level of chloride in drinking water is 250 mg/l.