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 Post subject: Chloramine problem in my water supply
PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2003 10:26 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2003 8:18 am
Posts: 10
Location: Mesquite, TX
I am implementing an organic program in my landscape (lawn/flower beds/trees/garden) at my new home in Mesquite, TX, but am concerned about chemicals in the water supply. Mesquite's water is treated with chloramine at the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) in Wylie. The primary source for Mesquite's water is Lake Lavon and is supplemented by water delivered from Lake Texoma and Cooper Lake. Chloramine is a combined form of chlorine (chlorine and ammonia) and its purpose is to kill microbes. It is added to our water supply because its disinfecting qualities are longer lasting and less corrosive than free-chlorine.

So that I can better understand soil microbes, I have read all of the information on Dr. Elaine Ingham's site at www.soilfoodweb.com and have ordered two of her books, "Soil Biology Primer" and "Compost Tea Manual, 4th ed." She mentions that chlorine is harmful to microbes, but doesn't mention anything about how to remove chloramine on her web site.

From my research on the web I have learned that free-chlorine can be removed from water by allowing the water to be exposed to the air for a few hours before using or by aerating the water with a submerged air bubble stone attached to an aquarium pump, but chloramine can not be removed this way. It must be filtered out.

Further research on organic materials that will filter out chloramine from water have indicated granulated activated charcoal, zeolite and ascorbic acid (vitamin C, Tang etc.) can be effective. As a result, I am designing a rechargeable in-line garden hose filter with these three ingredients and will test the effectiveness of chloramine extraction with reagent test strips.

If it works, this will allow me to use my garden hose applicator sprayer to apply compost tea without killing the microbes in the tea. I would use rainwater, but we haven't received much rain lately. The problem is, my landscape is all watered with my in-ground sprinkler system, which is connected to the municipal water supply. I do not see an economical way of placing a filter on my sprinkler system to remove the chloramine. I have not calculated the size of a rainwater collection reservoir I would need to irrigate an 8,500 square foot landscape, but I would think it would need to be quite large and expensive to retrofit.

The question is: will the chloramine in my sprinkler system water end up killing the microbes I have inoculated into the soil with compost tea and therefore be counter-productive to an organic program? Could you apply the tea and wait a few days before watering with the sprinkler system? If so, what about subsequent waterings? What's the ppm chloramine concentration limit that microbes can survive? Over time, would the chloramine completely wipe out the microbes, or can they reproduce fast enough and overcome the chloramine. Once established in the soil, does the soil offer any protection against chloramine?

This is a new house, with new sod, built in March of this year. Previously the soil was farmland that had not been farmed in at least 7 years. My soil is made up of about 1-inch of sandy-loam topsoil that was delivered with the Bermudagrass sod. The sod was laid over the local heavy clay soil which is called Houston Black Clay from the Upper Cretaceous Taylor Marl Formation. I also applied about 1/3-inch compost as a top-dressing on the grass in late May to start my organic program. It has had Texas Tee organic fertilizer, Garrett juice and horticultural cornmeal applications as well.

Thanks for your help.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2003 12:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2003 8:15 am
Posts: 963
Location: Odenville,Alabama
Sounds like you are on the right track, my friend!
Everything that I have reading recently that is newer than the SoilFoodWeb books that you mentioned, from her company and from www.intlctc.org, suggest that chlorine and chlorime can be very easily diffused from faucet water in a tea brewing system, simply by running your plain water in your brewer with about 60 minutes of constant aeration, before adding your tea ingredients.

Also the citrus acid (Tang) idea is great for adjusting tea solution pH, and neutralizing chlorine and other bad stuff in water.

I always keep a couple of 50 gallon rain barrels always full at all times for all my composting and tea brewing needs. The water is mostly regular faucet water, with about a cup of human urine and compost or rich dirt in it, for extra nitrogen and microbes for better microbial growth in my teas and my piles.

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The entire Kingdom of God can be totally explained as an Organic Garden (Mark 4:26)
William Cureton


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2003 1:15 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2003 8:18 am
Posts: 10
Location: Mesquite, TX
Thanks for the reply Captain. Obtaining non-leathal water to use in my aerobic tea is the easy part. What I'm most concerned about is the big picture in what happens to the microbes after I've applied the aerobic tea to my soil and foliage and I then need to water my landscape with the automated in-ground sprinkler system that contains chloramine.

I'm converting most of the spray heads in the flower beds to drip irrigation for water conservation and direct application of water and nutrients to the plants. But I'm trying to avoid the expense of adding a filter to remove chloramine to the in-ground sprinkler system. Or the expense of disconnecting my in-ground sprinkler system from the municipal water supply, installing rain collection resevoirs, pumps, filters and re-routing the new plumbing to connect the in-ground sprinkler to the resevoirs.

Like most people, I'm trying to get best results at the least cost.

Will the chloramines in the municipal water kill my microbes when I use the in-ground sprinkler to water my landscape?

Thanks again,
Phillip


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2003 1:51 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2003 8:15 am
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Location: Odenville,Alabama
You could do what I'm doing right now. I haven't watered my garden and lawn in about 3 months! I simply use aerated teas 2-3 times a week all over my plants and around plant roots as a foliar/soil drench. This way I always feed and water and protect my plants every time I apply my teas.

I apply my diluted teas via a simple 5 gallon bucket and narrow drinking cup. No strainer. No sprayer. No irrigation system. I have 3/4 acres in no-till garden beds, and about 1/2 acre in lawn.

I dilute my teas at application time with my "rainwater" from the barrels. I apply about 1/2 bucket or less tea, then fill the rest of the bucket with water. In reality you can't over feed a plant with aerated teas, because the available nutrient levels are low, and the aerobic bacteria and fungal populations are extremely high, thus causing the microbes to buffer the water and nutrients to the plants whenever they need it.

_________________
The entire Kingdom of God can be totally explained as an Organic Garden (Mark 4:26)
William Cureton


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