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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 3:46 pm 
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This is more of an experiment for me than a necessity. I've read that the chlorine in tap water can kill off the beneficial microbes on the surface of the soil. I know that a 1 inch rainstorm does my grass 10 times more good than when I water an inch, so maybe chlorine is the reason.

I checked into prices and found charcoal filled dechlorinators for about $30 and not rechargeable. They looked to be about 15 inches long and 1.5 inches in outer diameter. They connect to the faucet at one end and the hose connects to the unit at the other end. So it is basically an inline filter.

Before embarking on this project, I conducted a scientific analysis of the parts I had in my garage. I found I had PVC pipe in various diameters, PVC cement, and nothing else of value. I settled on 2-inch pipe for the project. I wanted something that would hold about two cups of activated charcoal and Zeolite (from kitty litter) to soak up the chlorine. So I made a few calculations and discovered that a 2-inch pipe just under 14 inches long would hold two cups. That sounded about right. Another reason for using 2-inch diameter pipe is that the volume calculation (length x pi x radius squared) for a one inch radius tube is a lot easier than any of the other pipe sizes I had on hand!!

Here's the parts list in left-to-right order of assembly...

One female hose thread to 3/4-inch male pipe thread adaptor
One 3/4-inch female threaded to 2-inch smooth male pipe adaptor.
One 2-inch female smooth to 2-inch male threaded pipe adaptor.
One 2-inch female threaded to 2-inch female smooth pipe adaptor
One 2-inch diameter pipe, six inches long.
One 2-inch female smooth to 2-inch female smooth pipe adaptor.
One 2-inch male smooth to 3/4-inch female threaded pipe adaptor.
One 3/4-inch male to male nipple.

Total cost so far is $7.47.

1.75 cups of activated charcoal (I used Sta-Green Professional Charcoal from the garden center at Lowes)
1/2 cup of generic kitty litter with zeolite (read the label looking for Zeolite). Got that at HEB grocery store - store brand kitty litter.
One Scotch Brite Heavy Duty Scour Pad cut into three 2-inch diameter disks.

Cost for these was $8. Total cost for parts is about $16. If you went to buy a dechlorinator, they're about $30 so, so far I'm ahead. Furthermore, I have enough charcoal and kitty litter to refill this thing at least 5 more times. I also have two extra scour pads.

Assembly was done with PVC glue and Teflon tape for the threaded parts. Cut the scour pad into circular disks that fit snugly inside the 2-inch tube. These are to keep the filter materials inside. After the parts are glued together, put one disk inside at each end and save one for when assembling the 2-inch threaded parts to keep the stuff from dumping out of the one you turn over before screwing it together. Fill each side of the tube with the kitty litter and charcoal and put the third scour pad disk on top of whichever side you decide to turn upside down. All this does is keep the charcoal from dumping out. I don't mean to be redundant with this paragraph but I'm still not sure I said that in the clearest way.

Then screw it back together and you're off to the dechlorinated races. I figure (without any justification) that it will last a year before needing to be recharged with a couple more cups of charcoal and kitty litter. The overall finished length is 15 inches. Finished weight with water is probably 3 pounds. This baby is heavy enough that it needs to lay on the ground, not hang from a faucet.

Note: I realize that the pipe threaded nipple is not a perfect match for the hose thread I used, but it's so close that it really wasn't worth the extra cost of the true 3/4 inch pipe thread to hose thread nipple.

I'm not convinced the charcoal I got is "activated." I'll do a test with colored water sometime soon. If it is activated, it should remove food coloring in one pass.

So for $16 and a little work, I have a rechargeable garden dechlorinator.

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Last edited by user_48634 on Wed Sep 17, 2003 8:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Does it work?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2003 7:01 am 
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I would like to know if your dechlorinator works. I am in the process of gathering the materials to build one myself.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2003 7:35 am 
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I would like to know if it works, too. I need to get that aquarium test stuff.

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 Post subject: filter
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2003 6:56 am 
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Dave, thanks, this sounds like a good idea, I had been thinking of doing something like this. Wonder if you could make a large one out of a bucket to filter out the dirt also. We have dirt that comes out of our water also, evident because we filled our swim pool once and then it took over a day to filter out the dirt, a person does not notice it when they pour a glass of water. Would a person need a large filter for that? How long do you think the filter would last of course you could refill your own filter this way? What else will charcoal filter?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2003 7:19 am 
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I suspect the filter, as I built it, will filter out larger particles of dirt.

The commercial brand filters like this one claim to last a year.

Charcoal will filter chlorine, chloramines, odors, and colors. I'm not sure how well it will filter strong doses of chlorine. For example, if you have 4 ppm of chlorine, I believe the filter will take it all out. But if you have 40 ppm, I'm not sure what it will do.

The zeolite will filter ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2003 10:47 pm 
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I use that chemical in my compost tea instead of aerating. My only problem is using it on a flow of water through a hose.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2003 11:32 am 
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David, How well did your filter work? I really like your idea.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 10:27 am 
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I never found a test kit I liked. Then the rains came so I haven't used it much since the last post.

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 Post subject: Filter
PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2003 4:58 pm 
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David, Sounds like a great project to build and try out.

One question...How much did the water pressure drop? :roll:

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2003 11:03 am 
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I didn't measure the pressure drop, but my impact sprinkler still works like it did before. Flow is good. Still have not checked effectiveness of removing chlorine.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2003 3:21 pm 
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My experience building the dechlorinator:

The parts list was excellent, David. Thanks for making it easy for us! :D

I was unable to find any kitty litter that specifically listed zeolite as an ingredient and I also had a problem with the charcoal clumping up and severely restricting waterflow. :evil:

I made a trip to the local Petco and found a product called "Diamond Blend" by Marineland. As the name implies, it is a blend of "premium activated carbon and ammonia-fighting crystals" (the ammonia-fighting crystals look suspiciously like gray kitty litter - what do you want to bet it's Zeolite?) :idea:

The larger particle size seemed to do the trick. Even with the filter housing completely filled, water flow/pressure is not noticeably affected.

Althought this material was probably a more expensive alternative (~$7 per quart), the convenience was worth it imo.


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 Post subject: zeolite
PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2003 5:33 pm 
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The filter sounds like it may be a good idea if anyone can test the diff. between clorinated tap water & the water filtered with this homemade filter. Zeolite is available at any feed store & much cheaper than pet stores. Also, it is not a mix of other stuff like unknown crystals, etc.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2003 2:01 am 
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Coupla things....

David - I would check whether the chlorine is getting removed at the flow rates you are talking. I love the idea and activated carbon is a great way to filter a number of nasty compounds - if you fill a bucket with water and drop in the activated carbon it will remove the chlorine pretty quick but not immediately and it wears out depending on the amount of dissolved contaminants in the water.

Second - there is a huge difference in activated carbons - the cheaper activated charcoal products are extremely variable - I have seen it work well or poorly, often by the same manufacturere depending on batch. The best stuff, activated carbon from cocunut shells will hold several times it's weight in dissolved solids but is way too expensive for this application.

Next - Sodium Thiosulfate at a very low drip rate will take a lot of chlorine out very cheaply - you can get it by the gallon for peanuts from a chemical supply company. Money saving tip - Woolite has a little in it to keep clothes from fading in the gentle cycle....

I'm betting you could add an inline dispenser pretty cheap?????

WRT Zeolyte - nice product! It is basically a chemical sponge for nitrogen compounds like ammonia. The theory behind your filter if i am getting it right is: Activated carbon to remove dissolved contaminants and detach the CL from the NH2CL Chloramine molecule leaving after a boring step or two - ammonia which will be trace and not hurt those nitrogen fixing microbes in your soil - N to the grass, H2+ a little oxygen and ya get that wet stuff is how it breaks down. The filter you describe makes great sense for a garden pond - fish are real sensitive to ammonia, hence the first party rule of "No peeing in my koi pond" (actually that is number two - my pool is the first no-no) around here. With your yard I am willing to bet you a cookie that if you get rid of the chlorine (which is killing the nitrogen fixing bacteria) the leftover ammonia from the chloramine is nothin but food.

Chlorine is the real problem for microbes.

I'm not trying to be contrary - just helpful - i think sodium thiosulfate will do the trick better for what you are after. I am fairly sure there are attachments to drip this stuff into the line????? Carbon filtration would help the dissolved contaminants deemed 'OK' for us to drink (ughhh)

For a test kit, there are $10 test kits at any pet shop with reagents fro chlorine and chloramine (ammonia too but I would not be concerned)...

BTW- most municipalities use chloramine in summer to deal with algal blooms and chlorine during the cold months (which we don't have here :-) )

I think you'll have more success breaking the CL out with thiosulfate as long as that lovely egg smell doesn't bug ya.

I know EXACTLY what you mean about a rain versus a watering and it makes ya think.... I am certain chlorine is part of the equation but another is purity... I recently read over Rowlett's water contamination report and we have 'excellent' (cough cough) water.... there were quite a few herbicide residues listed - while 'trace' I am sure they ain't helping.... More than that though - tap water around here has a lot of dissolved mineral content - especially in summertime when the reservoirs are evaporating fast. Your tap water is hard and alkaline with lots of dissolved minerals, rain water has no dissolved mineral content and tends to be acidic with (I think) Nitric acid from air pollution around here - so basically it dissolves a whole lot more 'stuff' that gets carried into the root zone. That was the least scientific description i ever gave about anything, forgive me! but hopefully makes sense - Pure water dissolves everything whereas hard water (heavy calcium carbonate) tends not to so rain gets trace minerals to the roots better.

OK, i promise to go get a life and make my next response short :-)

I am completely willing to let you experiment and tell us when ya hit the magic combination - then learn from your toe stubbins :-) Make me do the guinea pig work on the next Tim Allen project (ur, ur).


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