Author Topic: Cheap but effective chlorine filtration?  (Read 5616 times)

Thegoblinchief

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Cheap but effective chlorine filtration?
« on: March 14, 2015, 12:07:51 PM »
Running into issues where I need reliably chlorine-free water for various projects (mainly wild fermentation, inoculation of garden seed). If buying bottled spring or distilled water is the best solution, so be it, but I'd hate to have to do this.

So anyone have input on inexpensive but good (priority on good, I will pay more $ for something that actually does it if there's no cheap solutions) chlorine filtration? My city's tap water is too chlorinated without remediation.

Thanks!

TheGibberingPotato

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Re: Cheap but effective chlorine filtration?
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2015, 12:16:37 PM »
Running into issues where I need reliably chlorine-free water for various projects (mainly wild fermentation, inoculation of garden seed). If buying bottled spring or distilled water is the best solution, so be it, but I'd hate to have to do this.

So anyone have input on inexpensive but good (priority on good, I will pay more $ for something that actually does it if there's no cheap solutions) chlorine filtration? My city's tap water is too chlorinated without remediation.

Thanks!

I use a carbon filter i got at lowest; cost maybe 20 bucks. 
Hook it up to my laundry room faucet via a cheap brass adapter and food-grade tubing.
Rated to handle some absurd volume of water like 5000-1000 gallons.  In 1.5 years I'm maybe at 500 gallons (probably way less).

The filter makes a noticeable difference to the taste of the water.

Oh, and activated carbon should be fine for this job.  I doubt you need any fancy pants reverse osmosis solutions.

Davin

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Re: Cheap but effective chlorine filtration?
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2015, 12:33:16 PM »
Let it sit in an open container overnight and the chlorine will naturally outgas on its own. No filtration is required.

TheGibberingPotato

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Re: Cheap but effective chlorine filtration?
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2015, 01:12:46 PM »
Let it sit in an open container overnight and the chlorine will naturally outgas on its own. No filtration is required.

I'm not certain if that's entirely true; the chlorine will evaporate, but the chloramines I think may not.  You would need to check with your water treatment center to see what chemicals they use in the treatment.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Cheap but effective chlorine filtration?
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2015, 02:06:34 PM »
Let it sit in an open container overnight and the chlorine will naturally outgas on its own. No filtration is required.

I'm not certain if that's entirely true; the chlorine will evaporate, but the chloramines I think may not.  You would need to check with your water treatment center to see what chemicals they use in the treatment.

They use chloramines.

plank

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Re: Cheap but effective chlorine filtration?
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2015, 02:16:12 PM »
Find a natural spring and fill up a couple of jugs.

flygal

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Re: Cheap but effective chlorine filtration?
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2015, 02:47:55 PM »
I don't know if this will help, but I use a water conditioner to pre-treat my aquarium water before water changes.  It removes chlorine and chloramines.  It only takes a few drops per gallon.  This would certainly work for your plants.  It is not labeled for human consumption so I am not sure I'd use it for fermentation. 

We also use a carbon filter for drinking water.  I have never tested it for chlorine, but there are aquarium tests for that as well. 

AxialGentleman

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Re: Cheap but effective chlorine filtration?
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2015, 04:26:34 PM »
Powdered vitamin C can be used to remove both chlorine and chloramine from water. I know this sounds like something a wild-eyed clerk at the natural grocery co-op would tell you, but the method was developed by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission for treating chlorinated wastewater, and is explained in detail on the USDA forest service website. For $10 you can buy enough powdered vitamin C to last essentially forever.

Just remember that once you mix it with water, you can't store it for more than a few days. When I got lazy and assumed it would keep its potency longer, I ended up killing Dave Strider, our poor betta fish.

TheGibberingPotato

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Re: Cheap but effective chlorine filtration?
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2015, 11:27:48 PM »
Let it sit in an open container overnight and the chlorine will naturally outgas on its own. No filtration is required.

I'm not certain if that's entirely true; the chlorine will evaporate, but the chloramines I think may not.  You would need to check with your water treatment center to see what chemicals they use in the treatment.

They use chloramines.


An inexpensive carbon filter is your way to go.
Don't get a fancy filter; just get the one that you hook up yourself.
 
Even a Brita filter would work for your purpose; only problem with those is that they don't last very long, before you have to refill the filter.
My one is a 2 in diameter, 8 in long cylinder.

Presumably you could even make your own filter; or replace the carbon in a used brita filter.  The activated carbon (it does need to be activated; this is what makes it bind stuff) should be pretty cheap.

Daley

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Re: Cheap but effective chlorine filtration?
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2015, 08:31:28 AM »
Let it sit in an open container overnight and the chlorine will naturally outgas on its own. No filtration is required.

I'm not certain if that's entirely true; the chlorine will evaporate, but the chloramines I think may not.  You would need to check with your water treatment center to see what chemicals they use in the treatment.

They use chloramines.

Oy. Chloramines. I've been grappling with this nasty stuff for a bit now.

There is a problem with chloramines and carbon. Chloramines cut the carbon's effective filtering life cycle by about 80%, at which point it starts degrading the GAC (granular activated carbon) and shedding back into the water supply everything it filtered out and more. You also need to limit water flow through GAC to no more than 12-15 gallons per hour (there needs to be a minimum of 45 seconds contact time with the carbon) if you're wanting to filter chloramines, or else you will get breakthrough. Stuff like Britta water filters will just be a waste of money for the stuff. There's also the issue of breeding less desirable organisms in the filtration media longer term without prior sterilization, especially since chloramines are actually less effective at killing microorganisms in water than chlorine is.

Going the ascorbic acid route is technically more expensive than the GAC route on smaller scales if you can replace the carbon media yourself and you need to filter the water anyway. There's also the issue of proper dosing if delicate pH maintenance is a concern on small water batch usage and no post-filtration happens. Reaction time is four minutes, leaves dehydroascorbic acid and ammonium chloride behind, and is only useful in short-term applications due to degradation.

Intense UV light exposure seems to be the most promising method of treatment which breaks down the chloramines rapidly. Treatment seems most effective with 245-340nm wavelengths at 60mJ/cm2, IIRC. Unless you're really serious about removing chloramines from your family's water entirely (and there's reasonable grounds to do so), it's not really practical for your needs.

For smaller batches, the Culligan/Primo water jug filter machines down at Walmart when you catch them well maintained spit out fully filtered water with a 0-5ppm dissolved solids count. Most areas usually sell the stuff for under 40 a gallon. Cheaper than DI water and fresher.

The worst part is, chloramines aren't as effective at water sterilization as regular chlorine is, the stuff has significantly higher risks to living critters including humans, and it's considerably more expensive to filter out/remove from the water supply than plain chlorine. There's the concern of higher trihalomethane production with chlorine over chloramine, which is a possible carcinogen itself, but the most effective method of reducing THMs in the water supply is to just remove the organic matter before treatment in the first place. There's very little knowledge on long-term chloramine effects on humans as well, but it has been known to cause rashes and outbreaks in people's skins shorter term. Sorry... now I'm starting to rant. The stuff is just problematic.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2015, 08:33:17 AM by I.P. Daley »

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Cheap but effective chlorine filtration?
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2015, 09:36:59 AM »
Oy. Chloramines. I've been grappling with this nasty stuff for a bit now.

There is a problem with chloramines and carbon. Chloramines cut the carbon's effective filtering life cycle by about 80%, at which point it starts degrading the GAC (granular activated carbon) and shedding back into the water supply everything it filtered out and more. You also need to limit water flow through GAC to no more than 12-15 gallons per hour (there needs to be a minimum of 45 seconds contact time with the carbon) if you're wanting to filter chloramines, or else you will get breakthrough. Stuff like Britta water filters will just be a waste of money for the stuff. There's also the issue of breeding less desirable organisms in the filtration media longer term without prior sterilization, especially since chloramines are actually less effective at killing microorganisms in water than chlorine is.

Going the ascorbic acid route is technically more expensive than the GAC route on smaller scales if you can replace the carbon media yourself and you need to filter the water anyway. There's also the issue of proper dosing if delicate pH maintenance is a concern on small water batch usage and no post-filtration happens. Reaction time is four minutes, leaves dehydroascorbic acid and ammonium chloride behind, and is only useful in short-term applications due to degradation.

Intense UV light exposure seems to be the most promising method of treatment which breaks down the chloramines rapidly. Treatment seems most effective with 245-340nm wavelengths at 60mJ/cm2, IIRC. Unless you're really serious about removing chloramines from your family's water entirely (and there's reasonable grounds to do so), it's not really practical for your needs.

For smaller batches, the Culligan/Primo water jug filter machines down at Walmart when you catch them well maintained spit out fully filtered water with a 0-5ppm dissolved solids count. Most areas usually sell the stuff for under 40 a gallon. Cheaper than DI water and fresher.

The worst part is, chloramines aren't as effective at water sterilization as regular chlorine is, the stuff has significantly higher risks to living critters including humans, and it's considerably more expensive to filter out/remove from the water supply than plain chlorine. There's the concern of higher trihalomethane production with chlorine over chloramine, which is a possible carcinogen itself, but the most effective method of reducing THMs in the water supply is to just remove the organic matter before treatment in the first place. There's very little knowledge on long-term chloramine effects on humans as well, but it has been known to cause rashes and outbreaks in people's skins shorter term. Sorry... now I'm starting to rant. The stuff is just problematic.

Daley - thanks for your input. Do you specifically recommend the Culligan ones or is any filter station brand okay? The stores I usually go to have the refillable jug stations for the same price, but I don't think they have that specific one.

According to the utility, the use liquid chlorine for the initial treatment, but then react it with ammonia upon exiting because (they claim) chloramines have more stability for longer residual effect in the pipes. Should I be concerned about the chloramines for general drinking/cooking water? Again per the utility the maximum threshold is 4mg/L, but the average range is 1.22-2mg/L per the utility.

I don't know if I want to go the UV route, but any resources you might point me to if I do want to research it further?

On the ascorbic acid reaction, what you're saying (I think) is that I'd want to react it with the water to precipitate out, then filter again to ensure the reaction doesn't degrade back into chloramines again? My chemistry is quite rusty.

Daley

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Re: Cheap but effective chlorine filtration?
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2015, 11:15:25 AM »
We've personally only had experience locally with the Culligan/Primo stations (Primo technically bought out Culligan's vending machine division a couple years back) and whatever filtration system Whole Foods uses, which includes a full DI filtration option at our local store.

At home, Zerowater seemed like a promising solution for us initially for the price, especially through double filtration, but I'd calculated filter longevity on dated information from our own water utility expecting chlorine instead of chloramines ourselves. We got about ten gallons on the first filter before it blew out, expensive mistake... but the water was tasty while it lasted. *chukle*

If you're getting serious about water quality, it might be worth the ten bucks or so to pick up a TDS meter. It won't tell you what contaminates are in your water, but it'll give you a quick idea of how much total contaminates are there. It'd probably be useful to determine who has the best filtration system locally. Of course, going filtered DI or under 10ppm (technically anything under about 50ppm, IIRC) primary water drinking starts getting into other issues like stripping out trace minerals and salts in the body, though that's easily countered with regularly using stuff like Himalayan salt in all your cooking. If you keep solid particulates under about 5-10ppm though, you can pretty much guarantee that it's practically fluoride and chloramine free, not to mention very soft water, which mostly gives you a mostly blank slate to treat and tinker with if/as needed.

I can't remember exactly what precipitates back out long term on the ascorbic acid front and I'm feeling lazy trying to call it back up, but as Axial Gentleman pointed out, the long-term end product was still deadly for his betta... it's more useful as a neutralizing agent pre-filtration. Regarding UV treatment, it is something that still should have post-filtration, but again the key is to neutralize the chloramines to prolong GAC longevity and sterilization. A good starting point on the science was mostly pioneered in pool care, but has since extended into water treatment for breweries, hospitals and larger scale bottling operations as well. A key search term for chlorimine mitigation technologies interestingly enough is kidney dialysis. I'm personally still researching the UV front myself, but can't seem to find any units under $2500 that doesn't also handle something like 50+GPM, which is ridiculously overkilled for any size family. If I find anything before you do, I'll share.

Your water utility is technically right on the stability of the chloramines, it is considerably more stable long term which is why it's so difficult to remove, but the effectiveness for killing microbes is nowhere near as effective. As for greater chloramine research in general, the CCAC out of San Francisco has a good website to start to fall down the rabbit hole on with the stuff.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2015, 11:23:50 AM by I.P. Daley »

Glenstache

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Re: Cheap but effective chlorine filtration?
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2015, 11:42:33 AM »
The EPA has put together a nice summary page with multiple levels of information on chloramines based on currently available science. http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/mdbp/chloramines_index.cfm

For seed germination, the volatilization method is effectively free, and worth trying for that use. For the wild fermentation, I'm guessing that you will not be using large numbers of gallons per year, so if the volatilization method isn't acceptable for that use, then just fill some jugs at a filtered source or purchase the 2.5 gallon jugs at the market. You will spend close to 50 dollars a year on filters, etc if you go for any kind of in-house system in addition to initial cost, likely making it more expensive... unless you are doing a pretty sizable amount of fermentation where residual levels of disinfectants are problematic.

Tony H

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Re: Cheap but effective chlorine filtration?
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2015, 02:43:05 PM »
Do you know any one that lives in the country?  Usually they have a well and would give you enough for your purposes.

bacchi

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Re: Cheap but effective chlorine filtration?
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2015, 02:59:18 PM »
Campden tablets? Probably use 2 tablets/month/person.

Daley

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Re: Cheap but effective chlorine filtration?
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2015, 03:53:12 PM »
Campden tablets? Probably use 2 tablets/month/person.

*smacks forehead* Food grade potassium metabisulfite! It's kinda hard to dose without overkill on quantities under five gallons at 20mg/gal for dechlorination, but it's cheap as a powder and instant. That just might work at least on the smaller scale Zerowater filtration bit on my end at a reasonable price to extend carbon longevity in the filter. May have to try that.

...UV still looks like the best solution on a household level though when needing to be paired with a filter, theoretically.

sirdoug007

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Cheap but effective chlorine filtration?
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2015, 04:08:07 PM »
How much water do you need?  Rainwater collection might be the ticket if it's just a small amount you need.

Or collect straight from a local stream.


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Johnez

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Re: Cheap but effective chlorine filtration?
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2015, 05:58:18 AM »
Any reason evaporation/distillation can't work? 

I'm contemplating this idea currently for my fish tank because treating tap water leaves massive amounts of TDS and lugging RO water is an annoying chore. The added benefit would be less water wasted as I could recycle it. California drought has me feeling guilty....