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[Killietalk] Re: Chloramine
Wright is not picking on you, he is merely trying to point out the
difference between water treatment processes. He is correct in that most water
supply companies must use chloramine for disinfection purposes nowadays. For the
past few years, any water treatment plant that serves more than 25,000 customers
is federally mandated to use chloramine as a disinfectant unless they are
under a certain threshold for organic content (which water is hard to come by).
It has been discovered that free chlorine treatment will combine with
certain organics such as tannins and create certain cancer causing compounds
called trihalomethanes, or THM's. To avoid this, chlorine is supplemented with
ammonia to combine as chloramine. While it is not as good a disinfectant, it does
work reasonably well, does not create THM's and stays in solution much
longer, for more than a month, as Wright stated.
Free chlorine is volatile and will dissipate out of solution in as little
as 24 hours, especially if aerated, as you stated. Chloramine, however, takes
a lot of energy to break the chemical bond, either by superchlorination or by
neutralizing the chlorine. Once the bond is broken, the chlorine can be
driven off or neutralized, but the ammonia will remain in the water. This is why
Novaqua by itself will not detoxify chloramines. Amquel does so by changing the
ammonia form, but still does not remove it. Even distillation does not remove
ammonia, which is why lab grade distilled water is run through an ion exchange
resin before use. I believe activated carbon will adsorb ammonia, but it has
a much greater affinity for other compounds and will adsorb them first.
What all that means is that merely bubbling the water for 24 hours may
not render it safe. You should test your water for both chlorine and ammonia
before assuming it is safe to use in your tanks. Which brings me to my question
for Lee, have you tested the water from your carbon filter for ammonia or just
for chlorine? If your kit is only one test and not two seperate tests it may
only be testing for chlorine. At present I am using a water barrel storage
system, Novaqua, Amquel, and aeration, and if the carbon filter takes out the
ammonia I can just skip all the chemical voodoo and fill the tanks straight from
the hose with it.
Finally, for Scott, new plumbing should not leach any copper after five
years in use. Most copper leaching is from water sitting in the pipes
overnight. Running it for a few minutes before use should flush out any dangerous
levels. To figure how long to run your water, see how long it takes to fill a
gallon jar from the kitchen sink. That is your flow rate. The volume of water in
your pipes is (3.14 times 1/2 pipe diameter squared times length of pipe used).
Multiplying flow rate times volume will tell you how long to flush your water
before using it.
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