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Water tests

Discussion in 'Issues, Disease and Pests' started by Forrest, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. Forrest

    Forrest Really Neat

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    Can anyone point me towards a resource for testing water that would be good information as it pertains to using it on orchids?

    Either a home test or a lab send in is fine.

    I know that my local municipal does this, and provides the data to me. What I want to do is try some different filtration methods to see if I can get the levels more acceptable. Then I wont need to use RO, and waste so much water.

    I am not even sure this is possible, but I figure it might be worth trying.
     
  2. Forrest

    Forrest Really Neat

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    I guess another question is does anyone know if I can get my water "good enough" by using combinations of just charcoal and sediment filters? That is without the use of an RO or DI membrane?

    In 2007 my Dissolved solids were 275 at a low, and 435 at a high according to my local water report.
     
  3. Aceetobe

    Aceetobe Member

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    Sediment filters and charcoal will not filter salts. Charcoal will absorb organics such as benzene, toluene, etc etc. There are a couple ways to get rid of salts - "crash" them out of solution, chelate them, RO, & DI. Crashing them out isn't cheap - would require something like Silver Nitrate, and won't really work for all ions. Chelation might, but I'm not sure of the long term impact of it, which leaves RO and DI. I've started a simply experiment with chelation, but that will take some time to get conclusive results.

    RO is obviously wasteful on the water front, leaving DI, which has its own problems.

    I'm personally leaning towards rain water collection, as that leaves me out of the whole California water debacle. I've done 200 gallons this year, and will expand to 600 next year.

    There are some inline filters that will get rid of chlorine though, which might be good enough for you - check your chlorine levels ours in San Diego are close to 100 ppm. San Diego's average is close to 600 ppm, so you should thank the Hetch Hetchy for having awesome water relatively speaking.
     
  4. Eddie729

    Eddie729 New Member

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    Years ago I checked using a charcoal filter (i.e. Pur) on the water in my Brooklyn apartent. It had no effect on the TDS that I could detect with my litle TDS meter.
     
  5. Karen

    Karen Species nut

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    You might check with your local colleges, if they have an Agriculture Dept. they should be able to provide water testing services.
     
  6. Clark

    Clark Gator Member

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    Forrest, the only way is rain water or RO.
     
  7. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    My RO system is set to discharge 2 gallons of water for each 1 gallon of "product" (pure RO water) that it produces. They are now talking about a 30% cut as rationing, so I think my landscape plants may be getting discharge water pretty soon. That means a holding tank and another pump. But I'm not using city water on my plants.
     
  8. Aceetobe

    Aceetobe Member

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    There are numerous options as pointed out. I believe there are some higher efficiency RO systems on the market now, which probably come at a higher energy usage cost. You might also consider pumping your waste from the RO to your hot water heater, and using that water to fill up the hot water tank.

    I'm looking at a small scale DI system right now that is used for people that wash cars. They claim it will pump out ~ 300 gallons of 0ppm water. They charge a ton for the resin, however you can recharge it yourself if you don't mind working with caustic chemicals (aka HCl and NaOH). You must be very diligent with the DI though, because when the resin reaches capacity, it will start spewing out even more salts then your normal city water has. This exact thing caused Andy Phillips to lose 30-40,000 plants - however they were relying on a commercial system - who of course did not recharge the resin properly. In-line ppm meter is essential in this case.
     
  9. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    Personally, I don't view the flush water from an RO unit to be "wasteful", you just need to take a moment and give it some thought As the last two posts indicate, there are lots of ways to use it. I have mine fill a "cement pond" (said with the best drawl I can muster) which is used by birds and deer this time of year, and a huge number of frogs in the warmer months. Several of my customers use it for GH humidification.
     
  10. Aceetobe

    Aceetobe Member

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    Ray, when California is looking at mandatory 30% water y/o household reductions, any water that isn't going towards plants or washing is wasteful. I'd love to be able to fill a cement pond, but my personal daily usage for next year at home is going to have to be about 30 gallons per day total. That means a 3 minute shower per day and no flushing the toilet. Or a two minute shower, 1 flush, and quickly washing the dishes.
     
  11. Forrest

    Forrest Really Neat

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    I use the discharge on landscape as well. However, since I let my lawn die I don't have a lot of need for the water.

    Mostly I am just concerned with how I will achieve a reduction if they are set. Also I wouldn't mind doing my part to be a bit more proactive about conservation in the first place.
     
  12. Tom_in_PA

    Tom_in_PA I am not an addict

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    I agree with Clark...harvest rain water! It is free and will reduce your water usage drastically so if you should need to revert back to RO water a few times you should still be OK.
     
  13. Forrest

    Forrest Really Neat

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    it doesn't rain much here. you guys have never been to California have you?
     
  14. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    A rough calculation says I would need a 25,000 gallon holding tank to have water from the end of the rainy season til the start of the next in an average year, larger than that in low rainfall years (like the last 3). I don't think that is happening in the back yard.
     
  15. Tom-DE

    Tom-DE Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Does the city allow homeowners have wells for irrigation purpose? It might cost few thousand dollars to put in a well but it can save $$$ in a long run if you use a lot of water.
     
  16. Dale

    Dale New Member

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    I shoulda had you take some home with you, Forrest. The GH water is still 35ppm as measured by two different TDS meters.
     
  17. Forrest

    Forrest Really Neat

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    crap. Maybe I should just move into the pump house Dale. Any chance of getting a second story and a nursery added on to that thing?
     
  18. Dale

    Dale New Member

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    "Any chance of getting a second story and a nursery added on to that thing?"

    Shouldn't be a problem, Forrest. Lumber's cheap now and I already have more than I can easily store. Bring your boots and your favorite hammer.
     
  19. Forrest

    Forrest Really Neat

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    oh snap. cept, whats the boots for?
     
  20. Dale

    Dale New Member

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    "whats the boots for?"

    You've never spent much time on a cranberry farm have you?