Here in Normandy we are continuing a historical drought, the worst on
record. All is burnt looking, a sharp contrast from the usual year-round
green. Even the well and our stream have gone dry, which has never
occured according to the oldest locals.
We've been using gray water for the plants all summer. Now as the
time to empty the pool is near, I wonder if folks think it would be OK
to give plants and young shrubs chlorinated water. Haven't been
able to find a definitive source on the web to answer this question.
The water will not be very chlorinated. I haven't done a PH, but I've
only given it 3 tabs all year.
Seems to me it should be OK, but thought I'd ask the assembled
wisdom before hooking up me pump.
TIA and cheers,
You can reply to firstname.lastname@example.org
Depends on a lot of things. As a kid remember when you would write a message
in someone's lawn with a bottle of bleach as a prank? Heavily chlorinated
water kills just about anything. Also the byproduct from manufacturing of
some chlorine tablets (sodium hypochlorite) is salt, that is why some pools
have a salty taste, the elevated salt levels could kill plants with
shallower roots. I am not very familiar with chlorine tablets made out of
calcium hypochlorite. Hopefully the rain season will soon be here, so you
won't have to drain the pool.
I'll refrain from making a joke about how the drought and water rationing
won't impact French bathing habits. :)
During Clinton's first year in office somebody did that very thing on
the white house front lawn except they wrote "FUCK YOU BILL".
Infuriated about it, Slick Willy ordered the FBI to investigate. They
came back a day or so later and told Clintion that they analyzed the
piss and found it to be Al Gore's. Clinton leaned back in his chair in
disbelief. The FBI then advised him of one more thing.
They said "We analyzed the handwriting also. It was Hillary's."
The volatility of chlorine allows it to evaporate rather quickly; if you
stop adding chlorine most of it will have evaporated in less than a week.
Chloramine is more stable than chlorine & would take a
chloramine-neutralizing additive such as sodium hydroxymethanesulfonate
(AmQuel) which more or less converts chloramine to ammonia which in such
delute measures plants easily turn into nutrients.
Evaporated chlorine & chlorine/chloramine neutralizers do leave salts in
the water that with repeated use can build up in the soil & harm
salt-sensitive plants like rhododendrons & with build-up over time afflict
all plant life. It PROBABLY won't build up to a toxic level from temporary
use, but the greywater you're using is also contaminated with salt (as
much or more than would be in a pool if the greywater includes recycled
laundryroom water) plus many people with wells use water softeners which
add salt even to the water fresh from the well. So you may already be
pushing the salt content of the soil to the maximum the plants can
tolerate. If you've done your greywater research you may already know how
to deal with the issue of accumulating salts which applies to the pool too
even though it looks so much cleaner.
If you fertilize regularly, stop doing that while contaminated water is
being used, as garden chemicals also add to the salt load & at some point
just about everything in the garden will show signs of salt buildup. If
you have a period each year of good rainfall it should wash these salts
through the soil so that by the following drought season it will be
somewhat safe to use greywater & pool water again.
There is a way to purify chemically treated pool water just about
completely. A garbage can of pea-gravel & crushed lava-rock with a little
swamp-mud mixed in as a bacterial "starter" can have water forced through
it with a pump. The garbage-can of this filtering medium should be inside
the pool & water should be pumped through it as vigorously as possible.
The bacteria will build up in the gravel & will begin converting the
contaminants into nitrates they can feed on as they multiply. It's
essentially acting like an aquarium undergravel filter. The chlorine does
have to be neutralized beforehand or it will kill the bacteria without
which no biological filtration will occur.
Even without such effort though, with the chlorine evaporated or the
chloramine chemically neutralized, the salt load will probably be only as
bad as the garden is already experiencing from the greywater. And if you
already have proper greywater filtration in place you might be able to run
the pool water through that, but there'll always be salts remaining & over
time this CAN become a burden.
-paghat the ratgirl
Get your Paghat the Ratgirl T-Shirt here:
On Fri, 30 Sep 2005 19:34:51 -0700
] Ascorbic acid will solve the chlorine problem....but remember many of
] us with municipal irrigation systems have as much chlorine as a pool
] with negligible effects,,,,
OK, thanks all for the advice. I don't think I have a problem with
salt buildup, and I don't fertilize much anyway. So I'll go ahead
and use the water.
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I live in a trailer park and every fall when they drain the pool, I attach
my garden hoses to the pump and the water goes out to my garden, I get
something like 50,000 gal's of water for my canna and they just love all the
The Lone Sidewalk Astronomer of Rosamond
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