Re: Bleach in a fountain?

When chlorine has evaporated it leaves salts behind. To repeatedly add chlorine to one's soils does leave a residue that increases with time, until eventually the soil could be harmed.
There is nothing harmless about adding chlorine to water, it's merely that the bacterial agents & amoebas & funguses & sundry microbes that we would be exposed to without the city treating the water would be vastly more harmful. This is for human & animal exposures; the same relative risk to benefit factor falls more to the risk side in the garden which is not susceptible to the waterborne diseases that we mammals are. To add even more chlorine to tap water after it reaches us, then put it on the garden, seems to me a bad idea. Since the garden is not at risk of typhoid or cholora & suchlike, to expose the garden to further salts unecessarily can't help the garden, & might hurt.
Here are some of the health risks to chlorinated water -- the reason so many either filter their water with EPA approved filters, or buy purer water in five gallon containers for the water cooler:
1) Chlorine kills soil microbes without which plants cannot access nutrients in the soil.
2) Binds with other chemicals in the soil creating toxins with unknown risk factors. Some of the risk factors that ARE known are pretty extreme. Bonded chemicals ir Chlorination Byproducts in tapwater are associated with birth defects from drinking it while pregnant, & with miscarriages. Infant neural tube defects DOUBLE from drinking chlorinated water. Miscarriages rise to 15.7% in women who drink tapwater with chlorinatation byproduct, from the 9.5% for women who do not drink tapwater.
3) EPA estunates that chlorinated tapewater causes 9,300 cases of bladder cancer nationwide each year. There are studies that show a probable link to breast cancer & brain cancer as well, but bladder cancer is fairly well documented. It is not the chlorine per se but as with birth defects it is the chlorination byproducts. Cities monitor the byproducts & adjust treatment methods accordingly, something that is circumvented by further chlorination at home. Unfortunately whenever studies are undertaken on the chlorination byproducts, it turns out a great many communities don't have updated resources to monitor & correct this properly, so that millions are put at increased risk. One broad assessment discovered that in & around Philadelphia, Washington DC, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, & Newark NJ, well over one-thousand water systems had dangerous contaminant levels from chlorination byproducts.
4) Chlorination is frequently overused in order to avoid healthy farm practices & proper waste disposal. The idea has become "we'll chlorinate this sess pool of cowshit then it'll be safe to let it run off into the nearest lake or river come the next rain." This puts harmful CPBs back into the watersheds from which we obtain our drinking water with increasing levels of poorly monitored CPBs. All too often the cheapness of "let's zap it with chlorine" induces disposal behavior that kills wildlife & people. See CONSIDER THE SOURCE: FARM RUNOFF, CHLORINATION, AND HUMAN HEALTH published by the Environmental Working Group, Washington, D.C.)
5) As tropical fish hobbyists have long known, chlorine in tap water kills fish. It kills amphibians much more readily, even in amounts that would seem inconsequential, though consequential enough to kill you if you're a frog or salamander.
6) If frogs & salamanders don't seem canary-in-the-coal-mine enough for you, consider that death can occur in kidney dialysis patients who are susceptible chloramine-induced hemolytic anemia either by drinking tapwater with chloramine in it, or from being hooked up to dialysis equipment that has been cleaned with treated water. Most chlorinated water does not include chloramine, but enough do that hospitals have learned to be on-guard. Some municipalities switch to chloramine treatment as a method of lowering other CPB components when these have built up to dangerous levels due to chlorination -- hospitals have to be warned when this occurs.
7) There are better methods of treatment, but not cheaper ones. Ozonization is being used in some cities now, to avoid the cancer risk & other problems with adding chlorine to the water. Because the chlorine manufacturers are having their customer base eroded, they have begun a world-wide propoganda campaign to make the EPA look ignorant for setting safe maximum exposures too low for the chlorine sales forces to increase their sales, & to make all ecology-minded people look like commy pinko radicals. The primary argument "for" is a good one, but the propoganda wants to mute your awareness of the "against" lest the public demand one of the better but more costly methods of insuring safer water.
8) Chlorinated water is associated with hardening of the arteries.
9) Chlorinated water destroys proteins in the body.
10) Asthma & allergy sufferers are more prone to respiratory distress when drinking chlorinated water.
11) Besides ADDING cancer causing agents to water by means of CPBs, chlorine also simply doesn't remove the vast majority of cancer causing agents that may already be in the water. It's great for getting rid of the bacteria, but it is NOT the end-all municipalities have made of it, so further reason to move on to the next level of technology that will leave the chlorine manufacturers increasingly peevish. Many of the contaminants that remain in the water once they've reached it include many common garden chemicals. We're just killin' ourselves.
12) some of the specific CPBs (alternatively called DPBs, Disinfectant Byproducts) are chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane, bromoform, dichloroacetic acid & trichloroacetic acid -- there are many other possible CPB contaminants.
13) Tapwater is dangerous to people with compromised immune systems.
14) The EPA maximums can be exceeded if the annual exposure averages out to less. Some municipalities issue public warnings not to water gardens when chlorine levels have been raised to take care of a specific bacterial problem that arose in the system. More municipalties should issue such warnings, but fail to do so for fear of setting off too many alarms in the public consciousness.
And so on.
I'm glad water is chlorinated. I'm not terribly concerned that there may be a half-million miscarriages each year because of chlorinated water because there's already too many people. But I do hope for the safety of the people who are actually here & alive. I do believe chlorinated water has saved millions who would otherwise have died of waterborne diseases, but I would also have some concern for the thousands remaining who are harmed by CBPs in chlorinated water, so do recommend home filtering, avoiding the use of chlorine products in the home, & would hope eventually a vaster number of municipalities will look to ozonification & other safer methods of delivering water safely to citizens.
But even if we decide to trust our municipalities are getting it right, & monitoring even the CBPs correctly, we'll be undoing their good work by any additional home chlorination.
Whether "Garden Water Filters" such as AquaMate are all that helpful, I don't know, but many people knowing the risks are real for human, wildlife, & plantlife, are using such products. I just water my lawn from the tap & hope for the best, but I sure wouldn't ADD chlorine to the brew myself.
It is also puzzling to me that people can take such a strong dislike to algae. Floating algae maybe, it ruins visibility, but algae is not the devil that chemicals can be.
-paghat the ratgirl
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Upload (paghat) wrote in

It's not the chlorine evaporating that's the problem. The problem is whatever crap that is already in the water becomes chlorinated crap, which is probably the residue you are talking about. Any excess free chlorine escapes into the air eventually. Don't know how chloramines (if your city uses them) differs.

Personally, I filter my water because of any heavy metal or other not necessarily chlorine crap in it.

The city of Chesapeake Virginia was sued due to something in the water that allegedly caused a lot of miscarriages. I believe it was excess chlorine that reacted with organic crud already in the water to form trihalomethanes. It's not something you want in your kool-aid.

It's been a long time since I've had fish, but if you leave the water out in the open for a like a day or so, the chlorine dissipates enough for the fish to tolerate it. That might be for regular fish, not necessarily tropical. It's bad for fish and amphibians because they use the dissolved oxygen in water for respiration. When there is chlorine in the water, that's tantamount to forcing them to breath chlorine.

The first four, going by name, are trihalomethanes (THMs).

I don't think it's too bad to clean out the algae in a fountain with the ocassional bleaching, but to systematically home chlorinate the drinking water, that's not something I would do. If algae are a problem, there's probably organic matter in contact with water somewhere. Find out where they are getting their nitrogen and stop it. (of course if they've developed a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen fixing bacteria, then you are screwed, sorry).
Even if the water is not for drinking, the chlorinated by-products are going to end up some where.

Because algae is wet and slimy, like mucal nasal discharges, only more green, whereas chemicals are 'pure', 'refined' and quite sanitary in their nice clean delivery containers.
Halogenically yours,
-- Salty
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