Compost Tea [part 3]: Water De-chlorination & Water De-Chloramination Techniques

Welcome to the Grok Shop & part three
in my series on compost tea. In this video I’ll discuss and test some
possible ways you can prepare your water to make compost tea. If you have
collected rainwater or untreated well water available to use, good for you; you
don’t need to watch this video; you might want to move on to part 4 in the compost
tea series. But if you’re like me and most other schmos, you’re going to be on
city water and water authorities will add chlorine and chloramine to the water
to eliminate human pathogens. They call it “treating the water” and it does help
kill a lot of nasty microorganisms. Unfortunately, it also kills good
microorganisms which is what we’re trying to grow and harvest with
compost tea production. Now, you can see I’m using a cheap pool test kit from
Home Depot that they call it the HDX brand that you can get many other
versions of this but they work pretty good for measuring chlorine: total
chlorine and free chlorine. And as you can see I start out with about two parts
per million and try to work my way down to zero. You can also use test strips.
I’ll show how to use those later in this video. Whatever you use, it’s a good idea
to get a good understanding of where you’re starting at and once you get a
process then you really don’t have to test any more; you just stick to your
process because generally the water authorities don’t change their formulas
too much. One big exception to that would be the fact that a lot of water
authorities are switching to chloramine from chlorine and chloramine is
basically when the chlorine molecule is combined with other molecules like
ammonia and that causes the chlorine to be more stable in the water and last
longer and they get more mileage out of their chlorine that way. So in this first test I’m just letting
the water sit indoors and you can see over a period of three days, it just
barely drops tiny amounts each day and I’m still sitting at about I think 1.7
parts per million here after three days so this is pretty much a non-starter. I
need you the water dechlorinated and dechlorimated much faster than this. okay
so now test two will be having the water set outside in full Sun all day under
the UV rays UV radiation is definitely a catalyst for breaking down those
chlorine and chloramine molecules so we’ll test it in the morning and in the
evening after about three days and see what happens here so you up each test starting out is
straight out of the tap and I asked the mate it’s around about two parts per
million so as you guys probably know carbon
filters are great filters for chlorine and chloramines definitely make sure you
have one on your home water if you’re going to be drinking it a lot of Brewers
beer brewers would use carbon filters in the past and my understanding is a lot
of them are switching over to UV radiation because it’s just so much more
cost-effective for you know a curious phenomenon I noticed
during these tests –is the big drops and chlorine and chloramine as measured
with this tester occurred the following morning after it been sitting out all
day so my theory there is the bonds are being broken down during the day by the
UV radiation and then after they’re broken down they continue to gas off
overnight and perhaps the majority of the gassing off or evaporation is
occurring after the bonds are broken during the day but I’m not a chemist so
if anybody knows that I’m wrong there on that count let me know in the comments
below so one important question you’re
probably asking yourself is how much chlorine is too much chlorine for making
compost tea and the answer to that is probably a little bit nebulous and
depends on you know a number of factors for me for now I Drive it all the way to
zero or very close to zero as far as I can tell from these cheap testers I use
but it probably doesn’t need to be all the way to zero and the reason for that
is because when you’re dealing with compost and humic acid and fulvic acid
and all these organic molecules that are found in and around compost tea you’re
going to have kind of like the wind to your back so to speak the compost tea
itself will work to break down some of these chlorine molecules and so the
answer is is I don’t know I try to make mine 0 for now and I have a process for
that but if it’s point 5 parts per million or something it may not be a
problem but for sure two parts per million is a problem because that’s what
the Water Authority thinks is enough to kill microorganisms so I know it needs
to be way less than that so after three days sitting outside the
chlorines driven all the way to zero and another thing I figured out a big
advantage of doing it outside would be you know all the gases that come off the
ammonia the chlorine while not super concentrated really harmful unless you
have your head over the bucket all day at least they’re outside and they’re out
of the way but one disadvantage would be I saw a lot of evaporation it’s pretty
hot here where I am right now and dry so that probably increased it
I reckoned about a couple liters of water evaporated fortunately I had
another can of water that’s been sitting outside and I’m testing here to make
sure it’s chlorine free which it is and I can replenish my loss water that way
but it’s probably a good idea if you’re going to use the outside techniques to
have an extra bucket and you might want an extra bucket anyway for diluting your
compost tea and whatnot so here I’m going to go ahead and test
the pH of the water the pH level definitely affects chlorine and
chloramine breakdown and the the chemical reactions kind of go both ways
depending on the pH levels of your water I’m not really going to get into all
that here just wanted to point out that you can test it with this kit it’s good
to know your pH for producing compost as well as for how to amend your soil and
depending on what kind of plants you’re growing different plants you know may
prefer more acidic or more alkaline conditions and sometimes you can use
your pH level of your water as a guide on how to amend your growing medium your
water and whatnot to get the results you want so yeah our waters pretty alkaline as
well as the soil so we’re constantly in a bring the pH level down mode when
we’re trying to grow things one way to get pH levels sort of under control
and as well break down chloramines in the water is to use humic acid and
there’s been some research done that shows you can add 1tsp of humic acid to
a hundred gallons to eliminate chloramines from the water and
presumably that’s a hundred percent humic acid and this is eight percent so
if this was five percent it would be one teaspoon per five gallon so this is
eight percent a little stronger so I use a little less than a teaspoon per
five-gallon bucket now one thing to be aware of is when you use compost compost
will typically already have humic acid in it it’s hard to know the levels and
whatnot so this is really sort of optional sometimes I’ll add it before I
start my compost tea if I think the chlorines not quite completely gone so back to the testing this third and final
test I’m doing an outside bubble and so it’s basically going to be the same as
test two except I’m adding the compost tea
bubbler into the mix and to see if this’ll speed things up at all remember
it took three days to go all the way from two to zero in that test so now one thing definitely to be aware
of is you may or may not have core amines in your water and if you have no
chloramines but only chlorine and what they call free or residual chlorine then
you might be able to dechlorinate much faster the chloramines are much stickier
and difficult to get rid of than free and residual chlorine you can usually
tell this by looking at your water report for your local Water Authority I
definitely did that as well as calling them and I know for sure that they’re
using chlorinated water where I live so yeah here we go after 24 hours we can
see the chlorine levels are all the way to zero so this is definitely going to
be the preferred technique for the fastest dechlorination how it’s a
outside bubbling in the Sun for the win okay so besides the chemical test kit
like what I’ve been using you can also use the strip’s this one here tests
total chlorine free chlorine pH and total alkalinity and it’s it’s pretty
accurate I find it as about as accurate as the chemical test kit they’re all
based on a color decode wheel system and the strips are pretty cheap they’re
cheaper than the chemical kit by by a bit and I think I paid 11 or 12 bucks
for this one I’ll put some links to these below and also to something
similar to the pool test kit I’ve been using this bottle contains a hundred
test strips which is probably more than you’ll need because once you have your
system down and you understand your chlorine levels you really don’t have to
test it all that much and you can see it agrees with the chemical test kit I got
about two parts per million total chlorine and pretty much zero free
chlorine that is one advantage of the test strips they break out the free in
total whereas with chemicals at least the one I have it’s just based on time
when you first put the drops in its supposed to be free chlorine and then
after a couple minutes is supposed to be total chlorine now that sounds a little
fuzzy to me they definitely do make more accurate test kits that you can get
which will really break down the levels very accurately as far as free and total
chlorine and other parameters but then you got to decide you know how much do
you really want to spend for making composting right so yeah as you can see the test strips
show pretty much zero chlorine after 24 hours just like the chemical test did
but just to be sure I’ll go ahead and run the chemical test on the same water both tests agree it’s time to make some
tea so here’s a summary bullet list of some of the highlights you guys can
check that out at your leisure that’s how it’s done thanks for watching

1 thought on “Compost Tea [part 3]: Water De-chlorination & Water De-Chloramination Techniques

  1. Grok, have you ever heard of using powder vitamin C to remove chloramines from the water? If so, i would be interested in your thoughts. Thanks

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