Bacteria after clorine has been removed?

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by devsd, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. devsd

    devsd New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    California
    I have city water and I'm going to install a GAC system and softener. I have two bathrooms that we don't use except to flush every few weeks to make sure the p-traps stay full. After removing the chlorine, is there any danger from bacteria build up in the pipes where the water might be stagnate over a period of time?

    I do have copper pipes which should help.
  2. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

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    Location:
    Ontario California
    Just like a residential well system, dechlorinated water poses no real threat but annual sanitizing of the plumbing is a good idea. Copper pipes will greatly reduce the potential for problems. You could simply bypass the GAC system for a few days once a year, but that is usually not necessary.

    A gac filter system fed house from a municipal supply should be treated basically the same as a well.
  3. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    And that is why I do not suggest 'whole house' removal of chlorine. I do suggest removal with drinking water undercounter filter and shower head filters.

    Personally, probably due to my extensive experience with wells, I think on average that a private well is usually better than 'city' water'; which much of it is treated surface water. And all 'city' water is run through sometimes 100+ year old pipes.
  4. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

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    Location:
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    Municipal supplies are often nothing more than local wells with trace amounts of chlorine added for legal reasons, and regularly tested an monitored, unlike residential wells that some people recommend testing is a waste of money.

    Whole house chlorine removal is a good idea, the chlorine is used to keep the water safe in the distribution system, removal prior to use is recommended. BTW, I have extensive experience with well systems too, regularly scheduled sanitization of theplumbing system is also recommended for houses that are supplied by a private well.
  5. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    More often municipal systems are from surface water sources and the testing is done at the treatment plant and then the water runs through miles of old, sediment filled and in some cases leaky distribution lines before it gets to the house ya call home, and that is why it is chlorinated.
  6. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

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    Location:
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    LOL, that's why??? Not because of legal issues, EPA requirements, etc. Why are they chlorinating my supply? my water is from the aquifers (aka well) using huge VFD pumping systems with no ground water storage. Oh yeah, and our plumbing system was recently completely replaced with modern virtually leak proof plumbing, and our water comes in at 11 gpg, and the only "contaminant" of note is naturally occurring fluoride at approximately .2-.3 ppm.
    Try to add to the conversation instead of trolling.
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    There ya go again, talking about yourself when we were talking about city water in at least the whole of the US.
  8. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    I thought California was out of water ?
  9. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

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    That's what the media would have you believe. I was going to ask if all the drought talk is impacting the use of water treatment in California. I know some municipalities outlaw backwashing devices even in normal times, so it seems like a severe drought situation would focus even more attention on this "wasted" water.
  10. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,120
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    Not sure what to believe.

    A hear that they even banded Fishing is some areas.

    That sounds a bit silly to me.

    They need to be piping water instead of Oil.
  11. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Ontario California
    The drought situation is serious in certain areas. The real issue of banning water treatment devices is not the amount of waste water, more about what is in the waste. Most softeners and backwashing filter systems are highly water efficient, typically producing thousands of gallons of treated water fo less than a hundred gallons of waste. It is more about the ability to reuse the water downstrem. It is the high salts make reuse more difficult. In Santa Clarita, the main issue is the chloride levels. The raw city water is already just at the waste maiximum, so any additional chlorides bring the water out of compliance for the agricultural users downline. I have worked with municipal waste issues for decades, and most prefer lots of water vs, less, lower quality water. Many waste treatment facilities work on the simple saying, the solution to pollution is dilution. Since the waste treatment facility has to be dilute the water for upstream users, the high tds water costs the waste water treatment facility more for them to dilute it than for you to dilute it. I recently had the opportunity to reduce a cooling towers systems water consumption from approximately 1 million gallons of water per day down to less than 150,000 gpd, we were never allowed to proceed simply because the waste treatment facility did not want to have to dilute it. Most of the water in California is used, treated as sewage back to drinking water standards, then sent downstream to the next user, where it replenishes the underground aquifers and is extracted for reuse. This picture shows some of the waste treatment plants located along the main waterway through Southern California. You will find similar pictures all along most major waterways. The main difference is that in Southern California is that the water rarely makes it to the ocean, it is all reused. Here is a gret article explaining some of the methods including direct injection, percolation ponds, etc.

    This is why system efficiencies, code compliance etc are all important. It still amazes me that some people who claim to be knowledgable in this industry cant grasp the reason for codes, efficiency standards, etc. In many areas, water supplies are shared resources that must be taken care of in a reasonable manner. I highly recommend that every dealer who is in this industry get involved at the local level with your local Water Quality association. The ability to work with legislation that will minimize the impact to our water supplies and our wallets is very important.

    sewage.jpg
  12. shopco

    shopco New Member

    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    Some years ago I installed a whole house GAC filter and after a time my wife and I started experiencing stomach upset. I removed the GAC and stomach problems went away. This is not scientific proof, just my own experience.
  13. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You are not alone, many people have the same problem but don't like telling others about the problem.

    In many cases contaminated faucet tips are the cause of the problem and removing chlorine from 'city' water on a whole house basis allows that to happen when the chlorine would have prevented it. City water from wells or surface water sources may be bacteria free in the treatment plant but more than likely not after going through in some cases miles of old sediment filled distribution lines. That sediment is why water companies backflush their lines at fire hydrants, usually annually. And that's why many of their customers have dirty water until they flush their house lines.

    Private well systems don't have that problem or problems caused by backflow and/or cross connection problems that city water systems have.
  14. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

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    Location:
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    I am not sure how to follow any of that logic. The municipal supplies are chlorinated due to codes, laws, and liability. If a city supply were to be contaminated with a dangerous pathogen, it could affect hundreds of thousands of people, not just a single family. Chlorine can be safely removed from the water supply once it reaches your house, just like a private well system.

    And back flow/cross connections etc, this is why codes are in place, to prevent this potential cross contamination, especially from potable to sewage. Proper air gaps, back flow prevention etc is critical on shared supplies.

    Just like any water treatment system, proper maintenance is important. GAC can grow bacteria, but bacteria in and of itself is not bad. It is the type and quantity that matter. All water supplies have organic matter that occurs not only from living organisms and from decaying matter in source water, but also from the water treatment processes and distribution system materials. The relationship between microbial growth, biofilm growth, etc. within plumbing and distribution systems can be shown by TOC levels. Water treated by multiple sanitization methods will begin to show raised TOC levels as soon as the sanitization method is removed. Chlorine, Ozone, UV, sub micron filtration etc can all be used to reduce TOC, but once these methods are removed (when the water leaves the UV chamber) TOC levels will immediately start to rise, again indicating organic growth.

    A GAC filter is highly recommended for removing chlorine from a potable water supply prior to drinking, bathing in, or breathing the vapors. That being said, proper santitization methods should also be implemented for any plumbing system that is not chlorinated. Material choices, dead leg considerations, source water etc all must be considered when it comes to a proper sanitization protocol. Changing the GAC filter media in a whole house carbon tank is cheap and easy and when it is changed, the tank and other components should be sanitized at that time. Every few years is adequate to minimize biological growth in most residential applications. Same goes for a simple carbon filter under the sink, or an RO system, but annual changeouts is considered adequate. Regular sanitization is important, again to reduce, not eliminate microbial growth.

    If you ever get the chance to tear apart a 15 year old refrigerator with a water dispenser, it is a perfect opportunity to see what is going on. Many refrigerators have a reservoir in the refrigerator allowing for cold water dispensing. If the refrigerator has always been fed with a dechlorinated source, IE a private well or a GAC filtered system, you will likely find massive disgusting looking growth inside the cold water storage and even the tubing. is this dangerous? Probably not, but is it desirable? No.

    I have cut open piping systems that were barely flowing water anymore due to the pipe being almost entirely filled with a slimy gelatinous biofilm. These were usually on "dead legs", places where water rarely flows, an unused bathroom, etc.

    Dechlorinization is an important water treatment process to consider, but make no mistakes, private wells are not magical happy water sources that vary tremendously from municipal sources. Most municipal sources are minimally treated, and many are from the municipalities own private wells.

    Hope this is helpful
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014
  15. stockman20

    stockman20 New Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Westmont, IL
    Wish it were true.
  16. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I have found that to follow logic, you have to have a desire to do so along with an open mind.... Now me, when looking at the codes etc. that you mention, I readily see the logic of them plus a real need for a disinfectant in city water distribution lines. And I know that without special on site chlorine tests, the smell of chlorine only says there is chlorine/chloramine in the water but possibly not to the extent that is is still a viable volume to affect disinfection. As we see in this thread someone found that removing the chlorine in his city water caused 'sickness' and... removing the filter that removed the chlorine. I don't follow your logic in not addressing that.

    And IMO the best way to do that is with point of use (POU) filters instead of whole house filtration. In case you can't follow that logic.... they allow the disinfection to remain in the plumbing and faucet tips of the fixtures in the house and if the volume (of Free chlorine) is sufficient, there is more protection against contamination for the family.

    See now I see that as supporting my POU filters instead of whole house removal....

    Being minimally treated seems to support my POU filters again but... as you should know, "minimally treated" does not apply to municipalities using any surface water sources as many do and at times they mix that water with their well water IF they have a well or wells.

    Hope this is helpful.
  17. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

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    Location:
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    LOL, your trolling skills are legendary.

    Private residences dont use ground water supplies? Municipalities dont use wells? Huh? You are simply unable to understand the basics, or you just want to troll.

    And FYI, trolling is not helpful :)
  18. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    A few facts.... Many municipalities across the US use surface water or surface water and a few wells and combine the two sources, at least for part of the year and during times when they clean and/or rehabilitate a well, repair or replace a well pump, clean/repair a water tank or repair/replace distribution lines etc.. The possibility of contamination caused by cross connections, leaks, etc. is quite high compared to a private residential well.
  19. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

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    Location:
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    Wow, thanks for that incredible insight Captain Obvioso.

    You still cant grasp the simplest concepts, please consider taking some courses on plumbing codes, or maybe show up to the Aquatech show in Florida this year. They offer many training seminars on the topics discussed here, and they are taught by people who have actual experience, training, certifications, licenses, education and more rather than just anecdotal stories and a weird need to troll.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2014
  20. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    No link...
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