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Evil water

This is a discussion on Evil water within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hello everyone, I live in the lovely city of Philadelphia in the USA. The water ...

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  1. #1
    jenn's Avatar
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    Default Evil water

    Hello everyone,

    I live in the lovely city of Philadelphia in the USA. The water department has started replacing water and sewage lines all over the city. When they graced my neighborhood with this huge project they increased the chlorine in the drinking water. I suddenly saw my orchids decline. I can not get a RO set-up and my collection is too large for buying distilled water. Has anyone here dealt with this type of problem before, or have any ideas?

    Thanks,
    jenn

  2. #2
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    Hi Jenn,

    You could bubble large containers of water to remove the chlorine. It would require a pump for you to be able to pump the water out of the containers and deliver to your orchids, but you could do it. Take a large trashcan and install a couple of really good air bubblers. It should only take a day or two if the water is really bubbling.

    The other way to deal would be to buy dechlorination chemical, but that would get expensive after awhile.

    I hope someone here has a better alternative for you. Good luck.

    cheers,
    BD

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    While I have no scientific double-blind proof that this would work, but just like with aquariums you have to let the "fresh water" stand overnight. The purpose, I believe, is to allow the chlorine gas to come out of solution. . . . evaporate. So maybe try letting that water-filled garbage can set in a warm place overnite.

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    For a quick fix, buy some true spring water or distilled water, mix about 1/2 and 1/2 with your tap water. That should cut the chlorine enough. I have a 15 gallon trash can that I use for mixing up larger quantities of water with fert, as I use tap water. Then a small pump to move to the plants.

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    Thank you for some great ideas to try guys!

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    dechlorinator chemicals used for koi ponds work out a lot more cost effective than those small bottles bought for aquariums. These often contain stuff to remove chloramines as well as chlorine. Our water company did the same a couple of years back and I lost eight fish overnight when I did a partial water change.

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    Sorry to hear about your fish.

    Orchids aside, this situation can't be very healthy for me and family. We feel my poor orchids are our "canary in the coal mine". I am looking into a sink-side water filter system (not RO) and am wondering if they really remove what they say they do. Hmmm...

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    Chlorine can be removed by letting the water air out. That is the simplest solution if in fact your water department only added chlorine.

    However, if they actually added chloramine then you will need a chemical solution. Chloramine was designed specifically to prevent itself from dissipating into the air, thus letting the water be protected for longer periods even when left standing.
    This however, has nasty side effects for aquariums and ponds (instant fish kill) and to some degree some plants.

    Do confirm with your water department to see the actual chemicals that they added. Chloramine will not air out.

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    exactly as wetfeet said. if you smell the chlorine, that part can be removed by letting the water sit overnight and then pouring it back and forth a bit. chloramines last much longer. orchids seem to tolerate significantly more chlorinated compounds than many houseplants, many many years ago I remember watering my parents' plants with unusually chlorinated water--the orchids were mostly ok but half the houseplants shriveled up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jmoney View Post
    exactly as wetfeet said. if you smell the chlorine, that part can be removed by letting the water sit overnight and then pouring it back and forth a bit. chloramines last much longer. orchids seem to tolerate significantly more chlorinated compounds than many houseplants, many many years ago I remember watering my parents' plants with unusually chlorinated water--the orchids were mostly ok but half the houseplants shriveled up.
    It was not an issue of orchids vs house plants per se. But rather, the growing conditions of orchids and house plants.

    Given the same concentration, chlorine toxicity gets more severe the longer the exposure. In orchid culture (unless growing in semi-hydroponic culture) the plants are not exposed to the chlorinated water for too long. They usually dry out in a couple of hours thus minimizing the impact of heavy doses of chlorine.
    Chlorine does bond/cling to the orchid bark but the amount is small compared to a plant in a soil pot, or directly planted in soil.

    House plants on the other hand are at a disadvantage there. The water sits in their pots for extended periods and prolongs the exposure to chlorine. The chlorine also bonds with soil (similar to orchid bark) but typically a houseplant has a lot more volume of growing media in the pot compared to an orchid.

    That is why it is so lethal to aquatic life (specially in enclosed containers where there is no supply of new, clean water).
    The fish are exposed to the chlorine 24/7 until it has completely dissipated.
    By that time, the fish are long gone.



    Some Info

    Quoted from that site:
    Quote Originally Posted by website
    What are the effects of Chlorine on plants? Chlorine is classed as a general biocide. That
    means that it will kill all life if applied in sufficient concentration. Sufficient concentration is the
    key phrase. Both concentration and length of exposure are important in the degree of damage
    caused by chlorine. In other words, even exposure to a low concentration of chlorine for a long
    period of time can cause severe toxic effects. Likewise, exposure to high concentrations of
    chlorine for even short periods of time can cause severe toxic effects.

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