chlorine in water

zippity1June 13, 2010

i'd never measured the chlorine in our tap water until 3 weeks ago

while checking the pool chlorine level, i thought i'd check the tap water too

the tap water was over 4 (the pool stays around 3-i'm usually the only person in the pool-sometimes it's at 2)

no wonder my plants do so much better when it's raining, the chlorine is probably killing them i may start watering them with pool water!!

i called the county health department (harris county) they said the levels were at the upper end of correct-we are the first house on the water line and that has something to do with the levels

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debndal(8a DFW, TX)

I've been told this but I don't know how accurate or helpful it is. Supposedly if you water with a spray - as with a sprinkler system or a manual sprinkler that actually sprays water out in a large arc, the chlorine outgasses fast and thus, less chlorine onto the plants and into the soil, rather than, say, using a drip system or "hose on the ground" or even a watering can. I've meant to research that statement to see if it is true, but just haven't. Maybe someone else on the forum knows. ????

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 10:51AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

I think it is true Deb. Chlorine leaves water very fast. We don't drink facet water anymore, we have a filtering system, but when we did and wanted to get rid of the heavy chlorine taste just pouring the water back and forth from glass to glass a couple of times would dissipate the chlorine.

I'm not sure how bad chlorine is for plants, but a couple of reasons rain water is good is that it is 'soft' water (not alkaline like in my part of Texas) and it contains various amounts of nitrogen that is created by lightning.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 11:45AM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

We have a filtering system also, and when looking at what is on the filters when they are changed out .....chlorine is the the least of what is in the water. My water supplier uses salt to soften the water, and trust me, THIS is NOT good for plants. Thankfully, I have a well that provides enough water for my plants. It has a lot of iron in it so is not good for drinking, but the plants love it.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 12:45PM
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Has anyone tried Easy Water system? I looked it up a while back and it is suppose to remove most chemicals from the water. I have a soft-water system which adds salt so have discontinued use as it is bad for everything except it keeps minerals from sticking to the pipes plus it cost 10 times the price of the new system. But have not heard how well it works so far.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 2:10PM
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bobbi_p(z8/9 Cypress, TX)


I was alarmed at the level of chlorine in our tap water as well when I tested with the pool kit. This is the only house I've ever lived in, in which the chlorine is unbearable when it comes from the tap! It can't be good for us, nevermind our plants!!!

My MUD district is on my "to-do" list. I need to find out the board members names and start hounding them on several issues: 1. Chlorine, 2. sewer gas smell at same time every day in our neighborhood, 3. inability to pay via Direct Debit, 4. no glass recycling and limited plastic recycling (only 1's and 2's).

It peeves me that these are "Municipal Utility Districts" with some supposed public representation, yet, none of the board members or further information is available in an openly transparent website. The contractor that administers our district, Severn Trent, says that I must e-mail a generic Severn Trent address and request information in writing.... Me thinks me smells a good ole boys network! I suspect the developer of our neighborhood has been able to choose the board members/Severn Trent and have way too much control over what I consider a public health area...

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 11:31AM
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As a water person (supervisor over drinking water lab) I can tell you that 4.0 is the upper range. Anything over isn't acceptable. But those pool kits aren't very accurate. If you are worried that it's too high, just get the water company to come over and test it for you. I do that all of the time for our customers.
No chlorine is a much worse situation. It means bacteria could grow. There are low limits that we have to comply with as well.
Believe me, the state of Texas, following EPA's regulations, tests the bejezus out of the water! It's ok to drink. If it wasn't, they would have to tell you. If it was an immediate hazard it would have to be over the radio or in the newspapers. If it was a long term hazard you would get letters. No city or MUD is able to fall out of compliance without letting their customers know.

As for those water filters - I've had to have an expensive filter here at work for certain tests we perform. I've had to check that filter for bacteria as per state regulations. The filter takes out the chlorine and allows bacteria to grow. It's just how it works. And ours was a very expensive filter with a very expensive maintenance contract.
I've had customers whose filters were causing the problems!

Sorry to get on my soap box.
If you smell sewer, call the number on your bill and have them come out and check. They are used to calls like that.
Same thing with the chlorine smell, but they are probably dosing it at the lowest level they can to deliver the correct doses to all of their customers.
While you're on the phone, ask for the information you need about the district.
You can ask us anything. Literally. Everything we've got is required by law to be open for the public.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 4:09PM
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bobbi_p(z8/9 Cypress, TX)

I appreciate your inside view, cweathersby. We actually did receive a letter once since we've been here notifying us that they'd forgotten to submit some required monthly test. (Having worked in a fish and wildlife lab for 7 years and having had to perform certain tests on certain dates of the month myself for non-health issues, I wondered how that happened...) I toss my bath towel over the master tub faucet to dry. Twice now, I've apparently accidentally tapped the faucets on to dripping. The next morning, I literally have bleached streaks on my towels where the water dripped all night. That seems like a lot of chlorine to me!

I left out the gory details of 3 houses being flooded by raw sewage backup when a pump system failed in the middle of the night a year ago. Now, everyday for a couple of hours, we see the Severn Trent employeess sitting in their trucks around 4 when some pump (presumably the one that failed) finishes or starts pumping from the back of the neighborhood forward as I understand it. It's at this time that the sewer gas smells. They've put some sort of plastic inserts into all the manhole covers. It still stinks! I realize that the changing flow will force the sewer gas out. But given the history of the sewage back up and the changes ever since (employees seemingly watching to see if it's going to fail again and the stinkiness), I'm really skeptical of the design of our MUD system.

When asked for the info on the district, as I said, I was told to e-mail a generic Severn Trent e-mail for the information. You've convinced me that I should elevate my concerns on my to-do list, because I don't believe they're being very open to the public.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 3:05PM
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tx_ag_95(7/8 Lewisville)

You might try a Google search for the MUD and/or Severn Trent. The latter should have a "contact us" page and I'd pick someone with a high ranking title to start with. They work for you, either directly or indirectly, and they should answer your questions promptly and politely. Granted, that could be my rose-colored glasses talking, but they should answer your questions in any case!

Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 8:46PM
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I am in a mud (46?) and we got the letter that they are doing chlormines instead of chlorine. That you should not use in medical machines or fish tanks.....scarry!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 9:42PM
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Here's an idea if you are worried about chlorine and watering your garden. There is a product out there now called a Crystal Bathtub Ball. It is a filter that is in the shape of a small ball that you swirl around in your bathwater to get rid of the chlorine.

I am getting ready to order one for my little one's bathtub and also some shower filters for the rest of the house to get out as much chlorine as possible.

You could fill up a bucket of water, swirl the bathtub ball around in it to deactivate the chlorine and then water your plants. That's probably what I will do anyway.

Do a search on and there are a couple of other websites that sell them. If you google "crystal bathtub ball" you should find them. Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 12:40AM
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