Throughout the U.S., chloramine (a combination of chlorine and ammonia) has been added to the public water systems as a disinfectant. Chloramine will kill the beneficial forms of bacteria in the compost tea. Unlike chlorine, it remains in the water through an aeration process or letting it stand overnight. It must be neutralized by adding a water conditioner.
Since chloramine can be deadly to fish, most fish and pet stores carry water conditioners. One brand is Tetra's AquaSafe. It is labeled to neutralize chlorine, chloramine, ammonia and various other chemicals. Apply per the label, which should say 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons. Using the neutralized water, dilute your compost tea in your pump sprayer.
1) How to Make Water Filter for Removing Chloramine and other impurities
By: Joe Hing Kwok Chu
1. Water tank with outlet
2. Clean sand
3. Activated catalytic carbon
4. Coconut fiber (from coconut husk)
Place fiber on the bottom of tank.
Place carbon on top of fiber.
Add another layer of fiber on top of carbon
Place sand on top.
These layers can be repeated 2 or 3 times.
The material can be replaced after the filter has become dirty.
How This Water Filter Works
The coconut fiber possesses the best fungus inhibiting effect of natural fiber known. The fiber laid at the bottom of the water tank helps holding the activated carbon to stay in the tank and also help filter out some larger solid pieces of impurities in the water.
The better activated carbon is made from coconut shells and are not chemical activated like wood charcoal or coal; therefore it is suitable for filtering drinking water. Activated carbon is full of pores. This network of connected pores inside the carbon creates a large surface area, about 1000 square meter per gram of carbon. Activated carbon filters out impurities from the water by transferring the impurities from the water to the surface of the carbon. Activated carbon acts as a catalyst in chemical reaction in removing chloramine. The transferring impurities involves 2 methods:
1. Physical absorption, and
2. Chemical absorption (chemi-sorption)
The physical absorption is the gravitational force and magnetic force that pull the impurities to the pores of the activated carbon granules.
The oxidation-reduction (redox) and chemical absorption occur on the surface of the activation carbon while the physical absorption occurs in the pores of the activated carbon. The redox and chemical absorption actually change the chemicals into new chemicals. For example, the chlorine is change into chloride and the chloramine is degraded by the reaction of oxidation chemistries on the surface activated carbon.
the next one may be a little more expensive, but if you live in an area consistently plagued by drought, it would be worth it. I'm putting the link to the information on here since it won't let me paste it.
In my teas I just do as James does with aeration, followed by adding either a small amount of compost or mollases. This is effective and simple, no need for other ingredients. After an evening getting aerated the fluid will smell different and be ready to host aerobic microbes.
1) aerate 30" by stirring/shaking
2) put a little molasses (a spoonful for a barrel's-worth of water?) in the water and stir to make bubbles for 30"
the molasses breaks the ammonium-chlorine bond, and then they both off-gas and are neutralized.
This seems reasonable but it is a bunch of work if you're doing it by hand, and if you have an electric aerator it's using some electricity to run a motor 60 minutes every day. Maybe it's a small amount of electricity, but not negligible. If you were doing this for gray water, a lot of work. However, what if you had a slower system that was self-operating? wind-powered aeration?
Also, why do you need to aerate first and bubble second? thanks!
I use an 18 watt pump for 5 gallons of tea, usually for 24-36 hours. That is roughly .648 kwh.
Lately i just add the chloramine filled water, a ~ spoonful of mollases and aerate for 3 hours before adding the brewing material. This works and i see plenty of microbial happening in a timely manner using this setup.
I know that offgassing of chlorine and ammonia will happen eventually if water is left unagitated, so with the addition of vitamin c or some other material i see no reason why the chloramine wouldnt be seperated and eventually off gas in the form of chlorine and ammonia, it just might take more time using your hands than a highly agitated medium like what you see with motorized aeration. For greywater it might be wise to double check what is already in the greywater to see if it might be binding with chloramine, ( maybe like citrus dish soap etc.) otherwise hit it with vit c if you are really worried about the chloramine in the outgoing grey water.
The more important key is that when using any aeration technique, is there will be a carrying capacity for aerobic organisms in your fluid, and it will depend on time. So if you aerate by hand and add too much microbe food, you run the risk of the microbes feeding heavily, reproducing and using up all the availble dissolved o2, then your tea dies and is stinky and anerarobic. With a mecahnical aeration method the dissolved o2 level goes much higher and can support a much greater population of microbes before the effects of o2 depletion are felt. With either case if you add too much microbe food in the beggining your tea will deplete the dissolved o2 in the water and die.
The idea of Actively aerated compost tea as i understand it involves having your water so oxygenated that it can support a microbial life cycle meaning, fungal hyphae grows, bacterias grow and eat the hyphae, then a mix of larger organisms comes and eats the bacteris, at that point you have a successful tea and you disperse it. This is not possible In such high concentrations with manual aeration. Although i imagine a windmill aerator in a high wind area could be fit for compost tea making.
Eventually my plan is just to have enough worms organic material and fertility that multiplying microbes with electricity isnt necessary anymore. Given the right conditions their populations will be self sustaining in the soil, so its just a matter of setting up the conditions and then applying the living microbe filled fluid. They do the rest.