Using tap water for hydroponics? Is it safe?

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My tap water is pure...living in a rural setting I am fortunate to have a drilled well for my drinking water. It is 280 feet deep so my water is filtered by the ground and is clean and pure. Every few years I get it tested for e. coli bacteria just to be safe. Most people, however, live in suburbs or city where supplied water is treated for bacteria. I am referring to the United States although this article is probably applicable to most parts of the world. tap water,filtered water

Treated water is water infused with chlorine or some derivative to destroy bacteria and keep it safe to drink, or potable. The problem is, is this water good for your hydroponics garden?.

Treated water in the United States is infused in one of three ways: good old-fashioned chlorine, chloramine or chlorine dioxide, whose sole purpose is to kill bacteria and fungi which may make you sick.

Chlorine has been around for decades. It adds a distinctive aroma to water and effectively kills all bacteria but it's one drawback is it's instability, meaning it dissipates within a day or so. To get around this, water treatment centers are starting to use chloramine instead of chlorine. Chloramine is a mixture of chlorine and ammonia which will never dissipate because ammonia stabilizes the chlorine. But it is not very good at killing bacteria so a higher level is used.

The last way of purifying water is with chlorine dioxide, a gas that is infused with water to create chlorite which also does not dissipate. You really should find out which type of chlorine treatment is in your water so you can deal with it.

In terms of hydroponics, chlorinated water will kill all bacteria around your plants including the benefical kind but will dissipate in 24 hours so this water can be introduced to plants every 2 weeks when you change nutrient water to keep bacterial levels down and will soon dissipate. Bacterial levels will soon rise, so not a problem.

Water treated with chloramine or chlorine dioxide can be a problem. The water will not hurt the plants but do you really want to introduce these chemicals and their residue into your hydroponics system? Not me. Fortunately there are neutralizing chemicals available to get rid of this stuff.

If you find that your tap water is infused with chloramine, choose your neutralizing chemicals carefully or you may end up neutralizing the chlorine and leaving the ammonia - not something you want...


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