Application Advice

Water Quality in Hydroponics Applications: MyronLMeters.com

Posted by 7 Jan, 2014

TweetWHAT IS HYDROPONICS? “A technique of growing plants in nutrient solution”. Hydroponics literally means water-working or water-activation. It is a cultivation technique for growing plants in highly oxygenated, nutrient enriched water, rather than soil. The nutrient solution and its management are the cornerstone for a successful hydroponics system. The function of a hydroponics nutrient solution […]

WHAT IS HYDROPONICS?
“A technique of growing plants in nutrient solution”. Hydroponics literally means water-working or water-activation. It is a cultivation technique for growing plants in highly oxygenated, nutrient enriched water, rather than soil.

The nutrient solution and its management are the cornerstone for a successful hydroponics system. The function of a hydroponics nutrient solution is to supply the plant roots with water, oxygen and essential mineral elements in soluble form.

In soil, biological decomposition breaks down organic matter into basic nutrients that plants feed on. Water dissolves these nutrients which allows uptake by the roots. For a plant to receive a well balanced diet, everything in the soil must be in perfect balance.

Depending on the product, there are approximately seventeen (17) required elements for proper growth. For growth of higher plants, nine of these elements (macro nutrients) carbons, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and nitrogen are required in relatively large amounts. The remaining eight elements (micro-nutrients or trace elements) iron, zinc, copper, manganese, boron, chlorine, cobalt, and molybdenum are needed in only minute amounts.

To support a plant in a system, an insert medium like fiber or leca, may be used to anchor the roots. These mediums are designed to be very porous for excellent retention of air and water for healthy plants-roots to breathe! With the proper light exposure, nutrients, pH and EC/TDS measurements, plants will grow many times faster, bigger and healthier.

WHAT IS pH? WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
pH, means “potential hydrogen” ion concentration (commonly referred to as acidity or alkalinity) in a particular medium, such as water, soil, etc. All elements have a specific solubility pH range. This means that mineral elements can become more available for plant uptake within certain pH ranges. The scale of pH is 0 to 14, 14 is the highest for alkalinity, 7 is neutral, and 0 is the highest acidity. It is well documented that growing media pH is critical to successful plant growth. This is especially true for soilless mixes and hydroponics.

Extreme pH conditions such as very low pH (below pH 4.5) and very high pH (above pH 9) can cause damage to plant roots and limit or kill production.

WHAT IS ELECTRICAL CONDUCTIVITY (EC) OR TOTAL DISSOLVED SOLIDS (TDS)? WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
EC [displayed in either microsiemens (μS) or micromhos (μM)] is the measurement of the nutrient solutions ability to conduct an electrical current. In hydroponics the conductivity (EC) is most commonly expressed in an equivalent Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) value. The unit of measurement for TDS is parts per million (ppm). Pure water (deionized water) is actually an insulator — it does not conduct electricity. It is the conductive substances (or ionized salts) dissolved in the water that determine how conductive the solution is. With few exceptions, when there is a greater concentration of nutrients, the electrical current will flow faster, and when there is a lower concentration, the current will flow slower.

This is because the quantity of dissolved solids in the nutrient solution is directly proportional to the conductivity. Thus, by measuring the EC, one can determine how strong or weak the concentration of the nutrient solution is.

HOW IS EC CONVERTED TO PPM OF TDS?
Myron L meters use a complex equation that exactly matches the true TDS of the solution being tested. While other instrument manufacturers use a “fixed” factor (easier and less costly to manufacture) to “estimate” the TDS from electrical conductivity. As you can see in the following examples a fixed factor of, for example .5 is far off the mark.

solution table

 

 

 

 

 

TEMPERATURE COMPENSATION (TC), WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Without Temperature Compensation (TC), instrumentation measuring waters/nutrients would be indicating different values at differing temperatures. TC standardizes the readings at the international standard of 25°C / 77°F. With proper TC all readings will be repeatable at differing temperatures and may be correlated. All Myron L meters use advanced TC circuitry and equations to give you the best TC correction available.

CALIBRATION STANDARD SOLUTIONS
Clearly the “BEST” choice when calibrating instrumentation for controlling water and nutrients in Hydroponics, Greenhouses and Agricultural applications is the “442™” natural water standard.

This standard developed over 40 years ago closely matches the composition of natural water. The “442” refers to the combination of salts with deionized water to make the standard: 40% sodium sulfate, 40% sodium bicarbonate, and 20% sodium chloride. Since its development, it has become the world’s most accepted natural water standard. All HYDROPONICS Instruments from the Myron L Company are calibrated using this standard.

For truly accurate and repeatable readings for your Hydroponic applications, use Myron L meters and “442” Standard Solutions.

All instrumentation, pH buffers and EC/TDS standards are available HERE at MyronLMeters.com.

bottom table

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Horticulture Applications: MyronLMeters.com

Posted by 13 Nov, 2013

Tweet                    WHY ARE TESTS SO IMPORTANT? Modern growing practices include scientific evaluations of soil, water, fertilizers, diseases, etc. While some tests are best performed by a laboratory, others can be easily conducted on location, saving time and money. Three tests in particular, EC, pH, and ALKALINITY, […]

The Myron L Ag-6/pH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHY ARE TESTS SO IMPORTANT?

Modern growing practices include scientific evaluations of soil, water, fertilizers, diseases, etc. While some tests are best performed by a laboratory, others can be easily conducted on location, saving time and money. Three tests in particular, EC, pH, and ALKALINITY, can reveal valuable information about water quality, soil salinity, and fertilizer concentration. Our portable AGRI-METERS™ provide you with a simple, fast, and accurate means of testing these parameters.

WHAT IS ELECTRICAL CONDUCTIVITY (EC)?

EC is the measurement of a solution’s ability to conduct an electrical current. For horticultural applications, the unit of measure is often expressed as millimhos. Absolutely pure water is actually a poor electrical conductor. It is the substances (or electrolytes) dissolved in the water which determine how conductive the solution will be.

Therefore, EC can be an excellent indicator of:

1. Water quality

2. Soil salinity

3. Fertilizer concentration

EC AND WATER QUALITY

The quality of irrigation water is one of the most critical factors influencing your growing operation. It is important to have a complete water analysis performed on a regular basis. Environmental conditions such as drought, changing seasons, heavy rainfall, etc., can cause the concentrations of dissolved salts in your water to vary significantly. These dissolved salts (i.e. calcium, sodium, etc.) can directly affect your plants’ health and, over time, render even the best soil useless.

You can monitor your overall water quality by testing its electrical conductivity with an AGRI-METER™. The higher the EC, the more salts are dissolved in your water. By comparing your EC with previous readings, you can tell if any dramatic changes have occurred. Nutrient deficiencies are possible when water is too pure (low EC) or if the relative concentrations of some nutrients are unbalanced (i.e. calcium/magnesium). On the other hand, nutrient toxicities or osmotic interferences can also be traced to water quality. Water EC of even one millimho or below can cause problems. High EC readings of more than two millimhos can suggest serious problems, and special cultural procedures may be required.

EC AND SOIL SALINITY

“Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink” is an old saying that applies to your plants when the soil salinity becomes too high. Salts from irrigation water and fertilizers tend to accumulate in your soil or growing media. High soil salinity disrupts the normal osmotic balance in plant roots. In severe cases a plant will become dehydrated even when the soil is wet. Symptoms of high soil salinity include: leaf chlorosis and necrosis, leaf drop, root death, nutrient deficiency symptoms, and wilting. All too often these symptoms are not recognized as being caused by soluble salts in the growing media. Sampling your soil and testing the EC of an extract can reveal important information about a soil’s suitability and your crop’s health.

Samples should be representative of different depths and locations. An easy-to-perform extract method is available with a Soil Test Kit. A 2:1 or 5:1 water-to-soil ratio is made using the small vials provided. Soil test labs often use a method that calls for testing the EC of an extract from a thicker slurry. Therefore, you may see higher soil EC readings from a lab. It is important to standardize your sampling, extract, and testing methods. This will keep the difference between lab and field testing to a predictable factor.

EC AND FERTILIZER CONCENTRATION

You know how important fertilizer is to your plants, but do you know how accurate your fertilizer dosage is? Relying on traditional proportional methods is risky to plants and can waste expensive fertilizer. Improperly mixed fertilizer or a malfunctioning injector can lead to less than optimal results or even a disastrous loss of crops. Many fertilizer companies now recommend using a simple EC test to verify correct fertilizer concentrations. Many growers check their fertilizer injectors on a weekly basis, or they use a continuous EC monitor.

Fertilizer companies and suppliers often can provide a chart relating EC to parts per million concentrations of their various fertilizers. If one is not available for the fertilizer you use, carefully make some stock solutions at commonly used strengths and test their EC. This will give you a data base for future reference.

To test the EC of fertilizer solutions:

  1. Test and record the EC of the water to be mixed with the fertilizer.
  2. Test the conductivity of the fertilizer and water mixture.
  3. Subtract the water conductivity determined in #1 above.
  4. The resulting figure is an accurate indication of how much fertilizer is present (a higher conductivity means more fertilizer).

Important note: Interpretation of results differs from formula to formula and even among manufacturers of the same formula. Obtain the proper EC charts from the fertilizer company.

Myron L Meters sells both portable and inline instrumentation to make your fertilizer monitoring easy. Myron L AGRI-METERS™, AG-5 and AG6/PH, TH1, waterproof TECHPRO II™ models TP1, TPH1 and TH1, and waterproof ULTRAMETER II™ models 4P and 6PFCEare handheld instruments which make fertilizer testing as simple as filling a cup and pushing a button.

The Myron L 750 Series II™ EC Monitor/controllers can be used to continuously monitor your fertilizer concentration. Their “alarm” relay circuit acts as a safeguard in a fertilizer injection system or even as the main controller for your injector. A 0-10 VDC output for chart recorders or PLC (SCADA) input is standard on all monitor/controller models.

IMPORTANCE OF pH

pH, the measure of acidity or basicity, should be included in any soil or water test. It is well documented that growing media pH is critical to successful plant growth. This is especially true for new soilless mixes and hydroponics. pH affects the roots’ ability to absorb many plant nutrients. Examples include iron and manganese, which are insoluble at high pHs and toxic at low pHs. pH also directly affects the health of necessary micro-organisms in soil.

The effectiveness of pesticides and growth regulators can be severely limited by spray water pH that is either too low or too high.

ALKALINITY

It is important to note that testing the pH of irrigation water reveals only part of the story. Testing water alkalinity (bicarbonates and carbonates) is much more important than generally recognized. Alkalinity dictates how much influence the water’s pH will have on your soil and nutrient availability. In addition, alkalinity has a very great effect on the ease or difficulty of reducing the pH of water.

 

 

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Myron L Meters for Hydroponics: MyronLMeters.com

Posted by 5 Sep, 2013

TweetFeatures • Handheld meters measure TDS and/or pH • Monitor measures TDS • All instruments are easy to operate and calibrate • High degree of accuracy • Immediate results • Kit comes with solutions required to calibrate • Temperature compensated readings TDS Monitoring The nutrient solution and its management are the foundation of a successful […]

Features

• Handheld meters measure TDS and/or pH
• Monitor measures TDS
• All instruments are easy to operate and calibrate
• High degree of accuracy
• Immediate results
• Kit comes with solutions required to calibrate
• Temperature compensated readings

TDS Monitoring

The nutrient solution and its management are the foundation of a successful hydroponics system. The function of a hydroponics nutrient solution is to supply the plant roots with water, oxygen and essential mineral elements in soluble form.

A test of the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) using the DS Meter or pDS Meter or continuous monitoring with the HYDRO-STIK gives the grower accurate measurements of the concentration of nutrients in solution. If the concentration drops below the optimum level required to sustain and grow the plants, add more nutrient- rich solution until the desired concentration level is achieved. This prevents haphazard dosing and wasted solution, which minimizes costs to the grower.

pH Monitoring

pH of the nutrient solution is also critical to successful plant growth. All elements have a specific solubility pH range. This means that mineral elements dissolve and can become more concentrated in solution within certain pH ranges. Roots absorb only the dissolved nutrients, so this is critical to plant growth.
The TH1H and the pDS Meter quickly and easily measure pH.

Monitoring the addition of a pH balancing solution with the proper meter lets the grower precisely adjust the pH level.

Beyond affecting nutrient availability, extremely low or high pH can even damage or kill plants.

All Myron L TDS and pH meters give lab-accurate results in the field.

All Myron L meters use advanced Temperature Compensation (TC) circuitry and equations to give you the best TC correction available.

Ultrapen PT2 pH and Temperature Pen

Ultrapen PT2 pH and Temperature Pen

Ultrapen PT1 TDS Pen

Ultrapen PT1 TDS Pen

T6/pH TDS and pH Meter

T6/pH TDS and pH Meter

Techpro II - TPH1 TDS, pH, Conductivity, Temperature

Techpro II – TPH1 TDS, pH, Conductivity, Temperature

PSTK Soil Test Kit

PSTK Soil Test Kit

 

 

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Using LSI to preserve an Arizona treatment plant’s distribution systems

Posted by 16 Aug, 2013

Tweet                    The first thing anyone who manages water and wastewater learns is that water is the universal solvent. Because of the unique properties of that dihydrogen monoxide molecule, owing to the extreme electronegativity of the oxygen atom, water is highly polarized and dissolves almost everything with […]

Myron L Ultrameter II 6P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first thing anyone who manages water and wastewater learns is that water is the universal solvent. Because of the unique properties of that dihydrogen monoxide molecule, owing to the extreme electronegativity of the oxygen atom, water is highly polarized and dissolves almost everything with which it comes into contact. This fact is important when one has to maintain equipment and structures that process and distribute water because what the water has dissolved in it can cause it to be corrosive or scaling. What water generally has dissolved in it is at least some carbon dioxide and some calcium carbonate.

Carbon dioxide is ubiquitous and dissolves at the surface of the water, forming carbonic acid in solution. Calcium carbonate, dissolved by the carbonic acid, is globally present in rock formations (limestone), as well as in the physiological structures of organisms (particularly oceanic organisms) that excrete it. Calcium carbonate in its various forms is also used to buffer pH and stabilize solution in process control. Managing the calcium carbonate equilibrium becomes critical to managing any water and wastewater treatment process.

Too little calcium carbonate yields water that is not saturated and may cause corrosion and deteriorate equipment and structures. A supersaturated solution will likely precipitate calcium carbonate, causing scale, reducing efficiency and eventually leading to system failure.

LSI in AZ

One method for analyzing and managing corrosion and scale deposition of water is to use the Langelier Saturation Index (LSI). In Scottsdale, Ariz., Gary Lyons is managing LSI at his water treatment facility using the Myron L Ultrameter II 6P.

His drinking water treatment plant takes 70 million gal per day (mgd) of water from the Central Arizona Project canal and treats it for residential and commercial use. Within the 143-acre campus, the plant processes 20 mgd to of wastewater from the city of Scottsdale collection system using microfiltration and reverse osmosis (RO). Water coming from the RO treatment process is acidic around pH 5.5. It is then moved to decarbonation towers and lime is added to bring the LSI value close to zero. The water reclamation plant features 8 mgd of storage capacity. Recycled water treated by the plant is used for the irrigation of 20 Scottsdale golf courses.

There is great concern about how the water balance will affect this distribution system over time, especially due to higher total dissolved solids values. Plant technicians compute LSI values in the field with the 6Psi hand-held to determine what adjustments should be made and how in real time. The LSI calculator allows them to perform what-if scenarios on changes in pH, alkalinity, hardness and temperature. They are able to measure the effects of changes immediately as well in the facility and at distribution points.

Hardness and alkalinity are variables in the LSI calculation because they account for the availability of calcium in various forms in the water. Variables such as temperature and pH contribute to the likelihood of the formation of calcium carbonate.

The version of the LSI calculation used by the 6Psi LSI calculator is:

LSI = pH + TF + CF + AF – 12.1

In this calculation, pH = the measured value of pH in pH units; TF = 0.0117 x temperature – 0.4116; CF = 0.4341 x ln(Hrd) – 0.3926; and AF = 0.4341 x ln(AL) – 0.0074.

The first thing anyone who manages water and wastewater learns is that water is the universal solvent. Because of the unique properties of that dihydrogen monoxide molecule, owing to the extreme electronegativity of the oxygen atom, water is highly polarized and dissolves almost everything with which it comes into contact. This fact is important when one has to maintain equipment and structures that process and distribute water because what the water has dissolved in it can cause it to be corrosive or scaling. What water generally has dissolved in it is at least some carbon dioxide and some calcium carbonate.

Carbon dioxide is ubiquitous and dissolves at the surface of the water, forming carbonic acid in solution. Calcium carbonate, dissolved by the carbonic acid, is globally present in rock formations (limestone), as well as in the physiological structures of organisms (particularly oceanic organisms) that excrete it. Calcium carbonate in its various forms is also used to buffer pH and stabilize solution in process control. Managing the calcium carbonate equilibrium becomes critical to managing any water and wastewater treatment process.

Too little calcium carbonate yields water that is not saturated and may cause corrosion and deteriorate equipment and structures. A supersaturated solution will likely precipitate calcium carbonate, causing scale, reducing efficiency and eventually leading to system failure.

Indicator Analysis

LSI has been useful as a scaling/corrosion indicator in municipal water treatment for more than 70 years. The original Langelier Saturation (or Stability) Index calculation was developed by Dr. Wilfred Langelier in 1936 to be used as a tool to develop strategies to counteract corrosion of plumbing in municipal water distribution systems. It is a statement about the change in pH required to bring the calcium carbonate in water to equilibrium. LSI is a measure of the disparity between the pH of the system and the pH at which the system is saturated with calcium carbonate: LSI = pH – pH of saturation.

As such, the LSI indicates the change in pH required to bring water to equilibrium. If the LSI is +1, then the pH needs to be lowered by one unit to bring the water to equilibrium. If the LSI is -1, the pH needs to be raised by one unit to bring the water to equilibrium.

A positive saturation index means that the pH of the water is above equilibrium. The water is scaling because as pH increases, total alkalinity concentration increases. This is due to an increase in the carbonate ion, which bonds with calcium ions present in solution to form calcium carbonate (reference the carbonic acid equilibrium, in which hydrogen ions bond with carbonate ions to form bicarbonate and hydrogen ions bond with bicarbonate to form carbonic acid). Thus, any positive value for LSI is scaling.

If the pH is less than the pH of saturation, the index will be negative, which is corrosive. This means that the water is more acidic than it would be at equilibrium. There are less carbonate ions present, according to the carbonic acid equilibrium. The water will be aggressive because it has room for more ions in solution. Thus, any negative value for LSI indicates that the water may tend to be corrosive.

The use of LSI as an indicator is well documented and time-tested. Managing water balance through LSI analysis will prevent loss of efficiency and failure of equipment and structures, saving time and money.

Myron L Meters is the premier online internet retailer of the Myron L Ultrameter II 6P.  Find out more about the Ultrameter II 6P here:

https://www.myronlmeters.com/Myron-L-6P-Ultrameter-II-Multiparameter-Meter-p/dh-umii-6pii.htm

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Using the Ultrameter II 6P in a Power Plant

Posted by 16 Aug, 2013

TweetFind out how a plant chemistry and O&M technician with 18 years experience, uses the Ultrameter II 6P to optimize blowdowns and control corrosion, scale, contamination & chemicals Deborah Walker, an operation and maintenance technician and plant chemistry technician in manufacturing and energy production has been managing water quality in industrial processes for more than […]

The Ultrameter II 6P

The Ultrameter II 6P

Find out how a plant chemistry and O&M technician with 18 years experience, uses the Ultrameter II 6P to optimize blowdowns and control corrosion, scale, contamination & chemicals

Deborah Walker, an operation and maintenance technician and plant chemistry technician in manufacturing and energy production has been managing water quality in industrial processes for more than 18 years. Through her extensive experience, she has come to rely on the Myron L Ultrameter II as a way to monitor control parameters that ensure the functioning of automatic controllers and chemical dosers that optimize cooling tower blowdown schedules; prevent scale, corrosion and microbiological fouling; screen influent and effluent for process parameter control and environmental compliance; as well as directly measuring parameters critical to a total quality assurance plan.

Deborah’s most recent use of the Ultrameter II 6P  was in a high output power plant implementing a Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG), gas and steam turbines, all required heat exchangers, cooling towers, and chemical controllers that preserved the life of the equipment and structures in the water circulation loop while minimizing water and energy consumption. Deborah used the UMII as part of quality assurance for all water and steam quality. Make up water for this application was sourced from a massive municipal pipeline with wastewater being discharged into a nearby creek.

Much of the online controllers Deborah monitored featured an online sampling panel. Deborah used the Ultrameter II to draw solution from the panel to ensure the online meters that monitored cooling water throughout the system were functioning properly. Because the Ultrameter II 6P  measured all of the parameters critical to her operation, including conductivity, pH, ORP and temperature, she was able to efficiently analyze equipment functioning and chemical dosing quickly and accurately.

The Ultrameter II 6P also features data logging with memory for up to 100 readings, eliminating the need to perform record keeping tasks in the field. This means Deborah could monitor more areas of the plant in less time. Chemicals injected into the system included a cooling water dispersant that consisted of sodium bisulfate and sodium formaldehyde bisulfite. Sodium bisulfate effectively lowered the pH of the system and sodium formaldehyde bisulfite also served as an oxygen scavenger. (Removing oxygen from the system helps to prevent the formation of the hydroxide ion and hence the formation of rust, disrupting the processes of the corrosion cell. Tetrapotassium pyrophosphate is used for water stabilization and disrupts the corrosion process at the cathodic areas by combining with calcium or iron to form a complex film.) pH monitoring with the Ultrameter II 6P was required to ensure target levels as well as optimum chemical performance.

Deborah also used the Ultrameter II 6P as a quality check to maintain the HRSG. To do this, she tested the purity of the steam by measuring conductivity of steam at the sample panel for boiler chemistry control.

The steam that issued from the HRSG to the turbine had the potential to errode or deposit, which could affect energy efficiency, as well as damage equipment. Any deposits would add mass to the turbine, making it more difficult to turn with greater friction, requiring more energy for the mass with more energy lost as heat. Any increase in conductivity in the steam indicated that either something undesirable was in the water as it was coming in or that there was something wrong with the combustion chemistry—either the dirty water was carried over to the steam or the steam was eroding the boiler and picking up minerals from the metal components. If the steam was corrosive, preventative corrections could be made to stem any equipment damage. If other chemical contamination was evident, additional pretreatment and other chemical controls could be implemented.

Using the Ultrameter II 6P for steam quality control not only increased HRSG energy efficiency and equipment lifecycle, but also decreased its environmental footprint because some of the chemical contaminants that could form deposits could only be removed by other dangerous chemicals with extensive outage during maintenance. The operational target for specific conductivity blowdown identified by Deborah with the Ultrameter II was 1200-1400µS with a goal of 10 cycles of concentration.

Deborah also used the Ultrameter II as part of a disinfection program. Chlorine was used to mitigate biological fouling and corrosion. Chlorine injection occurred at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. with blowdowns scheduled for once at night and once during the day. Deborah’s target residual level range for system disinfection was 0.2-0.6 ppm free chlorine. The bleach injection used in disinfection, however, not only interfered directly with pH control, but also with the effectiveness of other chemicals used to prevent scaling and corrosion.

Chlorine also had to be kept at a consistent reasonable level at all times to avoid shocking the system with massive doses, which could make the system erratic and difficult to balance. During a shock, biological growth could come loose as well, potentially clogging membranes or small pipes in the sample panel. Spot checking parameters such as pH, ORP and conductivity with the Ultrameter II was critical to ensuring consistent residual chlorine levels, pH, and scale and corrosion inhibitors between blowdowns.

The Ultrameter II 6Pwas used by Deborah to verify the accuracy of monitors that controlled demineralizer water used in other processes at the power plant. Three trains were employed to remove dissolved solids. The first vessel removed cations. The second vessel removed anions. The third was a mixed bed that removed both types. The Ultrameter II 6P  could be used to determine when the trains had become saturated and needed to be regenerated by measuring any increase in conductivity downstream from the beds. Acid injection was used to flush the demineralizer out, which was then rinsed. Deborah used the Ultrameter II to ensure that the brine wastewater that resulted was neutralized and documented its pH and conductivity before it was shipped away.

Deborah also had to mitigate the environmental impact of discharged cooling waters. She used the Ultrameter II 6P  to take measurements of pH and temperature of the water from a creek upstream of the plant to establish a baseline for compliance for the wastewater, so that she could get the water as close to the natural conditions of the creek as possible before discharge.

The chlorine injected to kill microbes and prevent fouling while the cooling water was being recirculated also had to be removed from the water before it entered the creek. This is because the chlorine could also kill desirable organisms important to the ecosystem of the creek, either by direct oxidation or accumulation to toxic levels in living tissues. If chlorine residual was above 0.2 ppm, the waste stream was diverted to sodium bisulfite skids. On the discharge side of the skids, Deborah used the Ultrameter II to test that sodium bisulfite was injected and effective at binding with and deactivating the chlorine by measuring the Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP). ORP measured the total killing power of all sanitizers in solution by measuring the chemical activity, rather than any specific constituent. Deborah also checked the free chlorine level again specifically.

The sodium bisulfite skid itself also caused the pH of the water to vary slightly. So Deborah made a final check of the pH using the Ultrameter II. The pH was controlled to between 6.6 and 8.6 to optimize the efficacy of other chemicals in solution. The cooling tower would typically blow down within this range, but could be as high as the administrative limit, which was set at 8.7—still well within permit discharge limits, but only with special permission.

The outside blowdown line from the cooling tower dumped into a settling basin before it traveled out to the creek. Deborah used the Ultrameter II  6P to test conductivity, pH, ORP and free chlorine before the cooling water was discharged into the settling basin to ensure compliance with the established guidelines.

Part of effluent compliance also included a plan to monitor and control stormwater runoff from the plant. Deborah used the Ultrameter II 6P to monitor and report pH and conductivity following a major rain event.

Ranges for other operational limits include 80-130 mg/L (ppm) Ca, which usually runs at about 60 mg/L; 0-0.5 mg/L iron, which usually runs at about 0.30 mg/L; microorganism plate count of 0-104 cfu/mL, and suspended solids between 0-25 mg/L.

Deborah has also used the Ultrameter II 6P as part of a Quality Assurance plan for a prominent electric semiconductor manufacturer in which she used conductivity measurements to ensure semiconductor chip quality through proper rinsing.

Myron L Meters is the premier online internet retailer of the Myron L Ultrameter II 6P.  Find out more about the Ultrameter II 6P here:

https://www.myronlmeters.com/Myron-L-6P-Ultrameter-II-Multiparameter-Meter-p/dh-umii-6pii.htm

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Water Quality Testing in RO Systems – MyronLMeters.com

Posted by 10 May, 2013

Tweet Water quality testing is vital to the design of an efficient, cost-effective RO system, and is one of the best ways to preserve system life and performance. Using an accurate Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) measurement to assess the system load prevents costly mistakes up front. The TDS measurement gives users the information they need […]

DH-UMIII-9PTK-2T

Water quality testing is vital to the design of an efficient, cost-effective RO system, and is one of the best ways to preserve system life and performance.

Using an accurate Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) measurement to assess the system load prevents costly mistakes up front. The TDS measurement gives users the information they need to determine whether or not pretreatment is required and the type of membrane/s to select. Ultrameter™ and ULTRAPEN PT1™ Series TDS instruments feature the unique ability to select from 3 industry standard solution models: 442 Natural Water™ NaCl; and KCl. Choosing the model that most closely matches the characteristics of source water yields measurements accurate enough to check and calibrate TDS monitor/controllers that can help alert to system failures, reducing downtime and increasing productivity. The same instruments provide a fast and accurate test for permeate TDS quality control. Measuring concentrate values and analyzing quality trends lets users accurately determine membrane usage according to the manufacturer’s specifications so they can budget consumption correctly. These daily measurements are invaluable in detecting problems with system performance where changes in the ionic concentration of post-filtration streams can indicate scaling or fouling. System maintenance is generally indicated if there is either a 10-15% drop in performance or permeate quality as measured by TDS.

Thin-film composite membranes degrade when exposed to chlorine. In systems where chlorine is used for microbiological control, the chlorine is usually removed by carbon adsorption or sodium bisulfite addition before membrane filtration. The presence of any chlorine in such systems will at best reduce the life of the membrane, thus, a target of 0 ppm free chlorine in the feedwater is desirable.

ORP gives the operator the total picture of all chemicals in solution that have oxidizing or reducing potential including chlorine, bromine, chloramines, chlorine dioxide, peracetic acid, iodine, ozone, etc. However, ORP can be used to monitor and control free chlorine in systems where chlorine is the only sanitizer used. ORP over +300 mV is generally considered undesirable for membranes. Check manufacturer’s specifications for tolerable ORP levels.

An inline ORP monitor/controller placed ahead of the RO unit to automatically monitor for trends and breakthroughs coupled with spot checks by a portable instrument will prevent equipment damage and failure. Myron L 720 Series II™ ORP monitor/controllers can be configured with bleed and feed switches as well as visible and audible alarms.

Ultrameter and ULTRAPEN portable handhelds are designed for fast field testing and are accurate enough to calibrate monitor/controllers. Our measurement methods are objective and have superior accuracy and convenience when compared to colorimetric methods where determination of equivalence points is subjective and can be skewed by colored or turbid solutions.

Monitoring pH of the source water will allow users to make adjustments that optimize the performance of antiscalants, corrosion inhibitors and anti-foulants. Using a 720 II Series Monitor/controller to maintain pH along with an Ultrameter Series or ULTRAPEN PT2™ handheld to spot check pH values will reduce consumption of costly chemicals and ensure their efficacy.

Most antiscalants used in chemical system maintenance specify a Langelier Saturation Index maximum value. Some chemical manufacturers and control systems develop their own proprietary methods for determining a saturation index based on solubility constants in a defined system. However, LSI is still used as the predominant scaling indicator because calcium carbonate is present in most water. Using a portable Ultrameter III 9PTKA™ provides a simple method for determining LSI to ensure the chemical matches the application.

The Ultrameter III 9PTKA computes LSI from independent titrations of alkalinity and hardness along with electrometric measurements of pH and temperature. Using the 9PTKA LSI calculator, alterations to the water chemistry can be determined to achieve the desired LSI. Usually, pH is the most practical adjustment. If above 7, acid additions are made to achieve the pH value in the target LSI. Injections are made well ahead of the RO unit to ensure proper mixing and avoid pH hotspots. A Myron L 720 Series II pH Monitor/controller will automatically detect and divert solution with pH outside the range of tolerance for the RO unit. ULTRAPEN PT2, TechPro II and Ultrameter Series instruments can be used to spot check and calibrate the monitor/controller as part of routine maintenance and to ensure uniform mixing.

Water hardness values indicate whether or not ion exchange beds are required in pretreatment. Checking hardness values directly after the softening process with the Ultrameter III 9PTKA ensures proper functioning and anticipates the regeneration schedule.

Alkalinity is not only important in its effect on the scaling tendency of solution, but on pH maintenance. Additions of lime are used to buffer pH during acid injection. Use a 9PTKA to measure alkalinity values for fast field analysis where other instrumentation is too cumbersome to be practical.

Though testing and monitoring pressure is a good way to evaluate system requirements and performance over time, measuring other water quality parameters can help pinpoint problems when troubleshooting. For example, if the pressure differential increases over the second stage, the most likely cause is scaling by insoluble salts. This means that any degradation in performance is likely due to the dissolved solids in the feed. Using a 9PTKA to evaluate LSI and calculate parameter adjustments is a simple way to troubleshoot a costly problem.

Myron L Meters saves you 10% on all Ultrameters and Ultrapens when you order online at MyronLMeters.com, where you can find the complete selection of Myron L meters, including the Ultrameter III 9PTKA.

Original story from International Filtration News V 32, no. 2

 

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Testing Hydroponics System’s Nutrient Solution – MyronLMeters.com

Posted by 3 Apr, 2013

TweetTDS meter Whether or not you’re a newcomer to hydroponic growing, keeping your hydroponic system’s nutrient solution properly balanced with a satisfactory nutrient concentration can be tough. Regular testing of one’s t solution is required if you want to keep the hydroponic system balanced and your plants healthy and growing. The simplest way to keep […]

TDS meter

Whether or not you’re a newcomer to hydroponic growing, keeping your hydroponic system’s nutrient solution properly balanced with a satisfactory nutrient concentration can be tough. Regular testing of one’s t solution is required if you want to keep the hydroponic system balanced and your plants healthy and growing. The simplest way to keep your nutrient solution balanced is via testing. You must check your solution’s pH level and nutrient concentration no less than every couple of days. To be able to try out your solution you need a few basic devices. You need to get a trusted pH tester and either an overall total Dissolved Solids (TDS) meter or perhaps a Conductivity (EC) meter.

pH tester

It is generally agreed that the pH of one’s nutrient solution should be kept slightly acidic using a pH range of 5.5-6.0. You will find exceptions for this generalization. If you are unsure what are the best pH range is for the plants you might be growing, there are many resources open to guide you. You can find three basic means of testing pH. The least expensive technique is paper testing strips. They’re simple to use but could be difficult to learn. Typically the most popular testing way is liquid test kits. This method is extremely accurate and easier to see than paper testing strips but it is also more expensive. An electronic digital pH meter may be the last available option. Digital pH meters are available in various shapes, sizes, and price ranges. The benefit of an electronic pH meter is that it can be really user friendly, fast, and accurate. However, they are the most costly of the testing options, they can break easily, plus they has to be calibrated frequently if you’d like them to remain accurate.

TDS tester

Both conductivity meters and TDS meters are used to look at the strength, or concentration, of your hydroponic nutrient solution. Even though it is crucial that you know the concentration of your solution, this is because measurements ought to be used being a guideline only. EC meters will almost always be measured much the same way. Two sensors they fit within the solution being tested along with a little bit of electricity is emitted by one sensor and received by the other sensor. How well the electricity travels is then based on the EC meter. The harder electricity conducted, the greater the power of solids in the solution. A TDS meter uses the EC after which calculates the amount of solids inside the solution according to among three conversion factors. Considering that the TDS is dependant on a calculation, it really is only a quote of solids in the nutrient solution.

With this particular basic comprehension of the main difference between TDS and conductivity meters you can determine which measurement process is best for you. When you use a packaged nutrient solution, browse the product label to learn which kind of meter the maker recommends. In the event the manufacturer recommends a TDS, they’ll also inform you which conversion step to use as well as the recommended concentration range for his or her product. If you use a homemade nutrient solution plus a TDS meter, a great general guideline is to keep your TDS between 800 and 1200 ppm (ppm). If you work with an EC meter to test your homemade nutrient solution, a good range is 1.0 to 3.0 mS/cm (milisiemens per centimeter).

This information will help keep your hydroponics nutrient solution balanced and your plants healthy.

Myron L Meters has the perfect solution for hydroponics testing – the Ultrapen Combo.

ULTRACOMBO – ULTRAPEN PT1  Conductivity – TDS – Salinity pen & PT2  – pH – Temp Pen

Accuracy of +/-1% of READING (+/-.2% at Calibration Point)
Accuracy of +/- 0.01 pH
Reliable Repeatable Results
Solution modes: KCl, NaCl and 442
Automatic Temperature Compensation
Autoranging
Durable, Fully Potted Circuitry
Comes with 2oz bottle of pH Storage Solution
Waterproof

Ultrapen Combo

List Price: $318.00 

Exclusive Online Price: $280.50

http://www.myronlmeters.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Material Shared via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Croatia, original found here: http://blog.dnevnik.hr/nathanielwhite566668/2012/02/1629933596/tds-meter.html

 

 

 

 

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Testing Fountain Solution Conductivity – MyronLMeters.com

Posted by 1 Apr, 2013

Tweet WHY TEST FOUNTAIN SOLUTIONS? Accurate fountain (dampening) solution concentration control is essential for consistent, high-quality results in lithography. Low concentration can cause drying on the non-image area of the plate resulting in tinting, scumming, blanket piling, etc. High concentrations, on the other hand, bring about over-emulsification of the ink. This results in weakening of […]

WHY TEST FOUNTAIN SOLUTIONS?

Accurate fountain (dampening) solution concentration control is essential for consistent, high-quality results in lithography. Low concentration can cause drying on the non-image area of the plate resulting in tinting, scumming, blanket piling, etc. High concentrations, on the other hand, bring about over-emulsification of the ink. This results in weakening of color strength and changes in ink rheology (body and flow properties). Correct concentration will allow the non-image areas of the plate to be appropriately wetted.

 WAYS TO TEST

Traditionally, pH was the test relied on to determine fountain solution concentration. Today, however, conductivity testing is recognized as a much more accurate method. Many modern dampening solutions are pH stabilized (or buffered), so only small changes in pH are seen even when dramatic changes occur in solution strength. Conductivity measurement is a fast and easy test which is more indicative of fountain solution concentration than pH. This is true for all neutral, alkaline, and many acid type solutions.

pH is still important, however, with unbuffered acid fountain solutions. Checking both conductivity and pH can provide valuable information. Acid fountain solution is a mixture of gum arabic, wetting agents, salts, acids, buffers, etc. Conductivity will tell you if the proper amount of most ingredients are present, but pH is necessary to check acid concentrations. pH will also determine how effective one ingredient, gum arabic, will be.

 CONDUCTIVITY TESTING

What is conductivity? Conductivity is the measurement of a solution’s ability to conduct an electrical current. It is usually expressed in microsiemens (micromhos). Absolutely pure water is actually a poor electrical conductor. It is the substances dissolved in water which determine how conductive the solution will be. Therefore, conductivity is an excellent indicator of solution strength.

To properly measure the conductivity of fountain solutions:

1.   Test and write down the conductivity of the water used to prepare the solution.

  1. Mix the fountain solution concentrate with the water, using the manufacturer’s recommendations or as experience dictates.
  2. Measure the conductivity of the mixed solution.
  3. Subtract the water conductivity value obtained in step 1. This is necessary because tap water quality can change from day to day.

The resulting number is an accurate indicator of fountain solution strength. Caution: because alcohol will lower a solution’s conductivity, always test solution conductivity before and after the addition of alcohol.

Determining the best concentration of fountain solution is mostly “trial and error.” It can be very useful to make a graph, recording readings for every one-half or one ounce of concentrate added to a gallon of water. Record readings on a graph with the vertical axis representing conductivity values and the horizontal axis representing ounces/gallon. Such a graph will help “fine tune” your system during future press runs.

For “on the spot” fountain solution tests, Myron L handheld instruments are fast, accurate, and reliable. Measurements are made in seconds simply by pouring a small sample of solution into the instrument cell cup and pressing a button. Automatic temperature compensated accuracy and famous Myron L reliability have made our instruments popular in pressrooms worldwide.

 pH TESTING

Even though pH usually is not the best method to check the concentration of fountain solution, it is still very important and must be checked regularly. The pH of acid dampening solution affects sensitivity, plate-life, ink-drying, etc. Also, pH can change during a run if the paper has a high acid or alkaline content. pH, therefore, must be maintained at the proper level for good printing.

A convenient and accurate way to test pH (as well as temperature) is Myron L’s waterproof Ultrameter II™ Model 6PFCE or TechPro II™ TH1. The 6PFCE has a 100 reading memory and the TH1 has a 20 reading memory to store test results on site. The 6P also measures conductivity. All electrodes are contained in the cell cup for protection. Model M6/PH also measures pH and conductivity.

 CONTINUOUS CONTROL

 For continuous monitoring and/or control of fountain solution concentration, Myron L offers a complete series of in-line conductivity instruments. These economical, accurate, and reliable models use a remotely installed sensor and a panel/wall mount meter enclosure. Most contain an adjustable set point and heavy duty relay circuit which can be used to activate alarms, valves, feedpumps, etc. All models contain a 0-10 VDC output for a chart recorder or PLC (SCADA) input, if required, (4-20 mA output is also available).

The 750 Series II with dual set point option has become quite popular in pressrooms. The two set points allow a “safe zone” for controlling fountain solution concentration.

LITHO-KIT™

Ultrameter II 6PFCE, 512M5 and M6/PH are available with the useful LITHO-KIT™. This accessory includes a foam-lined, rugged all-plastic carry case with calibrating solutions and buffers. In addition, a syringe to simplify drawing samples and a thermometer for testing fountain solution temperature are also included.

 

PROBLEM

REMEDY

RECOMMENDED MODELS
Improperly mixed fountain solution Carefully follow manufacturer’s directions, checking both water and mixed solution with a conductivity instrument Ultrameter 4PII, 6PIIFCE and 9PTK; ULTRAPEN PT1; and TechPro II TPH1 or TP1 all test 0-9999 ppm TDS or microsiemens conductivity, and temperature. 512M5 por- table DS Meter™ with a 0-5000 microsiemens conductivity range.
Halftones sharpen and highlight dots lost during run Check pH of fountain solution to determine if it’s too acidic Ultrameter 4PII, 6PIIFCE and 9PTK; ULTRAPEN PT2; and TechPro II TH1.M6/PH portable pDS Meter. Ranges: 0-5000 microsiemens and 2-12 pH.
Reverse osmosis water treatment system monitor indicates membrane failure Test RO water quality and verify in-line instrument accuracy Ultrameter 4PII, 6PIIFCE  and 9PTK; ULTRAPEN PT1; and TechPro II TPH1 or TP1 all test 0-9999 ppm TDS or microsiemens conductivity, and temperature.
Scum streaks across plate after 10,000 – 20,000impressions Check acid/gum levels infountain solution Ultrameter 6PIIFCE and 9PTK; ULTRAPEN PT2; and TechPro II TH1.M6/PH portable pDS Meter. Ranges: 0-5000 microsiemens and 2-12 pH.
Personnel unable to test fountain solution concentration Continuously control fountain solution with conductivity Monitor/controller 758II-123 (0-5000 µS) in-lineMonitor/controller.

You can save 10% on any recommended meter at MyronLMeters.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Frequently Asked Questions – MyronLMeters.com

Posted by 28 Jan, 2013

TweetHow long will my Standard Solutions and Buffers last? The warranty on all standards and buffers is one year from the date it is manufactured (see the label on the bottle). If the standards and buffers become contaminated by the user pouring test samples back into the bottle or inserting the probe into the bottle […]

How long will my Standard Solutions and Buffers last?

The warranty on all standards and buffers is one year from the date it is manufactured (see the label on the bottle). If the standards and buffers become contaminated by the user pouring test samples back into the bottle or inserting the probe into the bottle the solution will not be accurate and should be discarded. The life of standards and buffers can exceed 1 year if the bottle is stored tightly capped and is not exposed to direct sunlight or freezing temperatures. If the solution becomes frozen, do not remove the cap – allow the standard or buffer solution to thaw completely and shake the bottle vigorously before opening.

How do I clean the conductivity cell cup on the handheld units?

With everyday sampling, the cell cup may build up a residue or film on the cell walls that may cause the readings to become erratic. Use a 50/50 mixture of a common household cleaner (i.e. Lime-A-Way, CLR, Tilex, etc) and DI water. Pour into conductivity cell cup and scrub with a q-tip. Be sure to get around all the electrodes and the thermistor probe. On the DS handheld unit, use an acid brush to scrub the cell cup. Let it set for about 10 minutes. Rinse the cell cup thoroughly with tap water, then a final rinse with DI water.

The display on my Ultrameter II 6P reads “Error 1″. What does that mean?

This is possibly caused by contamination to the circuit board. One or more of the traces on the PCB have been jumped/bridged and there is a contamination. Possible moisture, condensation, dirt, dried salts or other condensation inside is a potential cause for this display.

Where can I get an operations manual for my meter?

Go to MyronLMeters.com. Click on Manuals and Literature at the top of the page. Once on the Manuals and Literature page, you’ll find application bulletins, operations manuals, material safety data sheets, and product datasheets.  All are free, downloadable pdf files.

How do I pick the correct range module for my Monitor or Monitor/Controller?

Pick a range module that covers 2/3 of your operating range. If you pick a range module that is too broad, then your accuracy will suffer or it will not show a number on the display. For example, if your operating range is 100-150 microsiemens, a range module of 0-200 microsiemens (-115) would be a good choice. A range module of 0- 5,000 microsiemens (-123) would not be a good choice for this application

Got questions? Visit us at MyronLMeters.com and Ask An Expert.

 

 

 

 

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Reusing Greywater – MyronLMeters.com

Posted by 15 Dec, 2012

TweetGreywater is water from your bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines. It is not water that has come into contact with feces, either from the toilet or from washing diapers. Greywater may contain traces of dirt, food, grease, hair, and certain household cleaning products. While greywater may look “dirty,” it is a safe and […]

Greywater is water from your bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines. It is not water that has come into contact with feces, either from the toilet or from washing diapers.

Greywater may contain traces of dirt, food, grease, hair, and certain household cleaning products. While greywater may look “dirty,” it is a safe and even beneficial source of irrigation water in a yard. If released into rivers, lakes, or estuaries, the nutrients in greywater become pollutants, but to plants, they are valuable fertilizer. Aside from the obvious benefits of saving water (and money on your water bill), reusing your greywater keeps it out of the sewer or septic system, thereby reducing the chance that it will pollute local water bodies. Reusing greywater for irrigation reconnects urban residents and our backyard gardens to the natural water cycle.

The easiest way to use greywater is to pipe it directly outside and use it to water ornamental plants or fruit trees. Greywater can be used directly on vegetables as long as it doesn’t touch edible parts of the plants. In any greywater system, it is essential to put nothing toxic down the drain–no bleach, no dye, no bath salts, no cleanser, no shampoo with unpronounceable ingredients, and no products containing boron, which is toxic to plants. It is crucial to use all-natural, biodegradable soaps whose ingredients do not harm plants. Most powdered detergent, and some liquid detergent, is sodium based, but sodium can keep seeds from sprouting and destroy the structure of clay soils. Choose salt-free liquid soaps. While you’re at it, watch out for your own health: “natural” body products often contain substances toxic to humans, including parabens, stearalkonium chloride, phenoxyethanol, polyethelene glycol (PEG), and synthetic fragrances.

For residential greywater systems simple designs are best. With simple systems you are not able to send greywater into an existing drip irrigation system, but must shape your landscape to allow water to infiltrate the soil. We recommend simple, low-tech systems that use gravity instead of pumps. We prefer irrigation systems that are designed to avoid clogging, rather than relying on filters and drip irrigation.

Greywater reuse can increase the productivity of sustainable backyard ecosystems that produce food, clean water, and shelter wildlife. Such systems recover valuable “waste” products–greywater, household compost, and humanure–and reconnect their human inhabitants to ecological cycles. Appropriate technologies for food production, water, and sanitation in the industrialized world can replace the cultural misconception of “wastewater” with the possibility of a life-generating water culture.

More complex systems are best suited for multi-family, commercial, and industrial scale systems. These systems can treat and reuse large volumes of water, and play a role in water conservation in dense urban housing developments, food processing and manufacturing facilities, schools, universities, and public buildings. Because complex systems rely on pumps and filtration systems, they are often designed by an engineer, are expensive to install and may require regular maintenance.

Basic Greywater Guidelines

Greywater is different from fresh water and requires different guidelines for it to be reused.
1. Don’t store greywater (more than 24 hours). If you store greywater the nutrients in it will start to break down, creating bad odors.
2. Minimize contact with greywater. Greywater could potentially contain a pathogen if an infected person’s feces got into the water, so your system should be designed for the water to soak into the ground and not be available for people or animals to drink.
3. Infiltrate greywater into the ground, don’t allow it to pool up or run off (knowing how well water drains into your soil (or the soil percolation rate of your soil) will help with proper design. Pooling greywater can provide mosquito breeding grounds, as well as a place for human contact with greywater.
4. Keep your system as simple as possible, avoid pumps, avoid filters that need upkeep. Simple systems last longer, require less maintenance, require less energy and cost less money.
5. Install a 3-way valve for easy switching between the greywater system and the sewer/septic.
6. Match the amount of greywater your plants will receive with their irrigation needs.

Types of simple systems

From the Washing Machine

Washing machines are typically the easiest source of greywater to reuse because greywater can be diverted without cutting into existing plumbing. Each machine has an internal pump that automatically pumps out the water- you can use that to your advantage to pump the greywater directly to your plants.

Laundry Drum

Drum should be strapped to wall for safety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An example of a laundry drum system.

If you don’t want  to invest much money in the system (maybe you are a renter), or have a lot of hardscape (concrete/patio) between your house and the area to irrigate, try a laundry drum system.

Wash water is pumped into a “drum,” a large barrel or temporary storage called a surge tank. At the bottom of the drum the water drains out into a hose that is moved around the yard to irrigate. This is the cheapest and easiest system to install, but requires constant moving of the hose for it to be effective at irrigating.

Laundry to Landscape (aka drumless laundry)

The laundry to landscape system gives you flexibility in what plants you’re able irrigate and takes very little maintenance.

In this system, the hose leaving the washing machine is attached to a valve that allows for easy switching between the greywater system and the sewer. The greywater goes to 1″ irrigation line with outlets sending water to specific plants. This system is low cost, easy to install, and gives huge flexibility for irrigation. In most situations this is the number one place to start when choosing a greywater system.

From the Shower

Showers are a great source of greywater- they usually produce a lot of relatively clean water. To have a simple, effective shower system you will want a gravity-based system (no pump). If your yard is located uphill from the house, then you’ll need to have a pumped system.

Branched Drain:

Greywater in this system flows through standard (1 1/2″ size) drainage pipe, by gravity, always sloping downward at 2% slope, or 1/4 inch drop for every foot traveled horizontally, and the water is divided up into smaller and smaller quantities using a plumbing fitting that splits the flow. The final outlet of each branch flows into a mulched basin, usually to irrigate the root zone of trees or other large perennials. Branched drain systems are time consuming to install, but once finished require very little maintenance and work well for the long term.

 

 

 

 

 

An example of a branched drain system .

From the Sinks

Kitchen sinks are the source of a fair amount of water, usually very high in organic matter (food, grease, etc.). Kitchen sinks are not allowed under many greywater codes, but are allowed in some states, like Montana. This water will clog many kinds of systems. To avoid clogging, we recommend branched drains to large mulch basins. Much less water passes through bathroom sinks. If combined with the shower water it will fall under the shower system, if used alone, it can be drained to a single large plant, or have the flow split to irrigate two or three plants.

Constructed Wetlands

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wetland planter ecologically disposes greywater from an office with no sewer hookup.

If you produce more greywater than you need for irrigation, a constructed wetland can be incorporated into your system to “ecologically dispose” of some of the greywater. Wetlands absorb nutrients and filter particles from greywater, enabling it to be stored or sent through a properly designed drip irrigation system (a sand filter and pump will also be needed- this costs more money). Greywater is also a good source of irrigation for beautiful, water loving wetland plants. If you live near a natural waterway, a wetland can protect the creek from nutrient pollution that untreated greywater would provide. If you live in an arid climate, or are trying to reduce your fresh water use, we don’t recommend incorporating wetlands into greywater systems as they use up a lot of the water which could otherwise be used for irrigation.

Pumped Systems

If you can’t use gravity to transport the greywater (your yard is sloped uphill, or it’s flat and the plants are far away) you will need a “drum with effluent pump” system. The water flows into a large (usually 50 gallon) plastic drum that is either buried or located at ground level. In the drum a pump pushes the water out through irrigation lines (no emitters) to the landscape. Pumps add cost, use electricity, and will break, so avoid this if you can.

Indoor Greywater use

In most residential situations it is much simpler and more economical to utilize greywater outside, and not create a system that treats the water for indoor use. The exceptions are in houses that have high water use and minimal outdoor irrigation, and for larger buildings like apartments.

There are also very simple ways to reuse greywater inside that are not a “greywater system”. Buckets can catch greywater and clear water, the water wasted while warming up a shower. These buckets can be used to “bucket flush” a toilet, or carried outside. There are also simple designs like Sink Positive, and more complicated systems like the Brac system. Earthships have an interesting system that reuse greywater inside with greenhouse wetlands.

Plants and Greywater

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kiwi fruit irrigated with greywater

Low tech, simple greywater systems are best suited to specific, large plants. Use them to water trees, bushes, berry patches, shrubs, and large annuals. It’s much more difficult to water lots of small plants that are spread out over a large area (like a lawn or flower bed).

Greywater Policy

Greywater policies differ state to state. The best policy is from the state of Arizona. They have greywater guidelines to educate residents on how to build simple, safe, efficient, greywater irrigation systems. If people follow the guidelines their systems falls under a general permit and is automatically “legal”, that is, the residents don’t have to apply or pay for any permits or inspections.

California had the first greywater code in the nation, but it had been very restrictive and usually made it unfeasible for people to afford installing a permitted system. Because of this the vast majority of systems in California are unpermitted. Using data from a study done by the soap industry, Art Ludwig estimates that for every permit given in the past 20 years, there were 8,000 unpermitted systems built. In 2009 California changed its code, making it much easier for people to build simple, low cost systems legally.

Some states have no greywater policy and don’t give permits at all, while other states give experimental permits for systems on a case-by-case basis.

Images and information by Greywater Action used above are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License., original found here: http://greywateraction.org/content/about-greywater-reuse

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