water problem need some expert advice quick

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water problem need some expert advice quick

Post  NeilDellinger on Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:49 pm

I am in the process of moving from Tulsa, OK to the Chicago land area. I have the move of the physical move of the trees taken care of pretty much and their care during the move. The problem I have is the water in the subdivision I am moving into.

The water is "softened" at the water treatment plant before it hist my house. The most recent ppm of sodium was 140. I use a very fast draining inorganic mix of haydite and akadama mostly. I generally follow the practice of aggressive watering and feeding to accompany the fast drainage.

I will need a solution to this potential issue by the end of October. Some ideas I have considered are:

Water Butt's to catch rain water.....lowest cost, not sure how reliable
Sodium filter....lots of different options there.

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Water Problem

Post  bonsaisr on Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:15 pm

Doesn't sound too bad. What else is in the water besides sodium? Suggest you contact the Chicago Botanical Garden, gardeners in the same area, or the local bonsai club.
Iris

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Re: water problem need some expert advice quick

Post  Orion on Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:31 pm

Do you have a dehumidifier? They collect a lot of water over a 24hr period.

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Re: water problem need some expert advice quick

Post  JimLewis on Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:01 pm

I've been out of the environmental regulation loop for a long time now, but I don't think I ever heard of a community water supply system (which this would have to be) being approved by the EPA or state EPA with pre-softened water, using Sodium. There are people for whom this could be quite unhealthy.

I'd advise that you check with the appropriate governemntal agency in your new community. In the meantime, rainbarrels are a good, inexpensive solution.

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Re: water problem need some expert advice quick

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:06 pm

There are a bunch of Chicago and Cook County people, pets and plants living off the Chicago Public Water Supply without croaking. Worst case scenario, collect rainwater and every month or two water with rain water for a wekk or so to rinse out ant residual salts or other minerals.

forbey

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Re: water problem need some expert advice quick

Post  NeilDellinger on Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:07 pm

Its a subdivision which formed its own water reclamation district. I have planned to install rainwater barrels & then likely dilute by a suitable amount.

Does anyone have any idea for optimal & bad ranges for ppm sodium????

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Re: water problem need some expert advice quick

Post  FRK on Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:17 pm

Neil,
Moving back, be sure to stop by here and load up on trees on your way back.
Have a look at this web site http://utextension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/pb1617.pdf it may help. The sodium in my well water in OK was 12.6 ppm.
Good luck on the move.
Frank

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Re: water problem need some expert advice quick

Post  John Quinn on Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:42 am


This focuses on drinking water levels...

http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/dwp/docs/fact/sodium.pdf?ga=t

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Re: water problem need some expert advice quick

Post  Dustin Mann on Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:15 am

Neil. I am sure you could talk to Ivan Waters, curator of Botan. Gardens(847-835-6887) or email him www.chicagobotanic.org to see what they do in regards to water in Glencoe. We have reverse of very hard water in our area(sort of like a subdivision) I have Culligan install water filtration of reverse osmosis for home and greenhouse. Dustin Mann

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Re: water problem need some expert advice quick

Post  bisjoe on Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:32 am

I'm in the municipal water business, and while your new home is way higher than most it's not as high as some others. Here in Seattle it's under 2ppm but we have the luxury of lots of rain and mountain snow runoff. I once lived in a place with municipal well water treated with so much chlorine you couldn't take a bath without getting sick. It was, however, within state and federal standards at the time.

Some plants are mores sensitive than others, I wouldn't try to grow lettuce there. For bonsai, with a fast draining coarse soil like turface they should be OK. Some of the salts will be flushed away by rain, but you will get accumulation over time. If you are repotting every two years, use new soil, don't re-use it. If you do have some trees in a more organic soil you may have to flush with better water several times a year. You will get unsightly white deposits on the pots, too, no way to stop that.

You can buy a faucet-end filter specifically for sodium, about $200.

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Re: water problem need some expert advice quick

Post  NeilDellinger on Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:33 am

Joe,
Can you provide a link to the faucet end sodium filter please? I've looked and found several good 100 gallon per day RO systems with garden hose attachments for about $200.

Who needs to grow lettuce...I have trident maples, junipers and pines.

Very Happy

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Re: water problem need some expert advice quick

Post  63pmp on Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:07 am

Not only do you have to consider sodium, but also its negatively charged counterpart, is it chloride, fluoride or bicarbonate? Generally any sodium level over about 80 ppm is regarded as too high for irrigation and the water requires treatment. Rain water is the simplest solution, but you need space to put in a tank. Reverse osmosis as a treatment is another option, but expensive, perhaps consider ion exchange resins, charged with pottassium rather than sodium, though I have no idea about cost for this. There are commercial mixed bed ion exchange resins which strip out all cations and anions, to very low ppm levels, these would be cheaper than a specially charged resin and would deal with the anion. Treatment always comes back to cost and maintenance time. I would seek out a professional hydroponics/plant nursery consultancy person as they specialize in water quality and can provide cost analysis.

Here are some nerdy chemistry type tips that might help you and others in the meantime. Sodium (Na) reduces calcium (Ca) uptake by plants, so provide plenty of Ca by top dressing with gypsum. Chloride inhibits nitrate uptake, feeding with higher than normal nitrate solutions counteracts chloride toxicity. The sodium exclusion process in roots is inhibited by anoxic conditions. So make sure you have good air filled porosity in your mix. Na/Ca ratio effects pottassium uptake, so give them K as well. This can be achieved by using potassium nitrate as an additional feed. Of course, all this has to be balanced with electrical conductivity, otherwise your solution will simply be too saline for a Japanese maple to survive in.

It is the sodium in the water that is the problem, little sodium accumulates in potting mixes if you water properly. Watering without runoff ( no water out the drainage holes) will accumulate all salts in any water. It is important to water so that there is good runoff no matter how much salt is in the water.

Good luck with it.

Paul

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Re: water problem need some expert advice quick

Post  NeilDellinger on Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:03 pm

Thanks Guys.
Rain barrels & RO seem to be a doable solution. RO systems with a hose adapter that produce 100 gallons per day can be purchased for $200 or less. I think a combination of the two may be the best option, which will provide a back up source in the event something fails.

Maybe I can then experiment with my water on some seedlings for a season.

Life can be so complicated sometimes.


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Re: water problem need some expert advice quick

Post  bisjoe on Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:07 pm

NeilDellinger wrote:Joe,
Can you provide a link to the faucet end sodium filter please? I've looked and found several good 100 gallon per day RO systems with garden hose attachments for about $200.

Who needs to grow lettuce...I have trident maples, junipers and pines.

Very Happy
Maybe switch to mangroves, they tolerate salt water.

http://www.thewaterexchange.net/sodium-water-filters.htm

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