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Water filtering


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So CoCT sent me an angry letter and they are threatening fines and such, so I drastically have to reduce my consumption somehow. 150 liters/person/day is easy enough and we've done that since November last year, and with some effort (mainly carrying lots of buckets between baths and toilets) we can get it down to 100 liters/person/day. But the main trouble is that the washing machine uses a good third of our "allocation". With our present setup, we can get down to 80 liters/person/day if we live like hobos (well not quite, but it's getting quite hard), and rainwater tanks... forget it, there isn't much rain to be had. So I've turned my attention to my well point.

The well point isn't very deep. Maybe 3 meters. But there's at least a kiloliter down there that I normally use to water the garden (which we've also stopped doing). Of course I can use this water directly to flush toilets, but again: roughly 6 liters per fill, and we don't flush the toilet 20 times a day. More like 5.

Which brings me to my question. What kind of dangers are involved in using the well water for the washing of clothes? What would it take to filter it just enough to make it safe? My gut feeling says that I want to at least get any sediment out of it (so as to not discolour anything), and that anything that can be an irritant (heavy metals perhaps?) should probably go too. Ecoli? Would probably depend on the exact count. And then there's the TDS (total dissolved solids) which apparently you want to be below 1000 ppm. Other than that, taste and smell won't matter.

So, my fellow amateur experts, what say you? Can this be done? What would be needed?

Edit: I've already sent some water to a lab to have it tested. It's a fairly expensive test, but apparently you can't do much until you've done the test. Still would like some opinions.

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I think that there is no answer until you get your test results back which normally comes with an analysis, but the following is from www.bluespotwater.co.za

Sand, Sediment, Dirt Sand Vessel Filter / Clino-X Vessel Filter
Iron, Manganese DMI-65 / Clino-X
Heavy Metals Water Softener
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Oops - posted before I had finished...

There is a big difference between Ecoli (human faeces) and Coli-forms (general bacteria). If you have Ecoli then just don't use the water for anything other than watering the garden, Coli-forms can be treated with Jik at a ratio dependent on the level of contamination.

If you are planning to use it for drinking then reverse osmosis purifier at the drinking point goes without saying!

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I'm not planning on using it for drinking water, but even if I do, that's a rather simple problem to solve once you have the water in general good shape. You put it through reverse osmosis and boil it for good measure, or add a UV light :-)

The objective is to get it clean enough for laundering clothes (read, clean enough that the wife will be okay with it, and that I don't have to buy a new washing machine because I damaged it). Lots of info from overseas about using lake water. For that you put it through a 50 micron filter (that takes out sand and big things), and then 5 micron with some activated carbon to deal with some metals, and what you get out is pretty good, except that 5-micron won't take out all the bacteria, but it will likely be good enough at that point (or again, hit it with some UV).

I only need to clean a few hundred liters a day, no more.

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19 hours ago, plonkster said:

100 liters/person/day

Come on Plonkster, I know you can do it.

We are 7 in the house.  Average per day is 0.323 kl = 46l pppd.

You can do it ... but it takes a wee bit of compromise, wifey will moan and complain initially but once the penny drops ... 

But, with little ones in the house, it is an issue for they can be very happy and dirty given half a chance. There are washing machines that use very little water though, and power, but they cost a small fortune.

 

My prediction: We are going to run out of water one of these months.

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Just now, The Terrible Triplett said:

But, with little ones in the house,

Two loads of washing every day. That's the issue.

On a good day (such as Saturday), I'm down to under the 87liter limit. We can get everyone bathed/showered with 80 liters of water, no problem. If I split the day in two (6pm to 7am next morning, and then 7AM to 6pm again), the problem is most definitely in the latter slot.

Yesterday we had to wash some bed sheets. Didn't have a choice, it had to be done. Bang... back to 150l/p/d. *Sob*.

So it looks like we might avoid the fine this month, but the guy renting the flat next door is out of the country... so next month we have trouble again.

For now... my toilets are all flushing with well point water and/or bath water, and I'm growing strong arms carrying the buckets.

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As I said.

12 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

There are washing machines that use very little water though, and power, but they cost a small fortune.

My friend has one, uses WAY less than our 100l per wash and they wash also 2 times a day. And it saves a lot of power too compared to ours.

It is like our dishwasher, +-20 year old Bosch, can use MAX of 5l per wash, but it averages about 2.5l. I measured it with a 5l Sterri Nappi bucket a LONG time ago.

My point, the tech is out there, and the water is not.

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27 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

uses WAY less than our 100l per wash and they wash also 2 times a day

Yup, ours uses around 50 liters a wash. Times two. That's 100 liters, out of the 350 liters we're allowed. That's shower water for another entire family, and 20 toilet flushes.

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This whole thing reminds me of that story of how the old people used oil. The oil would start life in the bakkie. When it came out of there, it went to the tractor. When it was done in the tractor, it went into the Lister engine. And when it came out of the Lister engine, it went into the Windmill's head. Finally you used it to treat wooden poles for fencing :-)

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You can do it Plonkster ... I know you can, for CoCT is coming with a vengeance. :D

I guess that after the fiasco's they have had to deal with ito water wasters, they are probably now coming for the next level users, that is everyone above 87l pppd.

Good luck for the only alternative left is probably the well point or dry cleaners?

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1 minute ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

they are probably now coming for the next level users, that is everyone above 87l pppd.

Not yet. First they are coming for everyone above 20 kiloliter, regardless of household size, so smaller households still have some leeway (that's me). Policing it on a personal level is rather difficult, because you have to know how many people live there (this month). I'm already worried about December. Entire family is coming to visit. All I need is 8 people, and even if they manage to stay below the mandated level, we'll be over 20kl guaranteed.

Hence the urgency.

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Keep us posted how you solved the problem.

People in a house - I wonder if CoCT is looking at the rooms in the house.

We are a duel dwelling property, as in two "registered" kitchens. What a drama to get that approved!!! CoCT wants that, higher density living, but the neighbors fought us all the way.  

So in that regard I assume they look at us as 2 households on the same property.

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O, the other darker side of CoCT water issue.

Allegedly 17 000 jobs are at risk if the farmers do not get the rain required.

No water, no jobs ... now that is getting seriously problematic. And I think that is scratching the surface.

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When I lived on a farm near Slummies, my Dad used to "bleed" a small amount of very used engine oil into the Lister's feed of regular old dirty diesel. Never discarded any oil directly into the environment:), but I'm sure the exhaust of the Lister must have been pretty dirty:o

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I have been using my well water for over 5 years. for garden adn washing  Treat it with 20 and 5 micron , Water softener and UV filter - The UV is installed per machine so Washing machine gets it's own and dishwasher it's own. That way they remain on when only water is supplied.  Softner is mainly for clothes and car washing as the water is quite hard 

For drinking, it is 5 stages RO filter + UV 

Have a look at the new Samsung model - uses 20 % less energy and water! ( cycle time is half of normal) -  https://www.cnet.com/uk/products/samsung-quickdrive-washing-machine/preview/

 

for some clothes you can also use the steam clean mode which uses very little water - https://www.houselogic.com/by-room/bathroom-laundry/steam-washers-dream-come-true-jetsons-style/

 

I mainly got the Samsung steam model for allergy ( and no the allergy never went away turns out it is pollen  ) :) 

water003.jpg

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We use borehole water in JNB.  Had it test, had a couple of Coliform colonies so to be sure use a 5micron sedimet, GAC carbon Block and then finally a RIO2000 ceramic filter- use the water throughout the house-  I prefer mechanical to electric so UV was out what with the need to replace the bulb annually etc.

The biggest issue with ground water for washing is staining from metals etc.  may need to filter for that.

 

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12 hours ago, SilverNodashi said:

how bad would the sea water be for washing clothes? I know it's a long drive to the closest beach, but maybe it could help?

I could ask the nearest sailor, but I'm sure it's a bad idea :-)

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I also received a nasty letter from CoCT a month ago for my wife's dental practise (Trading from Residentially zone property). 

2 Weeks ago I linked the toilet (8lt) of the dental practise (3 staff) and the toilet (13lt) from accounting firm (5 staff) next door up to a wellpoint.  I put a water meter in because I like stats.  Got a fright of my life after the first week.  On average 250lt being used per day just to flush the 2 toilets!  Saving 5kl per month!  

 

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I'll check again today, because you cannot be sure after just one day, but we might have found the culprit. Yesterday we finally clocked a 290 liter day which is a nice big chunk under the limit. The trick (and I hope it holds up again today), is in the push of a button (or the not-pushing of it). On the washing machine there is this button labeled "Extra rinse". It turns out that doesn't spend extra time on the rinsing... no... it adds an extra rinse. Obvious in hindsight? You bet!

Why did we start using it? Because the water is somewhat soft and sometimes the washing comes out a little soapy. We figured there are other ways to deal with that issue.

I'll report back if the low number repeats today.

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We've done it, without filtering any water (though I will probably do that anyway). We're down to around 330 liter per day for the family, which is below the 87 liter level. We still shower every day, we still do the laundry. The trick was this little button to the right.... don't use it!

 

bosch.jpg

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