-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Thursday, February 26, 2009

to chlorinate or not to chlorinate...

When I researched Ozzikleen online to see what others had said about it, I didn't come across much. But there was one mention that gave me cause for alarm, in a 2006 forum posting:

From Aussies Living Simply forum (scroll down to about 2/3rds way down)

What a horrendous mistake we made back 3 years ago when we were so new to this game. We were told that we could no longer allow our grey water to run off under the house as it was. We were running a septic tank for our toilet system. Because we were townies and had absolutely no idea about anything to do with owning a rural property we were crapping our daks about the council and felt pressured to do what they told us to do. With a million and one other things that had to be done including building a retaining wall to stop the house from falling off the face of the earth before we could purchase the property we were lured into purchasing a biocycle system (OzziKleen). Now that I have had a chance to do heaps more research I would certainly have gone with another system.

As Frosty points out, it is very expensive (cost us $15,000 with plumbing inc). Worse than that though, because we use such little water there is a really strong chlorine smell that eminates from it when it flushes itself out, which is quite regularly and there is an ongoing cost forever of $60 ( currently) every 3 months to service it. Grrrrrrrrrrrr. I am not saying that it is an inferior product at all, just not what I now would have chosen.

The discussion continued with many pointing out the problems of the chlorine smell with these systems - but then others saying that you didn't always have to add chlorine; that it depended on your council/how it was being used. So I asked Dad to follow up with the local plumber to find out the situation for us.

Dad replied that Malcolm said there was no need to have chlorine if the water from the system went to pipes under compost. The law requires chlorine if it comes to be above the ground before absorption into the earth. He advises not to have chlorine because there is no advantage. The chlorine is not set at a level that will render the water to drinking water standard, or bathing standard either. But it cannot be stored for long unless it has chlorine. Hence if you wish to pump the water from the system into the cistern of your toilets you must chlorinate it. If not, don't chlorinate it.

(And in any case, we aren't allowed to store it even if chlorinated at the moment, so the whole point is moot).

We will definitely be looking to go with a non-chlorinated approach - besides being more environmentally friendly, it will be cheaper and less risk of smell.

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