Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine

Hill_CountryHill_Country Solar Expert Posts: 92 ✭✭
We are in the planning stages of a rainwater collection system. We will have two 5,000 gallon above-ground polyethylene tanks (black) for a total storage capacity of about 10,000 gallons to store rainwater for household use. The water from these two poly tanks will be piped into our house but will not be considered "potable", for obvious reasons. However, we will be using this stored rainwater for showers, sink, and laundry. Any water that will touch food, or is for drinking, will come from a gravity fed filter in the kitchen (a Big Berkey gravity fed water filter). To this end, we would like to treat the water in the poly tanks and have been researching Hydrogen Peroxide as a healther alternative to Chlorine.

Does anyone have any experience or advice for using Hydrogen Peroxide (35% Food Grade) in rainwater storage tanks?

The closest Hydrogen Peroxide dosage recommendation I could find is about 1 to 2 cups of 35% (food grade) Hydrogen Peroxide per 1,200 gallons of water. This will help minimize algae buildup, among other things. We would like to avoid Chlorine (or bleach) for the sole reason of the potential health side effects of chlorine.
100% Off-grid with: 8 Solarworld 275 Watt Panels, 8 Concorde SunXtender 405aH 6v AGM Batteries, MS-4448PAE 48v Inverter, MidNite Solar Classic 200 Charge Controller, 10,000 gallon rainwater collection system, etc.

Comments

  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine

    Something you have probably already thought about - - - chlorine has been used to protect water supplies for probably billions of people for generations, and except for what conspiracy theorists and fear mongers promote, there have been little or no documented adverse health effects when properly used. The average lifespan of humans in the developed world is, for better or worse, getting longer and longer.
    We just don't have the same experience to draw on with ingesting hydrogen peroxide. The competition between the two chemicals could well turn out to be a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.
    Speaking of black - - you mentioned your tan being black. that's great for blocking out light, but if exposed to sun can turn it into a solar water heater, thus it would seem important to protect it from the sun, or painting the outside white etc.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,126 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine

    I have used it. I prefer to use chlorine because of cost and our history with it. I have used pool grade hydrogen peroxide to quickly shock a tank used for irrigation. The main benefit is you can use the tank untreated with chlorine for growing plants. After the tank is empty you can shock it with Hydrogen Peroxide and in a couple hours the contents of the tank will go inert and you could drink it, or use it again for irrigation. I am sure you can find info for treating on the internet. I would also question its use as a treatment because it does not last as long as chlorine. Chlorine is just too easy, safe, and easy to remove with a filter for drinking. We have used chlorine in our rainwater since 1992. Good Luck!
    We are in the planning stages of a rainwater collection system. We will have two 5,000 gallon above-ground polyethylene tanks (black) for a total storage capacity of about 10,000 gallons to store rainwater for household use. The water from these two poly tanks will be piped into our house but will not be considered "potable", for obvious reasons. However, we will be using this stored rainwater for showers, sink, and laundry. Any water that will touch food, or is for drinking, will come from a gravity fed filter in the kitchen (a Big Berkey gravity fed water filter). To this end, we would like to treat the water in the poly tanks and have been researching Hydrogen Peroxide as a healther alternative to Chlorine.

    Does anyone have any experience or advice for using Hydrogen Peroxide (35% Food Grade) in rainwater storage tanks?

    The closest Hydrogen Peroxide dosage recommendation I could find is about 1 to 2 cups of 35% (food grade) Hydrogen Peroxide per 1,200 gallons of water. This will help minimize algae buildup, among other things. We would like to avoid Chlorine (or bleach) for the sole reason of the potential health side effects of chlorine.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,013 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine

    Nooooo

    H2O2 is not stable enough to rely on. you would need to produce it yourself, in order to have enough. Sealed bottles in storage are less stable than bleach, and you have no way of easily measureing what concentrate you are mixing into tanks.

    I am using an ozone bubbler, under 60 watts, as long as I have a spare light, ballast and air pump, I'm fine for a year.

    And there is no history/data for what H2O2 will kill/disable, a little organic stuff in the water, and it's gone, no easy way to test to see if you need to add more.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,114 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine

    Mike, what are the wearable parts? Just the lamp? Cost?
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,013 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine
    westbranch wrote: »
    Mike, what are the wearable parts? Just the lamp? Cost?
    spare light, ballast and air pump
    You can get "factory" parts (all 3) for about $350 Some shopping and I found a deepwater aquarium air pump (with replaceable diaphragms) for half the cost of the factory disposable pump. Same with all the other parts. A lightning surge can take out the magnetic ballast, but a 20W fluorescent lamp is a lamp, so an electronic ballast should be fine, at 10% of the "factory" one.

    The lamps are supposed to be replaced yearly, but I keep mine going till the ozone smell starts to fade from the tank. Ozone has no "persistence" so the minute the water leaves the tank, it's pure, but vulnerable. I pipe about 2,000' to my house, and have fine water, everyone loves it. Just pond water, run through a slow sand filter (my primary filter) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slow_sand_filter
    The ozonater is just to keep a 1500 gal tank of water from turning to "pudding" if a mouse falls in.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,114 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine

    Thanks Mike, sure a lot more economical than a UV filter... at about double or more...
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,013 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine

    UV Light Sterilizer filters need lots of contact time with the water, and you can't use a demand switch on them because the tube needs a 3 minute warm up when it's been chilled to 50F by the water. And any sediment collecting on the quartz tube will quickly reduce the transmission of the UV.

    I'm waiting for the LED version to come out, but they are all "safe" UV, and not "hard" enough to do bacteria yet. So I rely on the slow sand and ozone.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • peakbaggerpeakbagger Solar Expert Posts: 341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine

    One of posters touched on it, but its important to note that chlorine has residual action while most of other treatment methods do not. That's why many utilities use alternative methods, like slow sand, chlorine dioxide or ozone to do the preliminary treatment and then dose chlorine so that the water in the downstream pipes have some backup treatment capability.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,126 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine
    peakbagger wrote: »
    One of posters touched on it, but its important to note that chlorine has residual action while most of other treatment methods do not. That's why many utilities use alternative methods, like slow sand, chlorine dioxide or ozone to do the preliminary treatment and then dose chlorine so that the water in the downstream pipes have some backup treatment capability.

    And the last thought I have is that once the OP has tested the water and knows that the collection (roof) is not contaminating the rain, he will reap the benefits of not having all the contamination sources someone with surface or well water has. My grandfather use to tell me that there are only a few ways to goof up rainwater. I know he only added chlorine when the night temperature was over 60 degrees. He worked up at the Argonaut and Kennedy gold mines up in Jackson, Amador county CA. He lived until 97 and so it never hurt him.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • peakbaggerpeakbagger Solar Expert Posts: 341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine

    The dirty secret that water utilities need residual chlorine for is that on occasion folks will cross contaminate the water lines and the residual chlorine will sometimes deal with it. All it takes is a garden hose in a kiddie pool and high draw like a fire down the road and contaminated water is now in the main water line. A homeowner with his own water system is hopefully more careful but I have seen homeowner installed piping that lacks adequate backflow prevention.
  • Hill_CountryHill_Country Solar Expert Posts: 92 ✭✭
    Re: Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine

    Thank you all for your insight and input!

    It looks like the consensus is to use Chlorine for treatment, as necessary. I will be testing the water quality to see what we're up against once we build our system. We were hoping to use Hydrogen Peroxide, but it looks like Chlorine is the way to go and is a proven treatment.
    100% Off-grid with: 8 Solarworld 275 Watt Panels, 8 Concorde SunXtender 405aH 6v AGM Batteries, MS-4448PAE 48v Inverter, MidNite Solar Classic 200 Charge Controller, 10,000 gallon rainwater collection system, etc.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,013 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine

    Here's another thought: Calcium Hypochlorite
    http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/how-to-use-pool-shock-to-purify-water/

    Just to sterilize a batch or well or spring one time, then follow up with normal stuff
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • ramlouiramloui Solar Expert Posts: 103 ✭✭
    Re: Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine

    Household grade bleach is 6% sodium hypochlorite. Commercial grade is 12%. The reason it is so widely used is cost and stability during storage. The disadvantage of using it in water disinfection is that, depending on the pollutant, it can create chlorinated compounds. That should not be an issue in a household system. The other disadvantage is that, as a lot of people have experienced, if there is too much residual hypochlorite after treatment, the water will have a bad taste.

    Apart for being much more expensive than bleach, hydrogen peroxide degrades relatively quickly. However, that is also its biggest advantage over chlorine: the degradation product of peroxide is... water!!! No bad chlorine taste to consider or unwanted by-products. But because it degrades quickly, you are kind of in the dark when it comes to finding the right dosage to achieve the quality of disinfection you need unless you have access to an ORP probe. On the other hand, there is no real harm in overdosing it (other than making it even more expensive than bleach...) if it has a chance to stand still for a while after treatment.

    UV is often coupled with ozone (generated in situ) or hydrogen peroxide because that type of radiation "excites" the chemical bonds in the compounds you are trying to destroy making them more easily broken by the hydroxyl radical.

    On chlorine dioxide (or just plain chlorine gas), you want to stay away from this as it is highly toxic and not easily handled or dosed.

    Hope this helps.
    Off-grid cabin in northern Quebec: 6 x 250 W Conergy panels, FM80, 4 x 6V CR430 in series (24V nominal), Magnum MS4024-PAE
  • Hill_CountryHill_Country Solar Expert Posts: 92 ✭✭
    Re: Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine

    Ramloul, in your post you say, "...The disadvantage of using it [chlorine] in water disinfection is that, depending on the pollutant, it can create chlorinated compounds. That should not be an issue in a household system." Do you know what those pollutants are that 'should' not be an issue for a household system?

    We are still trying to figure out the Chlorine vs. Hydrogen Peroxide thing. Right now, we're testing with Hydrogen Peroxide (Food Grade, 35%) on a 305 gallon polyethylene rain water storage tank that we already have full of rain water that is attached to a small shed. We let it get somewhat funky and just dosed it with Hydrogen Peroxide to see if it works.
    100% Off-grid with: 8 Solarworld 275 Watt Panels, 8 Concorde SunXtender 405aH 6v AGM Batteries, MS-4448PAE 48v Inverter, MidNite Solar Classic 200 Charge Controller, 10,000 gallon rainwater collection system, etc.
  • ramlouiramloui Solar Expert Posts: 103 ✭✭
    Re: Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine

    Stuff like phenols or other short carbon chains first get "chlorinated", that is a chlorine atom attaches itself to the molecule to produce chloro-phenol for instance. In such circumstances, only if chlorine is overdosed (maintained in excess) do you eventually destroy the molecule to a smaller, more inocuous substance.

    Like I mentioned, those compounds are not usually found in water sources for (eventual) human consumption. However, if you let the water get somewhat funky, who knows what the bacteria will produce.

    The problem with hydrogen peroxide is that you will not know for sure if you used enough because it does not smell anything. You would need an ORP probe (cheap instruments are about 100-150$). With chlorine, the smell tells you that you have used enough and that some remains in excess so that it does not funk over again until the water is used.

    The other side of this concerns what happens to the water after it is "used". If you have a septic system, you want to be very careful how you use any disinfectant because any large excess of any oxidizer (peroxide, chlorine, or whatever) may kill all the bugs in your septic tank.

    Sooooooo, use enough to make the water safe but not too much to affect any downstream equipment. Clear as mud?
    Off-grid cabin in northern Quebec: 6 x 250 W Conergy panels, FM80, 4 x 6V CR430 in series (24V nominal), Magnum MS4024-PAE
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine

    You can look at the EPA page on chloramines to see what happens deliberately in some municipal systems.
    The two links for Stage 1 and Stage 2 DBP (Disinfection By-Products) give you a better idea of what can happen as a side effect when you chlorinate water.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine

    Another thought on Hydrogen Peroxide consumption by humans. This one from China.
    http://edition.cnn.com/2014/08/26/world/asia/china-chicken-feet-scandal/index.html?hpt=hp_c4
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine

    that's interesting that they found some chickens feet up to 46yrs old. how do they know this? carbon dating? nobody apparently noticed anything out of the ordinary from the consumer end of things. makes me wonder and be thankful i don't eat chicken feet.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Hydrogen Peroxide as an alternative to Chlorine
    niel wrote: »
    that's interesting that they found some chickens feet up to 46yrs old. how do they know this? carbon dating? nobody apparently noticed anything out of the ordinary from the consumer end of things. makes me wonder and be thankful i don't eat chicken feet.
    I know we've gone slightly off topic, but my cousin who spent time in China, said this about eating chicken feet there:
    "I must say....when I was in China people were eating chicken feet (and spitting the bones on the ground) everywhere. It looked really disgusting."
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