Biosand filter question

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Biosand filter question

Post by zombieapocalypsegame » Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:35 pm

Hey all

I've built a biosand filter for use at home, and I'm having some difficulty with it. Looking for folks more knowledgeable than I am on this .

See viewtopic.php?f=39&t=77480&start=264#p2582432 for a quick overview of what I'm doing.

I have the filter built & it works from a flow standpoint. Not too fast, not too slow. But, I am not getting the biofilm layer to grow in it. That's the problem I am encountering.

How can I jump-start the growth of the biological layer I need in there? Right now, I'm getting a good physical / mechanical filtration, but it doesn't seem to be harboring any film of any kind on the top of the sand layer.

Here's a view of the top of the filter with the lid off

Image

And here it is with water in it. Very brown from washing firearm brass in a cement mixer. But it's been through the biosand filter a few times, and is particulate-free. It looks like iced tea - very clear, but brown with nothing appearing to float in the water.

Image

Other than keep the valve closed on the bucket, what do I need to do to promote bio growth in the sand? I've used the filter for weeks, letting it sit for protracted periods of time, but nothing is growing.
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Re: Biosand filter question

Post by Confucius » Sat Jun 13, 2015 10:58 pm

I'd start by not running water from tumbling brass through it. Copper alloys tend to be a fairly good biocide and quite excellent at preventing the formation of biofilms.

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Re: Biosand filter question

Post by shrapnel » Sat Jun 13, 2015 11:12 pm

Got any links to the docs you mentioned in your other post?
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Re: Biosand filter question

Post by zombieapocalypsegame » Sun Jun 14, 2015 3:03 pm

@shrapnel
There was a study done Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology in June 2011 by Lesly J. Mamani Paco in Peru. They have the PDF of the results, but it is behind a free registration wall. Start here: http://biosandfilters.info/technical/fa ... and-filter or here http://biosandfilters.info/technical/he ... emoval-bsf and you can find the study after creating an account.

@Confucius
I didn't start with the dirty brass water. I started with rain water from the roof. I've probably put 200+ gallons of that through the filter already, prior to trying the brass water.
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Re: Biosand filter question

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Sun Jun 14, 2015 3:08 pm

What's the roof made of? Have you been checking the pH of the water when it comes off the roof?
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Re: Biosand filter question

Post by zombieapocalypsegame » Sun Jun 14, 2015 5:49 pm

Typical asphalt style shingles. They are orange-ish brown in color. When I empty the 33-gallon trash cans I use to catch the water, they have "sand" at the bottom that looks like the grit from the shingles. Have not checked pH at start.
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Biosand filter question

Post by zombieapocalypsegame » Sun Jun 14, 2015 6:06 pm

pH results as follows

Total Hardness
0 ppm

Free Chlorine
0 ppm

pH
6.8 to 7.2

Total Alkalinity
0 ppm

Cyanuric acid
0 ppm
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Re: Biosand filter question

Post by procyon » Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:38 pm

zombieapocalypsegame wrote:Typical asphalt style shingles
Check the sulfur levels. Some shingles bleed a lot of it for years.
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Re: Biosand filter question

Post by JayceSlayn » Sun Jun 14, 2015 11:05 pm

zombieapocalypsegame wrote: @Confucius
I didn't start with the dirty brass water. I started with rain water from the roof. I've probably put 200+ gallons of that through the filter already, prior to trying the brass water.
I would echo the trying to eliminate as much as possible of any copper (or any other heavy metals) contamination in the water you're using. For one, the mechanical filtration may not be greatly effective on those substances, but also lead and copper are both well-known biocides.

While the exact species are random/unknown, generally you'd probably do alright to fetch a starter batch of some scummy pond water, and introduce that to your filter to see if it can take hold.
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Re: Biosand filter question

Post by zombieapocalypsegame » Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:24 pm

I have visited the local lake, and snagged about 2 gallons of water from there. It's rain run-off, too of course but at least it's been in direct contact with soil for a while. And it's undoubtedly mixed with plenty of other water sources given the deluges we have been experiencing here in central Texas recently.

I've put that into the filter along with the water that was already in it. I'm letting it sit for 2-3 weeks to see if it'll grow.
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