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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

PLEASE NOTE: A download link for Volume 1 will be sent to you by email and Volume 2 will be sent to you by post as a book.

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    It's a bit ironic to ask this on the Green building forum :) Anyway, a plumber has replaced a 1 m segment of a leaky water pipe, and when I inspected the pipe about to be trashed, it was entirely covered with green crystals (I presume it's CuCl2) on the inside. I took a bottle brush, and it was very easy to remove; the bursh turned green instantly, and got rinsed with water in no time. So the stuff seems pretty easy to dislodge. This seemed odd, so I looked up the toxicity levels of copper. It appeared that 1-5 mg in 1 liter is enough to cause nausea in adults. 5 mg is just few grains of salt. Is this normal for copper pipes to have that much CuCl2 salt built up? I can replace these pipes and test for copper in the water, but pipes upstream will still be copper, I presume.

    We had green stuff in our hot water, due to the water being a bit acidic and dissolving some copper. This can be detected with pH indicator paper (garden centre). Neighbours reported their cylinder had corroded through. We are all on well water from granite beds.

    Copper complexes with soap to give blue green deposits. Many copper compounds are blue or green, my guess is they are copper carbonates.

    We fitted a pH correction unit (a tank full of limestone chips) which solved it.
    thank you for the reply, Will. What about plastic pipes?

    Usually, distilled water is acidic (ph 5.5-6), perhaps, due to CO2 dissolution, never >7. Obviously, the water from the tap is not distilled. At any rate, it apperas worrysome that copper is used everywhere, and yet it's up the the customer to figure out iftheir water is acidic enough to disoldge copper and become toxic. Plus, one never knows whether pH in year N will stay as neutral in year N+1, as water companies replace machinery etc and things can fall through cracks. Seems more problematic than, say, asbestos in insulation which is only disoldged during demolution, and yet asbestos is banned.
    • CommentTimeJul 29th 2018
    Posted By: runcyclexcskidistilled water is acidic

    No it isn't, it's neutral. Distilled water is pure. What were you actually trying to say?
    • CommentTimeJul 29th 2018
    Posted By: runcyclexcskiSeems more problematic than, say, asbestos in insulation which is only disoldged during demolution, and yet asbestos is banned.

    Err, the effect of asbestos is to give you cancer and then you die. Exactly how is water worse?
    As it happens, the pipe running 300m from the well to the house turned out to be made of asbestos cement. We discovered that a short length of alkathene had been connected on with a brass coupler, we could see the alkathene rising in the house an had assumed it ran the whole way from the well. The naturally acidic water corroded through the coupler, until the damp patch in the garden could no longer be ignored.

    Runcycleski, the council enviro health people will probably come and test your water for a fee if you are concerned. We took their advice that asbestos pipe is harmless while it stays wet, so replaced the coupler with a galv steel one. They tested for dissolved metals as well as for bugs and pH.
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