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Chlorine smell from clay water ?


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#1 Rockhopper

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 04:28 PM

I've been experimenting with some locally dug clay (Southwest Ohio). The clay is dark gray, with a LOT of quartz sand in it, and fires to a light buff with dark specks at ^6.

In processing the clay to remove sand & gravel - and in throwing it - I've noticed that there is a distinct chlorine smell released from the water used.

I'm using regular city tap water, which I know has chlorine in it - but when I mix my clay into the water, it releases a very strong chlorine smell - like an over-chlorinated swimming pool. I first noticed it when liquifying the clay to extract excess sand. Today, I was throwing some of this clay and noticed the same smell coming from my throwing water. (I was throwing at a different location, with a different municipal water source.) I've never noticed this with the commercially prepared clay bodies I've used.

Would love to hear ideas as-to what might be in the clay that is triggering the release of chlorine from the water.

(Don't know if it's related, but there is also a dark, oily substance embedded in the clay - that swirls to the surface when I use a drywall 'mud' mixer to blend it to a slip consistency for straining out sand & gravel.)


#2 bciskepottery

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 09:21 PM

Can you describe the area where you are digging the clay? I suspect you might be getting more than just clay from the source . . . water treatment plant nearby? landfill? flood plain, run-off from industrial park, illegal dumping, etc. You might be able to check with the local farm bureau, forester, or geologist; they could tell you if there is anything suspect in the area that might be causing the problem.

#3 Pres

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:15 AM

Can you describe the area where you are digging the clay? I suspect you might be getting more than just clay from the source . . . water treatment plant nearby? landfill? flood plain, run-off from industrial park, illegal dumping, etc. You might be able to check with the local farm bureau, forester, or geologist; they could tell you if there is anything suspect in the area that might be causing the problem.


It might be a good idea to send a sample out to be tested-just to be on the safe side. You never know what it out there if the deposit is anywhere near a road or old mine site. Too many materials can be absorbed in to the body from the skin.

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#4 Rockhopper

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 09:58 PM

Can you describe the area where you are digging the clay? I suspect you might be getting more than just clay from the source . . . water treatment plant nearby? landfill? flood plain, run-off from industrial park, illegal dumping, etc. You might be able to check with the local farm bureau, forester, or geologist; they could tell you if there is anything suspect in the area that might be causing the problem.


(Hmm... I thought the forums were set up to send me an email notice of replies... maybe I've got something set up wrong - but I haven't had a chance to re-visit since posting, and didn't know anyone had responded.)

I'm digging in a creek-bed, at bottom of a fairly steep hill. Area is residential. Was all farm-land until late 1950's, then gradually developed into residential - but still mostly wooded immediately adjacent to stream. Theere has always been some clay visible along the creek - but this particular deposit has been recently exposed by bank erosion from the stream. As far as I know, there has never been any industrial activity or landfill adjacent to or upstream from the site - and the bank where I'm digging is where my parents have lived since 1957, in a house that was built in the early 1920's.


#5 Rockhopper

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 10:07 PM

It might be a good idea to send a sample out to be tested-just to be on the safe side. You never know what it out there if the deposit is anywhere near a road or old mine site. Too many materials can be absorbed in to the body from the skin.


Any recommendations where to send for (free) testing ? I've considered picking up one of those DIY lead test kits from a hardware store, but wouldn't know what to test for other than that.

#6 bciskepottery

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 11:06 PM

Most testing labs will charge . . . but, see if there is a soil and conservation office in your area; they might have a field test kit for use, or do it for you. That would give you an idea of what you are looking for and then could send it to a lab for formal analysis. Landscapers test for PH balance . . . that might be a possiblity.

#7 Diane Puckett

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 07:05 AM

I would check with a state conservation agency that looks at water quality. Since the stream is at the bottom of a hill in a residential area, the soil may be permeated with runoff from lawn chemicals. Until you know what it is, you might want to keep your hands out of it.
Diane Puckett
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