Can I Buy Activated Charcoal in Bulk? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I posted this question at the end of the recent water filter thread, but that thread may be about played out.

Can I buy activated charcoal in bulk for water treatment? Do laboratories use this stuff? Water treatment plants? Is it expensive in bulk?

Can I use real wood charcoal (not briquettes) to filter chemicals from water?

-- Puddintame (, March 19, 1999


Yes you can use real wood charcoal to filter water. My folks did this when I was growing up, for we had only a cistern and caught rain water. My dad would save charcoal from the wood stove and use it in the filter system that carried the rain water from the roof to the cistern. I don't remember the order, but there was a heavy screen on top of which was gravel, sand and charcoal in layers.

We have been making charcoal this winter to use in our water system. We are having two 500 gallon concrete tanks buried underground. We will run the downspout into a pipe that empties into the tanks, after it goes through the filter system.

This is how we make charcoal. We take large live coals from our wood stove and cover them with ashes in the ash bucket and set them outside. They cool slowly and you have nice charcoal. If they aren't covered with ashes they will burn up, just making more ashes. We also burned some junk trees to make room for a workshop. When the brush piled cooled we saved the charcoal to use in the storage tanks. For the house we also have a British Berkefeld Filter which we are using now.

-- gilda jessie (, March 19, 1999.

Try tropical fish stores.

-- bardou (, March 19, 1999.

Try a web search. There are about 5 companies that sell this. You may have luck with them. I would rather go this route than try to make my own. Go to far and you get lye water (think old time soap making) Mike

-- Mike (, March 19, 1999.

Just this year I have saved woodstove ashes and filtered them through a 1/2inch mesh hardware cloth to separate the bibber pieces of charcoal.

As an experiment, I put some charcoal in a colander and washed it at the litchen sink. The ash washed off easily and left nice clean charcoal--pure carbon.

I then ground up the charcoal with a piece of 2x4 on a piece of plywood. It was very easy to pulverize it.

I then lined a wide mouth canning funnel with two coffee filters and filled it with the charcoal. I put the funnel over a quart canning jar. Through the filter I poured a couple of gallons of rather bad tasting water.

To my delight, the filtered water was incredibly good tasting. The bad flavor was completely gone. I was amazed. I intend to try this with chlorinated water to see if it removes the chlorine but I'm pretty sure already that it will.

That charcoal is awesome. I'm also going to use it to cook with the dutch oven this summer.

Waste not want not.

Skeeter Simpson

-- Skeeter (, March 19, 1999.

Call your local water agency, if they use it as part of their water treatment process they can tell you wherer they get theirs.

-- Hey Culligan Man! (, March 20, 1999.

Skeeter, we too washed our charcoal before we stored it. But we left it in big chunks since our screened filter system will be fairly large. There was a lot of small stuff we saved too, for a second layer.

You can buy it, but I found it rather expensive, and since we have to empty the stove anyway, why not use it. Ashes are no problem as they rinse off quite easily.

-- gilda jessie (, March 20, 1999.

Activated charcoal can be made from regular charcoal with just one more step. I still have not gotten any good information on how this might be easily accomplished but it takes a temperature of 1000 degrees in a "controlled atmosphere". I assume that is to eliminate oxygen from simply vaporizing the charcoal that is undergoing conversion.

My thought was that the charcoal to be activated could be put in a large pipe, capped at both ends with a breather hole for pressure. This container should then be heated but here is where I have come up short. Can a forge type setup reach 1000 degrees? I know propane torches can but that's a lot of propane and not very good overall coverage of the pipe. Likely not cost effective.

Someone please tell how to produce a cheap, 1000 degree fire that would cook the above mentioned pipe for a short duration.

Again, as another person mentioned, running water through charcoal for the first time turns the water into potash. I believe that's the equivalent to lye? I don't think you should be using new unwashed charcoal in any filter.

As for rinse water, it is possible to keep a supply of water that can be used over and over, just by FLOCKING it and periodically replacing a very small portion that has been lost. Such an entire 55 gal. drum could be flocked with just a tablespoon of flock. A normal sized can, obtained from pool supply houses, would last a very long time.

If water has been contaminated with the like of DE rinsed from wheat prior to use or perhaps even from washing your hands, you can settle the particles out and syphon the clear water (better than 95%) into another container for continued use.

Alternatively, one more time, general purpose water can be cleaned by wicking action and syphoning it downward through a towel placed with one end in the water to be cleaned and the other end hanging down on the outside. The particles hang up in the towel and the clear water drips into a receiving container.


-- Floyd Baker (, March 20, 1999.

Floyd, you seem to be pretty knowledgeable about H2O. Could you talk more about flocking as I have never even heard that term. Also, do you know where one can buy bulk activated charcoal safe for use in filtration of drinking water.

-- Puddintame (, March 21, 1999.

Activated Carbon By KRJX International Trading Co - "Sells activated carbon, in bulk, to the world" for municipal water and process water

Web site is sketchy, but has phone numbers and email for contact.

-- Debbie (, March 23, 1999.

Those guys mean really in bulk: "Orders are Accepted and Priced in Full Container Loads only...Letter of Credit Required on new accounts"

-- Shimrod (, March 24, 1999.

Shimrod, I found a Durham, NC, dealer for Calgon Carbon products. The dealer is Worth Co. at 919-596-1386. They have a minimum order of $300. Their granular activated charcoal is $2.49 per pound. It must be ordered. I don't want 100 lbs of this stuff. I really don't know how much I want. Post back on this thread if anyone is interested in following up on this.

-- Puddintame (, March 24, 1999.

Puddintame, I'll take 50 lbs of the stuff if you can find buyers for the portion you don't want, let me know and perhaps we can make a miniumum order.

-- (, March 25, 1999.

Orwelliator, think about this too. I followed one poster's suggestion and called the local aquarium shop. They sell a half gallon of activated carbon for $15. (Don't know how much that is on a weight basis . . . I bet not much wieght to a half gallon.) Do you know anything about making water filters? Also, do you live anywhere near Raleigh?

-- Puddintame (, March 25, 1999.


I was reading some old postings on activated charcoal and came across you request for a cheap 1000 degree heating method. If you have a gas stove you could probably use a pressure cooker without the "jiggler" on top. I would just cover the bottom of the cooker with the charcoal for a test run, and turn it loose on high. I do not know if a conventional stove will achieve the desired temp, but I bet it will. You also said something about a "controlled atmosphere." The research I have done says that the charcoal has to be blasted with oxygen during heating to achieve the desired effect. Let me know if this is true and how the experiment comes out if you try it.

-- Ifidoedit (, December 31, 2002.

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