Orange County mud
The title is a weak pun; I live in Orange County NC, and my problem is orange mud. I've got a good well, 125 feet, delivers 25 gpm; had the water analyzed several times, there's about nothing in it--very soft, slightly acid. Had a new pump put in five years ago, soon after I moved into this now-18-year old house. But about six months ago, I started getting discoloration in the water--very noticeable. Before that, there had been no trace of it.
I hired a plumber who installed a Big Blue 10 inch filter. With a 30 micron filter, that helped a lot, but not enough; subsequently I have gone to an ECP1-BB, the 1 micron pleated cellulose filter. Again, a big reduction; but the water, sometimes, is still hazy, and if allowed to stand will deposit a "scum" on the bottom of a glass. When I change filters, the housing contains a lot of orange "mud."
I'm thinking of ordering a 0.5 micron WP.5BB97P String Wound PolyPropylene Filter, hoping that will get rid of the rest of the haze; does anyone have a better idea? I'm afraid I'll get a large pressure drop, and maybe have to frequently change these non-reusable filters. Worse, I suspect it won't work.
The "MUD" you are talking about may very be bacterial iron. Is it real slimely? Sometimes the water smell strongly too.
Most filter cartridges will clogg up quickly on this type of water problem; only a temporary solution. If this is what you have, a sanitiation system may be needed. Sometimes bleaching the well ca help.
That was suggested, early on. I had the county analyze the water for bacteria, iron, etc. and there was nothing whatever in it they could detect. And that bright orange mud that is being caught by the 1 micron filter argues for something more visible than I understand iron bacteria to be. Actually to my surprise, the filter has never plugged up; I change it only in the hope that a new one might stop the faint color and haze from getting through. It doesn't.
One could try a bag filter... they are like the Big Blue filters that are more for whole house filters.
About a month ago there was a well that has sand and silt..
Now in place a lakos for +75micron sand then a Rusco spin down then Big Blue 5 micron 20" and then a Big Blue 20" bag filter with a 1 micron bag and there is no more sand or silt and the water is Very clear.
"Now in place a lakos for +75micron sand then a Rusco spin down then Big Blue 5 micron 20" I don't know what some of those are! Can you clarify (the terms, not the water!)?
Here is a link for the lakos sandmaster.
It is easier to see what it does.
The rusco is the plastic and cheaper of the lakos.
The bag filter..
The normal filters that we use ,,, the water passes through the filter from the out side in, the bag filter the water starts off in the bag and passes out through the filter and into the house.
I don't appear to meet the criterion for the Lakos; my dirt settles out in more like 12 hours than 3-4 minutes--that is, the dirt that's causing me a problem by getting past my 1 micron filter. In fact, this may explain why my (gas) hot water doesn't seem to have the problem; probably it has time to settle out in that large tank.
Despite the orange deposit in the Big Blue filter, I haven't seen it clog up, even when left in use for a couple of months; I just change it that often in the irrational hope that doing so might stop the haze from getting through. (I don't suppose there is any way the water flow can be bypassing this filter media, is there?). Anyway, I ordered the 0.5 micron filter, and will give it a try; after that I may call the folks who installed my pump five years ago, and see what they suggest. I doubt it will be cheap.
One thing that I have used in the past to deal with the really fine silt that some wells around here can have is an old or new 120 gallon pressure tank, the type that has no bladder but rather air and water together,, lay it down on the side and bring the water in at the top and out on the side where the in and out would normally be and then use the lowest point as a blow off of the silt .. now that might work for you, I have no idea....
Old water tank
That, at least in theory, sounds like a great idea; execution could be a problem, as my whole setup is in a 3-foot high crawl space--not room for a 120 gallon tank. But maybe I could connect it up next to the hot water heater...
The one that I helped put into a crawl space was a real trip........ it would fit into the hole, but it could not make the turn.. so we dug a ditch so that it could make the turn....... opps... ditch not deep enough so for awhile the owner was in the crawl space and myself up top .. we got the tank back up some and he dug the ditch a little wider and deeper so that it could make the turn......
The type of tank that we used come in different sizes.. you might be able to find one that would fit in the space with a small pit if necessary and just double or triple the tanks, ... either first in and last out or in series so that each one collects some of the dirt that you are trying to remove.
This sounds like more fun than any elderly homeowner should be allowed to have!
His wife and I asked if we should send down some bedding and food.......... he laughed.....
We did get the tank down in the crawl space...
Now there is another Idea the use of a Polymer for coagulation, flocculation and sludge thickening of the dirt that is in the water.
Say a Chem feed pump using a polymer to get the dirt to get larger so that it drops out of the water ..
This is beginning to sound more like a community water supply than a single family solution. I could find it more cost effective to dig a new well-assuming that would solve the problem. Cross my fingers the 0.5 micron filter works; then I can run it in series with a 1 micron or larger.
No such luck
The 0.5 micron WP.5BB97P String Wound PolyPropylene Filter arrived today--excellent shipping service; I promptly installed it. Made no appreciable difference in the water: Just as before, the hot water comes out clear as a bell, the cold water hazy and slightly yellow. I'm out of easy solutions. BTW, yesterday I ran a gallon out of the bottom of the hot water heater; the first cup or so was very brown, but after that, it was quite clear. I dunno.
Now, I really DO need some help! I called the folks who installed my pump, five years ago. The company owner came out after work, took a look at my filter, looked at my well, tested water from it for iron (1ppm), and confidently said that I have bacteria growing down in the well; that's what's causing the orange deposit, and it will only get worse.
What he says to do is install a device that every morning at 2AM dissolves a pellet of BR2/CL2 in water and drops it into the well, to kill the bacteria; I'd have to refill the pellet releaser every 3 months. The pellets would be $320/year; but the unit itself is $3200!
I probably turned pale; but he says that is what's needed and that if it doesn't work he'll take it out and refund my money. Anybody? Anybody?
Am i correct in assuming it's just a chlorine pellet dropper?
In essence, yes. It's some combination of bromine and chlorine that he finds more effective; but that's what it's doing. It's powered by a 9 volt battery, sits on top of the well.
Update: This morning I talked to some other authorities; they are suggesting something like a Terminox system, where I oxidize the water after it comes out of the well. I'm not sure how this would clear up my water coming into the house, and it leaves the well "full of bacteria," as the pump provider told me yesterday. Wonder what a few gallons of Clorox in the well would do...I'm really at my wits' end; I've got a call in to another well specialist, see what he has to offer. But this group is more reliable, I feel.
Last edited by beach004; 04-07-2011 at 10:37 AM.
I have a plumber who's ready and able to install a chlorinator, if I'll buy the unit. Any recommendations on a unit that drops pellets on a timed interval directly into the well? I'm still not at all ruling out the Clorox shock treatment, but that would likely be only a temporary fix, I gather. Thanks, for the advice here.
A better filter?
This weekend, I'm going to shock chlorinate my well. I have determined that the orange "mud" is entirely made up of ferric oxides--i.e. rust. Whether it comes from iron bacteria (which I'm beginning to doubt, because I see no slime in my toilet tanks, only rust, and no odor), or just soluble iron in the water that is oxidizing on exposure to air, the Clorox should temporarily at least stop it.
But, even when I treat a water sample with chlorine, I'm left with a faint haze in my water, that comes through the 0.5 micron filter above. So even if I install a continuous chlorinator, I'm thinking that haze will remain, though I didn't have it, a year ago. Is there some other cartridge filter that would fit my 10" by 4" filter housing, that would do a better job? Would charcoal, if I go to one of them to remove residual chlorine?
It may be cheaper just to do chlorine injection followed by a carbon unit to remove the chlorine again??? I don't like the sound of bromine in the water. If you go the dropper route I'd just throw a standard pellet dropper in that uses regular ole chlorine pellets and follow it with a dechlor unit to remove it again. Maybe even throwing a backwashing calcite unit in to catch the iron (filter it).