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Thread: Big Iron problem

  1. #1
    pacman59 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Big Iron problem

    I'm on a private well and I had an irrigation system installed 2 years ago that, due to the water pressure needed does not run through my softener. I've got an orange driveway and sidewalks, which is a real pain to clean up. Some people suggested an injector system for the irrigation system to "kill" the iron, but others have suggested an iron filter due to the amount I have.

    To give you the statistics, my well pump flow rate is 7.5 gallons (I'm not sure of the recovery time though) and comes into the house in a 1" pipe. My irrigation system runs for approximately 2.5 hours 6 days a week at approx. 18gpm and at the same time, we're (3 of us) taking showers, running the dishwasher, etc. so I figure I probably have a usage rate of around 22-24gpm.

    My water was tested by the state I live in (Michigan, the south eastern portion) and one of the national water purification companies. They suggested a second whole house softener in line with the first one - which I can't see how I could get the necessary flow rate.

    My water tests came back as follows -

    Chloride - 333 mg/l
    Fluoride - N/D
    Hardness as CaCO3 - 33 gpg (national franchise)/498 mg/l (state)
    Iron (clear) - 7.7 ppm (national franchise)/5.9 mg/l (state)
    Nitrate/Nitrite - N/D
    Sodium - 159 mg/l
    Sulfate - 36 mg/l
    TDS - 710
    Ph - 7.7
    odor - <.2
    Sand/sediment - N/D

    My current softener is a Fleck 9100 using potassium and it can't keep up with the iron as I do get staining every couple of weeks in the toilets, sinks, tubs, etc.

    I've had Birm filters, Terminox and Catalox filters recommended. Can someone please help??????

  2. #2
    Gary Slusser is offline Banned
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    You need to know the actual gpm the irrigation uses. Number of zones, and heads and gpm of the heads.

    The flow rate of the pump can not be 7.5 gpm when you then say the irrigation runs at about 18 gpm; plus the house with 3 people on top of that.

    Where do you live and where would this 'iron filter' be installed and do you have any space restrictions?

    Air injection or air pumps are not going to remove 7.7 ppm of iron at your flow rates.

  3. #3
    pacman59 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Answers

    Gary,

    The rate I showed for my well wasn't the complete information - all I had was how many gallons it took before the well turned on after it had completely cycled (7.5 gallons). This weekend I timed how long the pump ran for after it started and the faucet was shut off, and it was 30 seconds. I'm presuming that means that I have a well pump that puts out 15 gallons per minute.

    As far as the irrigation system, I've got 8 zones with up to 12 mist heads or 4 rotary heads per zone. I'm not sure which nozzles the irrigation company put in them, but I'm guessing I'm using all of my 15 gpm flow rate from the well while the irrigation system is going.

    I live in Southeast Michigan and the iron filter would be in my basement where the well comes into the house. There are some size restrictions just due to the layout, and the fact that I've already got a Fleck 9100 twin tank sitting there and had never planned on having to put this in also.

    Anything else you need to know?

    Thanks for your help,

    Paul
    Last edited by pacman59; 05-27-2008 at 05:57 AM.

  4. #4
    Gary Slusser is offline Banned
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    The well doesn't turn on, the pump does. You measured the draw down gallons of the pressure tank. The 30 seconds is way too low for the pump you have. The motor manufacturer wants a minimum of 60 seconds off between pump starts for motors up to 1.5 hp. Frequently starts shortens motor life substantially.

    Like I said, you need to know the max gpm of each of the zones and then add up all those that run at the same time. That will be the gpm the filter will have to be capable of treating for irrigation PLUS the gpm used in teh house unless you only treat the irrigation water gpm. I wouldn't suggest that because that means the softener will have to remove 7.7 ppm of iron and it won't do that well for very long before it has problems.

    My guess is that your softener was not sized correctly before you bought it. It is failing now and will not heal on its own. So you need to find the space for the equipment you need or live with the problem. Much less irrigating would probably be a good thing for the well and your pump too.

    What diameter well do you have?

  5. #5
    pacman59 is offline Junior Member
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    Gary,

    To answer your questions, I did some more research on the irrigation system and between that and the household use, we're consuming 12-15gpm while the irrigation system is running in the a.m.

    My well is a 4" well w/a 3/4hp pump and it is 65-75 feet deep.

    I'm sure that your statement that my water softener wasn't sized correctly is an accurate one as it's apparent that it can't handle the amount of iron that we have.

    What type of filter would you recommend to remove the iron? Also, I've been told that with the non-chemical filters (which I'd prefer to use if possible) you have to change the media annually. Is that true? What are the pros & cons of the different types available?

    Thanks for your help,

    Paul

  6. #6
    Gary Slusser is offline Banned
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    Give me real numbers...

    How many gpg per sprinkler head, and gpm per mist head and how many of each per zone? Total gpm= ?

    How many bathrooms? Any large tubs or showers?

    Age of the child? Are you planning any more children? How many?

    Any water use during backwash of a filter or regeneration of the softener isn't good, and can not happen when the filter backwashes or you get raw water.

    I can not go over all the types of iron filters, and their advantages and disadvantages, in a post. Based on the water quality, I probably would suggest a backwashed only filter but, the type of filter will depend on the gpm it has to treat, etc.. We would have to talk to be able to go over everything.

  7. #7
    Andy CWS is offline Moderator
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    When an 'injection system' was suggested, what exactly did they suggest? A reliable, seperate iron removal system devoted for outdoor water can be installed.

    What size are the tanks in your Fleck 9100 (h" x w")? Are you using a iron cleansing type salt? Softeners removing high iron will need special attention to work well. Do you know whatyour salt dosage is?

    I have not seen great results in birm filters, which must have specific water conditions to work well. Greensand filters had also been popular, but have fallen out of favor due to messy maintenance and incomplete success. Aeration via venturi would not be very effective with iron like yours. An air pump with air-off tanks and backwashing filter would be better.

    Other oxidation systems (chlorine, hydrogen peroxide or ozone) can be effective if sized properly. These are more involved with equipment and maintenance but can handle high levels very high.

    There's no real need to speak personally to anyone when you can give details here on the thread. Not all backwashing filters suffer from use during backwashing.

    Andy Christensen, CWS-II

  8. #8
    pacman59 is offline Junior Member
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    Gary, I gave you real numbers - they're in the email thread above. 2.5 baths, 1 large tub/shower, 1 jacuzzi tub and one shower, 4 people - 2 adults & 2 teenage children, no more kids & 2 cats.

    Andy, to answer your questions the injector system that was initially suggested was a "rid-o-rust" system that uses chemical injection, with the chemicals being very expensive. My neighbor is a regional mgr for a national irrigation supplier and suggested that I stay away from it due to the cost of the chemicals and the amount of rust that we have (he knows, he has one and they sell the chemicals).

    I'm leaning towards a terminox i.s.m. filter, possibly with the air/air off tank in combo. But I'm really looking for some independent advice.

    My Fleck 9100 has dual 12"x48" tanks. I couldn't tell you what the settings are as I don't understand the installation manual/users guide. But the white dot on the outer dial is set across from 7.5 on the inner dial.

    Thanks to you both for your input and help.

    Paul

  9. #9
    Gary Slusser is offline Banned
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    Paul, the equipment, including your present softener, must be sized to treat the peak demand gpm flow rate; that includes the irrigation and ALL water used in the house at the same time. Trust me, without talking to you, no one can come up with the constant SFR (service flow rate) gpm the filter requires.

    Sorry, I usually don't donate more of my free time to reread entire 10 day old threads, I ask for the specific info I need... And IIRC, you have not given me actual gpm per head, the total number of that type head per zone etc. etc. figures. It sounds as if you don't know them specifically, and you actually said once you didn't. Then you came back with slightly different numbers but no specifics as to how they were developed.

    Anyone proposing any type of equipment to you needs those actual figures. Or you could say YOU need those numbers before you buy anything or you'll end up again with something that does not work like your softener now. And again, that includes the peak demand gpm of the house; there is no way for you to tell me/them that figure without talking to me or them.

    I can tell you that anything using air in any way is not going to work on your water. I say that after using air over the last 15 years.

  10. #10
    Andy CWS is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacman59
    My water tests came back as follows -

    Chloride - 333 mg/l
    Fluoride - N/D
    Hardness as CaCO3 - 33 gpg (national franchise)/498 mg/l (state)
    Iron (clear) - 7.7 ppm (national franchise)/5.9 mg/l (state)
    Nitrate/Nitrite - N/D
    Sodium - 159 mg/l
    Sulfate - 36 mg/l
    TDS - 710
    Ph - 7.7
    odor - <.2
    Sand/sediment - N/D

    My current softener is a Fleck 9100 using potassium and it can't keep up with the iron as I do get staining every couple of weeks in the toilets, sinks, tubs, etc.

    Wondered if you had come to some satisfactory solution with your water problem. How do you have it set up in terms of regeneration and service? Since your staining is periodic and not regular, a small adjust may be all that is needed.

    Since iron is still coming through, it may have to regenerate more ofte or use a higher salt dosage. How did you factor the iron into the total compensated hardness (CH)? Also, there may be a chance you are getting some insoluable iron which passes through the softener. You may need a prefilter.

    Andy Christensen, CWS-II

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