Arsenic / Iron - Softener and RO best solution?

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by Caffinated Zen, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. Caffinated Zen

    Caffinated Zen New Member

    Sullivan, IL
    Rural well, approx. 300' deep. Seasonal H2S odor issue. Iron stains, and slight issue with bacteria in toilet tanks. Old softener failed 2 years ago, and took system out because of concerns over discharge flooding basement (long story, good only for a laugh...) In any case, our results came back with arsenic above current "safe" levels. Daughter already has digestive system issues, so physicians, State Water Survey and Public Health Dept. all suggested we filter our water for at least As. Here are the results:

    Iron (Total Fe): 0.872 mg/L
    Chloride (Cl): 227 mg/L
    Nitrate (NO3-N):<.07 mg/L
    Sulfate (SO4): <.31 mg/L
    Manganese (Mn):11.4 ug/L
    Arsenic (As): 34.8 ug/L (current limit is 10 ug/L)
    Turbidity: 3.1 NTU
    pH: 8.04 (at lab)
    Alkalinity (CaCO3):445 mg/L
    Hardness (CaCO3):205 mg/L or approx 12 grains
    TDS: 827 mg/L

    The State Water Survey did these test, and the rural health dept tested our water for bacteria and nitrates, and we were well into the acceptable limit for both.

    My current thought was to go with a RO system for drinking water use at the sink, and resume softener use for the whole house. There are 2 adults, 2 kids (girl 8 and boy 4), 5 dogs and 2 cats. My biggest question for the forum is, with this amount of iron, and the occasional odor to the water, would a KDF or specialty media be worthwhile or would standard resin work best? Also, our water has a lot of tiny gas bubbles in it, the water almost seems to "smoke" for awhile after we dispense it, but then it clears right up as the bubbles rise to the top. No kidding, some people think our water looks like milk at first. Not sure what the relevance is, but the guy from the health dept. said he didnt think it was methane gas getting in based on his visual or the test results.

    I've got some thoughts already on systems, but need to know if RO is better than an As specific filter for drinking water, and what system would work best with our well chemistry. Our well tank is at the 40 - 60 psi range.

    Any thoughts would help.

  2. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    When the softener was in use before its removal was there any staining?

    RO system will only remove one of the forms of Arsenic and not the other.

    If the softener when it was working was removing the staining from the house, I would first put a softener back in and then test for the Arsenic in the water and find out what the level is, then if there is still some level of Arsenic research research and then some more research as to what level is good or bad... I have a challenge in taking what the Government says is good or bad but that is just me.
    Then if the level is above what you would like, there is a media that is Arsenic only and use a point of use under the sink for the removal of the Arsenic.. the iron first has to be removed or it will not work.
    Just my thoughts on the matter.
  3. Caffinated Zen

    Caffinated Zen New Member

    Sullivan, IL

    Thanks for the reply. We bought the house about 5 years ago. I don't recall staining being a big problem, but it was an older (maybe 98?) Cullligan Mark 100(?) that got stuck in purge and flooded our basement in 2009. Not sure how much it was really doing.

    I know you are a very active board member and know your stuff. If you would can you tell me if ur saying that a softener could deal with either As form? Maybe I misread ur post. Or were you referring to a fine resin/KDF media bed for that purpose?

    Should I be concerned about TDS in the 800 mg/L range?

    I will follow your advice and get another test done to specify which form of As we have. Do the As specific filterss generally deal with both forms, and is that the activated charcoal/carbon style?

    Finally, for what it's worth, the acceptale As level for drinking water used to be 50 ppb, so I am not scared to death to drink the water, but my kids already don't like the taste and I my wife keeps buying bottled water. That along with some recent GI issues with my daughter...need to improve the water.

    I've sized my softener needs on a couple different sites, including Gary Slusser's site and am leaning towards a Fleck 5600SXT 64K Eradicator from APlus Water, a softener/filter that uses the fine mesh resin and KDF85. Maybe I'll just have to add an inline As filter at the sink instead of RO?

    Again, any thoughts appreciated.
  4. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    I only know what I have seen in my years of dealing with my local area in water treatment and asking questions of people that have worked in it longer than I have.
    The resin is standard softener resin, I have seen it reduce arsenic levels and not reduce arsenic levels... depends on which form of arsenic is in the water. I have learned that the arsenic will move to the center of the resin bead.. and then the bead will no longer remove the arsenic and needs to be replaced.
    The challenge with KDF while it is a good media it is VERY heavy, 1/3 of a cubic foot weights in at 55lbs.. that 1/3 might have a service flow rate of 6gpm will need 10gpm for its backwash to meet that flow rate one could empty out the resin in the tank because resin is down in the 5gpm or less depending on system size.

    Standard resin is just as good for most home use, fine mesh resin is better for small commercial and larger or larger amounts of iron or greater levels of hardness.

    Here is a link to the arsenic media that I was talking about.
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