Does SST-60 Resin solve this problem?

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by deltasmith, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. deltasmith

    deltasmith New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Maine
    It it weren't for the hardness introduced by the calcite filter that brings up my pH, I probably wouldn't need a water softener for most of the year. But since I do have hardness induced by the calcite filter, apparently I do need a softener for most of the year, and there are a few months out of the year when things change drastically, and that's where I'm wondering if SST-60 might solve the problem.

    Most of the year, I get water from the main well, and its chemistry looks like this (before conditioning):
    2 people in household
    49 mg/l hardness from well (Plus additional hardness from acid conditioner - below)
    0.15 mg/l iron
    2.4 mg/l magnesium
    1.5 mg/l manganese
    pH is 5.2 at well, adjusted up to approximately 6.8 - 7.0 by calcite + corosex filter that I purchased last November (It works great for the pH problem. I'm told it adds hardness, but I have not measured how much).

    During a dry year though, the main well may run dry, and if that happens, I have to go for between one and eight weeks with the backup well. The backup well has better pH but much higher iron. These are the numbers from the most recent test:
    110 mg/l hardness from well
    20 mg/l iron (it's trending down and was previously much higher, but based on what I've observed I think it may bottom out around 18 mg/l).
    4.5 mg/l magnesium
    0.82 mg/l manganese
    pH is 6.2 at the well

    So I'm wondering if there is a softener that will deal with the 10 months a year problem of the calcite filter-induced hardness, and also be able to handle the surge in iron content for 1 to 8 weeks /year without destroying the resin bed? This is where I'm thinking SST-60 might be the solution.

    Does anyone have experience with SST-60 at this high a level of iron content and know if this is a good approach or not? Does anyone think that some alternate approach might be a better solution (hoping to avoid the cost and space requirements of an iron filter, unless there was a way to get the iron filter but eliminate the softener).

    Thanks
  2. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,490
    Location:
    Alaska
    What temp is the water coming out of the ground?
    Here in Alaska the water temp is 35F and while many will say I am wrong I will use a softener and have been for 20 years on water that will have up to 20ppm and get away with it as long as the iron is clear.. ie the test for the iron goes to say 10ppm and stays there it does not increase to 12ppm+.
    As for the difference in resin, I have been using standard resin in the units around here with no problems.
    Might I ask why the SST-60? it is good, more spendy for a little extra in capacity....
  3. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I have no experience above 13 mg/l of iron using a softener. I used SST-60. I don't know if resin would remove 20 mg/l or not or for how long but...

    If you used a softener and it worked, then you size and program it for the 20 mg/l and let it run all year or reprogram it when you are using the main well with less iron.

    You would have to use a resin cleaner on a set schedule or all resins will load up with rust. And many people say you need X gpg of hardness to get a softener to remove high iron but I don't understand why because FE++ or calcium++ and magnesium++, what is the differenece, positive ions are positive ions and why would resin care how many of what there are in the water. And how would the resin know? lol

    I use SST-60 on 5 mg/l of iron and above because it doesn't foul as easily as regular or fine mesh resins because of the inert core structure of the beads. And the bead size is the same as regular mesh so you don't have the pressure loss of fine mesh resin.
  4. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,490
    Location:
    Alaska
    When you say DRY is that dry? or down to say 1gpm from the well?
  5. deltasmith

    deltasmith New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Maine
    Hi - thanks for the quick follow up.

    I'm guessing that the well water temp in the summer (when I may have to switch to the backup well) is around 50 F. Why do you ask? Does water temp make a difference in how the resin behaves?

    This is clear iron most of the time. Occasionally (maybe twice a week when we are using the backup well for irrigation), we get a cloud of red water out of the end of the hose for a few minutes. But most of the time, the water is almost clear (actually, has a slight greenish tint, kind of like a glass of Chardonnay) but if you leave it in a glass for an hour, the iron begins to precipitate out into a red powdery substance on the bottom of the glass.

    "Dry" means that this particular well, which is about 250' deep and only recovers at less than 1 GPM when it's doing well isn't doing well enough to keep the pump supplied. In order to protect the pump, I am replacing the standard pressure switch with a low pressure cut out switch that requires you to manually restart the pump by holding up a lever on the switch if the pressure ever drops below about 20 or 25 lbs (cut-in is 30 lbs). Under "normal" conditions, the well recharges enough overnight that it never runs out during the day. But if a toilet runs all night, or during the dry month of august, the main well will not recover enough to meet the modest demands of two adults.

    Gary - thanks for the response. A lot of my interest in SST-60 comes from your comments here and on other sites indicating that it is less inclined to become iron-fouled. I'm thinking that if I get to mid-August in a dry year and the main well runs dry, I can conserve in various ways, but it would be great if I could get away with using about 30% of my usual daily volume (I.e., enough to flush a few toilets and take a few showers, but no dishes, no laundry, get bottled drinking water, and not as many toilet flushes as usual) and at worst, get some rust in the toilet tank or the shower. The outcome I want to avoid is that by attempting this, I discover that I've ruined the resin bed beyond any possibility of salvation with res-up or similar groovy chemicals.

    Given your statement that you've never tried to push sst-60 past 13 mg/l, I guess I'm going to be the test pilot for this particular configuration, unless someone else chimes in with similar experience. I guess I'm not in the loop about needing a certain amount of hardness to have optimal iron-handling ability in the softener, but I expect that since even the backup well has some hardness and also some acidity, that the increased hardness introduced by the calcite in the acid conditioner might be sufficient?
  6. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,490
    Location:
    Alaska
    ok...
    Here is my idea....
    Years ago there was a customer of mine that had a well that did 5gallons per hour... yes that is not a miss typo.... 5gph
    So a solenoid valve controled by a float that when down would open if the one hour timer was letting power go to the selenoid to open it. A flow control of 2 gpm and for 90 sec the solenoid would open once an hour and let water in to the 900gallon holding tank....
    Good thing that they had french doors into the basement area.....
    Then there was the Grunfos all in one pump to supply water to the house....
    You could do some thing like that ... year round... in the good part of the year open things up so that there is full flow or there is no timer and when the float is down water goes in til the float comes up... in the low part of the year timer comes into play and once an hour for X time frame water goes into the holding tank....

    Idea?
  7. deltasmith

    deltasmith New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Maine
    Thanks, but no - a holding tank is not in my future (no place to put it). In fact, I'm dreading the day when I will eventually have to change out the furnace or the oil tank. Currently, there is no access into the basement that is large enough to accommodate either one. I will need to pull up floor boards to accomplish that. (The previous owner put the floor in after installing the heating system).

    Someone did once suggest that I try running both wells at the same time (I have two pumps, two pressure switches, two pressure tanks, and use valves to configure which well will supply the house). In theory, if both wells are able to supply water, that could cut my iron content almost in half by the time it reaches the softener relative to what it would be on just the backup well. I'd have to do some rewiring in order to have the pumps come on and go off at more or less the same time, but I think I know how to do that and still have both be protected by the low pressure cutout switches. I might try that idea eventually, but the downside to that is: I may not realize that I am running low on water capacity until I've pumped not just one but both wells dry. Also, during times when recovery is good, I'm working the water softener a lot harder than I would need to if using just the main well.
  8. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    That's due to the inert core but rusty water is going to foul all resins. Rusty water and the resin filtering the rust means a loss of softening capacity and backwash may not get rid of all the rust, which fouls resins.

    I think 20 ppm is pushing it too far. Some of the iron will be oxidized by raising the pH with the AN filter but not much and rust will form in the bed which reduces the raise in pH you need and can ruin the bed.

    You may do better with an iron filter.
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