Frustrated with water treatment, need help!

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by jon113, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. jon113

    jon113 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    NY
    I built a new house 7 years ago. This is my wife and I's first home. I have never dealt with well water before, but my wife has. She had great water where she lived, but where we live now, we have been dealing with poor water quality since we built our house.

    Our well is about 45 feet deep and we have between 10 and 11 GPM. So we have great water flow and never had an issue there. When we first built the house we had the water tested and it tested a little bit hard and a very faint odor of sulphur, so the well guy recommended a water softener.

    Water treatment 1 - about $800

    So we purchased a water softener. Our water seemed soft and no real smell of sulphur. After a while, the sulphur got a bit stronger, but not terrible, but annoying enough to want it to be treated.

    Water treatment 2 - Cost about $2500

    We had a company come and test our water. The results of the test were .5 iron, some odor detected, 280 TDS and PH of 7.0. So they recommended a chlorine injection system with a retention tank and a carbon filter. We chose an affordable option and opted to go with a 40 gallon retention tank. (We now know it to be too small) They put the equipment in the following order - chlorine injection into well line before pressure tank, then retention tank, then carbon filter, then the softener. They recommended we use pool chlorine a ratio of about 3.5 gallons in a 15 gallon solution tank. This seemed to work for a little while, then the chlorine pump keep getting all gunked up. The company fixed it once and the second time, we had to pay about $130 to get it cleaned and fixed. The pump is a pulsafeeder 220V that is wired into the well pump. This became problematic, so I looked for another option. I looked at scraping all the equipment and start from scratch, and looked at things like a filox, terminator and other air injected options. So I called another water treatment guy.

    Water treatment 3 - $1100

    This guy recommended 2 options, 1 the cheaper route and 2 a more expensive route. We chose the cheaper option. This guy switched out the pulsafeeder for a 110v and added a fulsafeeder flow switch. He tested the water and came up with about the same results as the previous company. He said that based on the tests, he felt the water softener should be first in line. So he rerouted the plumbing lines and this is now the layout. Well line in, pressure tank, water softener, chlorine injection (sideways - not vertical which concerns me with the ball check), retention tank, then the carbon filter. This worked for a short time, no more sulphur odor. The company said to switch from a pool chlorine to regular bleach and use a 1 part bleach to 10 part water ratio. So a 1.5 gal to the 15 gallon retention tank. Our new problem is that our water is very brown looking and feels hard compared to our previous treatment setup. We also go through a 15 gallon solution tank every week. On the old setup we went 6 weeks to 2 or 3 months on one solution tank. (One note, this company told us to switch from the iron out salt bags to the regular salt bags for the softener. I just switched back to the iron out ones this weekend.)

    I am now looking to do any/all water treatment myself from now on. I have spent too much money to be still dealing with poor water quality.

    I would like to purchase a 120 gallon retention tank and a new chemical pump feeder. I am looking at a Stenner l7 GPD odjustoble feeder - 115v, a Stenner pulse control module, a 3/4" I pulse per gallon water meter, and switching to a 35 gallon solution tank.

    Could someone give me any suggestions, especially in what order I should install all the pieces of equipment. I am frustrated and don't know what to do.

    Thanks,
  2. waterwiz

    waterwiz Previous Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    US
    Why are you using chlorine with .5 iron?? I understand the sulphur issue but you can treat this water with air, a mixed media filter, and then a softener. No more chemical feed pump and mixing chemicals. I have installed many of these and they work great. Did one last week for a customer that had same numbers you have (although im not seeing your hardness level) and there is no more odor, the iron is gone, and they have soft water. http://www.chandlersystemsinc.com/pdf/water/catalog/Reactr VS.pdf

    waterwiz
  3. jon113

    jon113 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    NY
    I am using chlorine injection because that is what the last 2 "water specialists" recommended. This is exactly why I am confused as to what I should be using. I believe they wanted to use the chlorine to help with any other contaminants that might be in the water. Is the REACTR VS similar to the Terminator system? I was looking at the Terminator before the last guy came and recommended I keep the chlorine.
  4. Texas Wellman

    Texas Wellman In the Trades

    Messages:
    533
    Location:
    SE Texas-Coastal
    First thing I would do is find out if there is better water to be had. Always better to go with a deeper well and the best quality water you can get than try and treat bad shallow water.

    Also I have always noticed that bladder tanks will amplify the smell in water moreso than a regular old galvanized tank.
  5. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Get the softener last inline instead of first. Make sure it is programmed correctly for your water quality and volume of water used per day.

    Learn how to clean the injector for the chlorine system. Sideways may be better than in the bottom of the pipe because of sediment settling in the bottom of a pipe.

    Learn how to mix the proper solution strength and to adjust the amount injected to maintain a free chlorine residual of .5-1.5 ppm on the inlet to the retention tank. Free chlorine is a different test than total chlorine. Pool places and water treatment dealers can get you the test kit if you don't already have one.

    What is your water analysis data and how many people in the house?

    There's no guarantee that a new well would get you better quality water or water that didn't still need water treatment equipment.
  6. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    This gentlemans experience with "water treatment experts" is sadly very common. Might as well recruit a Bangladesh street dentist to choose and install a system. Or the three stooges. "elixer of life tonic salesman" = most water treatment guys.

    This county is filled with huge assemblies of mis-specified equipment that did not work and if they did, would cause endless troubles - sitting unused and un repairable.

    Educate yourself with books and the internet, with your INDEPENDANT lab water test result in hand, and pay a few [retired if at all possible] guys in the trade to spec equipment with specific knowledge that they will NOT be selling you the product. Then you might have a chance to not be fleeced.
  7. jon113

    jon113 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    NY
    Thank you for all the replies. Are there any good books that I should invest in?
  8. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
    Rather than getting more bids, have some fun with these guys. Put the shoe on the other foot.

    It's only fair that the risk of failure of these procedures be shared by both parties.

    First ask each bidder how likely it is that the treatment will succeed and
    then ask each bidder how much money he'll give back if the treatment fails.

    If he/she promises in writing to give you back 10% of what you paid then he has figured the odds of treatment success at 10%. But be sure the word 'failure' is well defined, i.e., use numbers.

    If he/she wants $2500 and is willing to give you back $500 if it fails then he/she has figured the odds at 20%, 100 x $500/$2500.

    Sometime I'd like to try this with an MD.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2010
  9. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    When you build a house, you must guarantee that it "work", or you fix it free. So make it a 100% refund if the water still stinks.

    When you do not get any bids, one will understand that the water guys are just like doctors:

    "Oops - dad died in surgery... [doctor had a birthday party the night before] here is your bill for $145,000"
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2010
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    That reminds me of well drillers that sell a new well due to water quality problems with an existing well and then the new well has the same or worse water quality as the the old well and they still want to be paid in full.
  11. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
    Contracts say ". . .we will furnish and install. . ."
    I've not seen one that said ". . .we will solve your problem. . .".

    Speaking of doctors, the book "The Last Well Person" clued me in to this relatively new ??? idea
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence-based_medicine
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2010
  12. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    The same applies to water treatment but, there is little to no complex chemistry involved with drilling a well and no maintenance required for many years as there is with water treatment equipment.

    To blame the industry as is being done by ballvalve with no regard to the accuracy of the information provided by a dissatisfied consumer with the sole responsibility of choosing and then maintaining the equipment is wrong. And that detracts from his credibility.
  13. jon113

    jon113 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    NY
    What would you suggest?

    Based on my specs, approx 10 to 11 gpm flow, 3 bathrooms, 2 adults and 1 baby, with occasional visitors who stay for up to a week or two at a time, what would you think would be the appropriate size of holding/contact tank to use with a chlorine injection system? I have a 40 gallon now, which I know to be very undersized. I am finding 120 gallon tanks for between $600 and $750. Would a 120 gallon be the correct size? Or do I need to go bigger? Also on that note, any place to sell my used holding tank and chlorine pump?

    I am able to do plumbing well enough to do the next approach to water treatment myself. I will certainly move the softener to the end of the chain, like it was originally configured.

    Thanks for the information, I appreciate the guidance.
  14. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I really dislike chlorine injection. A better choice is an inline dry pellet chlorinator and 'mixing' type 12" x 67" (overall height) retention tank that is equivalent to a 120 gal standard retention tank. Nonelectric, no mixing of solution, no injection of solution and it takes up much less space and no baby sitting required.

    I sold them for about 15 yrs (I'm out of business since Jun 15) and they work every time as long as you keep pellets in the hopper and drain off the sediment as instructed.

    You follow that system with a backwashed Centaur carbon filter that is sized for your peak demand gpm flow rate of the house and the type of fixtures. Then your softener.
  15. jon113

    jon113 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    NY
    Thanks for the suggestions, I will do some research on pricing, etc. on this option.
  16. jon113

    jon113 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    NY
    Water treatment update

    Just wanted to give a thanks to those who gave me suggestions. I decided to undertake the project myself and learn how to sweat pipes, etc. After a little trial and error I have learned how to sweat pipes and did a pretty good job for my first attempt. A little messier than the work of a pro, but I saved myself a good amount of money.

    The end result, I moved the water softener to the end of the run, like it was originally and as recommended here, and the water is SUPER clear. My wife said she can't remember ever seeing it this clear. I am sure that is because we had become use to the dirty looking water, but none the less, the water looks great and I feel SOOOOO much better about our water again.

    So thank you all for your guidance. Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
  17. masterpumpman

    masterpumpman New Member

    Messages:
    729
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I'd also check with a reputable well driller in the area and ask what's the probability of obtaining better water quality at a deeper depth. Treating better quality would be my first choice. But keep in mind any driller can only get what's in the ground. He can't guarantee quantity or quality. A professional water treatment person can recommend the best equipment and could walk you through the installation.
  18. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Jon, good for you. As we see you don't need a new well or new or more water treatment equipment. You simply needed to correct the error of your professional water guy.
  19. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Pretty sad statement when three water "pro's" are out done by a DI - guy with a little drive.

    the only pro that came to his house seems to be HIM.
  20. jon113

    jon113 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    NY
    Thank you for the positive comments

    I was very happy to see that I was able to get the problem resolved. Mostly due to the fact that I had already spent a fair amount of money on water treatment. Thank you all for your suggestions and words of wisdom.

    Happy New Year!
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