Need help with water treatment!!

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by tntg, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. tntg

    tntg New Member

    Messages:
    23
    My husband and I have been dealing with bad well water for a year and we have reached the end of our rope. We have really bad sulfur (50 ppm)! From what I am understanding from the various water treatment "specialists" I have had come in that is almost unheard of.
    Here is the problem: a year ago we paid almost $8k to have a system installed that, as we were led to believe, would address our water issues. It consists of a hydrogen peroxide injection (Stenner pump) which then goes to two carbon filters/tanks and then passes to a water softener. It has worked intermittently over the past year but now the sulfur smell is back and it appears it is here to stay. There is a really long time between when we turn on a faucet and when the hydrogen peroxide pump kicks on...is this what is potentiallyl causing the problem- is this allowing untreated water through our pipes until the pump starts injecting the peroxide (35% peroxide)?

    We have gotten 3 new proposals from other water treatment companies and they are all three proposing the same thing but very different from what we have installed. The problem is, we will have to go to court to get the company to pull out our existing equipment, even though it is very clear by the smell in our home that they have failed to give us a product that works! The new companies are all proposing a chlorination (pool chlorine) system (using Stenner pump) which leads to an aeration tank and then to a carbon filter/tank and finally to a water softener. How large should the retention tanks be? They have all three proposed different size tanks!

    Does anyone out there have this high level of sulfur (not that I would ever wish this on anyone!)? If so, PLEASE let me know how you addressed it!

    Thanks
    TNTG
  2. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    I have never dealt with that much Hydrogen Sulfide so I won't pretend to be an expert. 6- 10 is about what I'm used to and we get rid of that with an air pump and a galvanized tank. Nothing more.

    I for one don't like injecting chlorine especially if it's not necessary. And even more so with a Stenner. If your Stenner comes on slowly, it may be that the flow switch is gumming up with sulphur or it may not be hooked to a flow switch. It may be coming on with the water pump.

    Aeration, Chlorination and Carbon filters are three different ways of dealing with sulphur odor. Why all three I'm not quite sure. Maybe it's what is needed to get rid of that much sulphur. The carbon filter will deal with about 1/2 part per million and that's about all. Chlorine will treat much more as will aeration, but how much I'm just not sure.

    My system works very well on all the water we have treated, but again, that's not much over 10 ppm.

    bob...
  3. tntg

    tntg New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Thanks for your reply.

    The Stenner pump is triggered by the pressure in the pressure tank...when the water is running and the pressure drops to 45 the hyrdogen peroxide pump kicks on and when the pressure gets back up to 75 the peroxide shuts off until it drops back to 45. I'm assuming there is not a flow switch if this is the case?
  4. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You should fix what you have rather than buy new, except for a retention tank that you don't mention as part of your current system. Without a retention tank that kind of system can't work well for long. No retention tank means the carbon has to remove what H2S the peroxide doesn't get and the residual 'sediment' the peroxide causes in oxidizing the H2S it treats.

    Without a retention tank, yes, the pump being operated by the pressure switch is a problem and requires the carbon to remove the H2S when there is no peroxide in the water.

    These two carbon filters, are they plumbed in line, on after the other (series) or, side by side by side inline (series parallel)?

    I don't like solution feeders like you have. You're always mixing solution and it usually weakens as it sits in the tank for days or weeks and the solution used is always the strongest (at the bottom of the tank if the chemical, like chlorine, is heavier than water) yet the feeder pump is constantly injecting a weaker solution until you mix up a new batch, which starts weakening immediately. So most folks increase the volume of solution being injected, and then eventually go to other equipment or give up and settle for poor quality water.

    You say they propose the same thing yet it's very different than what you have....

    I'm seeing the addition of chlorine and an aeration tank but the same Stenner pump and carbon filters... So they are adding those things and going to use the peroxide too? You probably need new carbon, especially if it is regular carbon and not the special carbon I use. BTW, never use pool chlorine to treat potable water.

    Another thing, your carbon filters most likely are too small for the peak demand gpm your house uses.

    I do not think an air pump aeration system alone will remove 50 ppm of H2S but then I question the 50 ppm test result. I may not be correct but that is probably sufficient to cause a confined space condemnation of the house.

    If hubby is handy instead of or in addition to handsome, ya'll can install a retention tank and replace the carbon yourselves.
  5. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Lots of good advice for you here, especially about the retention tank. It will help equalize the chemical balance as well as give more time for the reaction to take place.

    I would also look into changing out the carbon filters quite often. That's where the sulfur eventually ends up. Activated carbon has a nasty habit of releasing contaminants in a "slug" if something comes along that it has a greater chemical affinity for- especially if the cartridge is near capacity.

    You should invite the salesman of your system back in to maintain/ fine tune they system.
  6. tntg

    tntg New Member

    Messages:
    23
    The H2O2 is 35%.

    The 50 ppm hydrogen sulfide test result was by two separate companies- one using the test with the color and the other using the alka seltzer (don't know what either one is called) so I believe it is accurate and trust me, the smell could knock you over from miles away.

    The carbon filters are 1.5CF, installed one after the other and are backwashing- they are set every other day on opposite days.

    We have a submersible well pump and I can't remember how many gallons the pressure tank is.

    We did get a couple of proposals to modify what we have:
    1. Everything I currently have (Stenner w/ 15 gal container of 35% hydrogen peroxide- first carbon filter, second carbon filter, water softener) PLUS pump control module, Hayes water meter and in line mixer

    2. Swap H2O2 for chlorine (using same Stenner pump after cleaning), replace carbon in both filters, add two 120 gal retention tanks, use existing softener

    3. Swap H2O2 for chlorine (using same Stenner pump after cleaning), replace carbon in both filters, add Duke aeration system INSTEAD OF two retention tanks, use existing water softener

    It seems nobody wants to use the H2O2?!

    Here are specifically what the new proposals state:

    1. Chemical feed tank 15 gal w/chemical feed Stenner (110/230 17 GPD)w/chlorine, RamJet aeration tank, retention tank (120 gal), 1.5CF filter w/centaur carbon, softener 1.5CF impression IM-1054-ME

    2. Duke aeration (not sure # of gal) 220v w/chemical feed pump (chlorine) w/ sol tank and 1.5cf carbon filter, 45cm clack meter water softener

    3. 120chl inj w/carbon, 1 chemical feed pump (chlorine) w/sol tank, two 120 gal retention tanks, 1 carbon backwashing filter 1.5 and 45cm clack meter water softener

    4. 300 gallon aeration storage tank, chlorinie feeder, 120 gal retention tank, carbon filter, softener

    I have a lot of proposal but am very confused as to which option would work, whether my handsome husband does it himself or not!!

    It seems, from all of your great responses, that if I keep what I have but add a retention tank I should be ok.

    Gary, you said "I don't like solution feeders like you have. You're always mixing solution and it usually weakens as it sits in the tank for days or weeks and the solution used is always the strongest (at the bottom of the tank if the chemical, like chlorine, is heavier than water) yet the feeder pump is constantly injecting a weaker solution until you mix up a new batch, which starts weakening immediately. So most folks increase the volume of solution being injected, and then eventually go to other equipment or give up and settle for poor quality water."
    What other options are there?
  7. tntg

    tntg New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Smelly in NY

    I forgot to ask...what is the proper way to drain the backwash from the filter? I am being told it was done incorrectly and there is nothing preventing the sewer from coming into the house through that line in the event of a backup. Is the proper way a drain pipe?
  8. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    What state are you in?

    Is your equipment installed in a basement? If not where is it?

    I have to run so I'll post more later today.
  9. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    You said the system "worked intermittently". Does that mean that it worked well for a while at first?

    You should have an air gap on the backflush line, just like your washer drains into the system.
  10. tntg

    tntg New Member

    Messages:
    23


    I am in NY and the equipment is in the basement.
  11. tntg

    tntg New Member

    Messages:
    23

    It has never worked great but there were periods of time when we didn't smell sulfur in the water. This is part of my frustration- we'd call the company who installed it and they would come and increase the amount of hydrogen peroxide being injected and it would work ok for a while. Then a few weeks later the water would smell again (not like sulfur- fishy) so they came back and said there was too much hydrogen peroxide being injected which caused the carbon tank (we only had one at first) to have to work too hard trying to remove the hydrogen peroixde that it let some get through which ruined the sulfate tank (this is the first I am mentioning a sulfate unit because we no longer have it). It was removed and they added another carbon tank. Not because we needed it, I am sure, but just so they didn't have to give us back any money for the sulfate unit. Our sulfate is under 400 which was too high to get our CO in Albany County which is why we needed the sulfate unit to begin with. It worked ok for a while...about a month or two and then the sulfur smell came back again. They came back and this time they said the carbon filter was clogged (the ring at the top)- $50 please- and so on and so on and so on. This company has come back here at least a dozen times nickel and diming us to death and it is never a permanent fix.

    Furthermore, to make things more confusing...on the original proposal it states Chlorination System which we never got...instead the hydrogen peroxide unit was installed. It is now my understanding that the chlorination system is a bit more money than a little tank with a stenner pump but we were never compensated for that.

    They don't have a clue what they are doing (every time they came here I had to repeat the events leading up to the visit in their entiriety...God forbid he keep notes) and at this point we have asked that they remove their equipment from our basement and give us most of our money back so we can start fresh with the first option under the new proposals on my previous post.
  12. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You are experiencing the problems in using a solution feeder with any size solution tank.

    I think you'll have to end up in small claims court before you'll get any money back.

    You can use chlorine or peroxide in the tank you have; the only difference is a 15 gal or 30 gal size. The pump etc. is the same.

    You can possibly reuse the filters and softener you have IF they are sized correctly, which their addition of the second carbon filter says the first filter wasn't sized correctly.

    I've used the indoor Duke (powered outside vented) and I sell a lot of inline chlorinators with the special mixing tank. That makes a great system and then you could plumb the filters in series parallel and use your softener. I don't think I would install the chlorinator ahead of the Duke though, until I spoke with you it would go after it.

    My prices would be thousands less than what you've paid or would from a local dealer but then you install it or hire a plumber to do it. Installation is simple plumbing but a Duke and the filters and chlorinator plus rebedding of the carbo filters with a special carbon would take the better part of a day.
  13. tntg

    tntg New Member

    Messages:
    23
    The reason he added a carbon tank is because he removed the sulfate tank and instead of doing the right thing and giving us back money for it he swapped it for the carbon tank- that was the only choice we were given. It's not a matter of being the wrong size.

    We are going to court, by the way, but it's not small claims. We've spent over $8000 on a system that leaves our water smelling like crap and on a company who, after 12 months of coming in and performing minor changes and claiming "it's fixed" is now saying they really do have the fix and it's to install a post-cholrination system. They told us we then have to play chemist in order to get the right level of chlorine to make sure not too much was getting into our drinking water!

    This Thursday we're having installed the Duke, chlorinator, 120 gallon tank, carbon tank and softener. Keep your fingers crossed. The other equipment is going to wind up in our garage until this court thing is settled but I took lots of pictures! I should post some of them and get opinions!

    Thanks for all of your help and advice,
    Tina
  14. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I’d like to see how this thing gets resolved. I lived south of Syracuse for 11 years and although we had good water a lot of people in that region do have sulfur problems. It seems that yours is unique as it's really high, and the company tried to manage it with a system designed for a lower concentration. Court or arbitration cases like this typically come down to expert testimony, and it won’t hurt things at all to hire an expert now, get advice on what type of system that you should have, then go in to court on that basis. Legal battles take time and there’s no reason to have to deal with water problems while you’re waiting for a financial resolution.

    Upstate NY has a real glut of good environmental engineers, and there should be plenty of local talent in Albany. You can call up the State Dept of Environmental Conservation of the State Professional Licensing Board for a list of them.

    I worked for an excellent firm in Cazenovia for 6 years back in the 1980’s but you should be able to find someone closer. I recall one job that we did treating water for a large power systems boiler where we had to take city water down to some very high purity. We ended up subcontracting Culligan for treatment advice. So Culligan is another expert that can probably help you, but since they also sell the treatment equipment they may not be the best people to use with a pending legal case.

    Before you hire anyone talk to your attorney.
  15. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Tina, I wish you well in your court endeavor, but in the case of water treatment, size does matter.

    I've been to court twice, I think you are making a mistake by buying new and not using the carbon filters and the softener. That assumes the decision is not a full refund. And to buy new equipment before the court decision may be a mistake. BTW, all chlorination equipment may require you to test and adjust the fine tuning.
  16. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    You will find that a Court case can cost as much and many times more than the amount your going for. Sometimes the Judge will award Attorney fees in the mix. Then it's up to you to find the money. Good luck on that one.

    I have been there and done that from the other side of the fence. Where someone owed me money either for services rendered and one for a home I rented that got trashed. We won easily in court with an Attorney, then we had to go find not only the X-Renter but the money. They don't have anything worth going after including garnishing wages. They just quit that job and move on.

    bob...
  17. tntg

    tntg New Member

    Messages:
    23
    I've met with an attorney who happens to be my neighbor who happens to work for the Legislature. I am meeting with her "officially" today. I would write more but you never know who's reading this!

    By the way, the company I am referring to thinks all this advice I'm getting on-line and the other proposals I've received (which are all very similar to your suggestions) is from a "bunch of schleps who have no idea what they're talking about". The post-chlorination is the only thing that will work, according to them yet it's taken 13 months to come to that conclusion?

    Call me crazy but court it is. I will keep all you schleps ;) posted! Thanks again.
  18. tntg

    tntg New Member

    Messages:
    23
    I thought of that but you don't understand. We live in a gorgeous new house and can't even use our water at this point! So, I have taken plenty of pictures and video and will take lots of pictures during the dismantling phase of anything that my be relevant...appreciate the advice and this is my first time taking someone to court. Not something I make a habit of doing! We had been willing to accept 80% refund with removal of all equipment. They could have re-furbished/re-used it and still got compenstated for labor but that wasn't acceptable so...this is the alternative.
  19. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    That means that we're on the right track! :)
  20. tntg

    tntg New Member

    Messages:
    23
    I have to back track a bit. We have, as previously mentioned, the Stenner Chemical Feed injecting 35% hydrogen peroxide...then the two carbon tanks...then the softener.

    IF we were to let this company come in and do what they are proposing, which is a Post-Chlorination System (another Stenner w/a retention tank), what are your opinions as to whether or not that will fix our sulfur problem?

    Also, does anyone know what happens when the carbon tanks become clogged/need replacement and the hydrogen peroxide gets through and mixes with the chlorine?

    DON'T ASK! :eek::confused:
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