new well water cloudy...clay?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by gorgemom, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. gastongal

    gastongal New Member

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    3
    I ran the water too much today (now cloudy and debris)

    I ran the water too much today (over an hour twice). I ended up with not only cloudy water but now it has something that looks like sand in it. I really messed up. My plan is to let the well sit for 2 days and let it recover. Obviously I'll have to flush toilets etc. I'm really nervous about this. All this mess is in my pump, holding tank and copper pipes under the house. My new bored well is 64 deep and I'm guessing had water about 35-40 feet deep. Well company said I should recover about 35 gal per hour but I'm not sure since this area in Virignia is in somewhat of a drought state and it probably filled quickly when the well was first bored. Do you think two days is enough to have a good supply of water. I assume I'll have to clorinate again since I ran too much out.
  2. Scott R

    Scott R New Member

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    4
    I posted in another thread today about my problem (brownish water). I just now found this thread and now I'm really worried. I already have it scheduled for my friend (who does water treatment) to come to the house tomorrow and install a $2000+ iron treatment system (and new water tank). The house is about 20-25 years old. Now I'm worried that we could be misdiagnosing the problem. Yes, the iron level is high, but perhaps I've got bigger well-related issues?

    The water can be reddish brown, but sometimes just looks yellowish brown and cloudy. A sample I took into a drinking glass in our kitchen was yellowish brown and cloudy, and after several hours it still looks the same. Nothing seems to have settled to the bottom. So could this still be iron, which is hopefully treatable with an iron removal system, or might it be signs of well problems?

    We just moved into the house about one month ago, and I think that our problems are getting worse, not better, the more water we use, so that would seem to differ from the issue/solution described in this thread.
  3. alternety

    alternety Like an engineer

    Messages:
    650
    Location:
    Washington
    The guys who do this for a living most likely will respond.

    I had small enough clay particles that they would not drop out of suspension in any reasonable time frame.

    I would try to have someone with some chemistry expertise and some appropriate equipment determine what is really there before spending $2K. They can run the water through different pore size filters and see what happens.

    If the water fresh from the well is clear and then turns red, my understanding is that this would be an indication of dissolved iron. Bacteria or oxidation could make this iron precipitate as a visible solid. If there is iron bacteria in the well the water would be red when it is drawn.

    You really need a lab to look at the water.
  4. alternety

    alternety Like an engineer

    Messages:
    650
    Location:
    Washington
    gastongal,

    That rate is 0.58 gpm. That is really low. Very close to what would not be a legal well in some places. For any normal household use you would have to have a storage tank.
  5. alternety

    alternety Like an engineer

    Messages:
    650
    Location:
    Washington
    A general observation on running water from the well to clear up "cloudy". It should be as close to the well pump as possible.

    The pipe to the location you are using for this process should be at least 3/4". The pipe to the faucet should be at least 3/4". And, and here is the issue most often ignored, the hose should be 3/4". The hose is a serious limiter of flow. You want the most flow possible.
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Chemists are not knowledgeable about water treatment or the available equipment used to solve problems.

    Untrue, IRB will not cause red water iron.

    He already has all the water test data he needs so he does not need to pay a lab for more tests or to duplicate those he already has had done.
  7. alternety

    alternety Like an engineer

    Messages:
    650
    Location:
    Washington
    Perhaps you have found labs staffed with something other than chemists in one flavor or another, but mostly I believe that is who (or suitably trained lab assistants of course) is responsible for laboratory water testing. The lab would also be the easiest to find place that probably has a series of calibrated filter media to determine particle size.

    The new poster has said nothing about tests except that he has iron. He further suggests from the color of the water that additional materials are present. If there is a particulate problem a lab could determine what pore size would be required to eliminate it. In the long run this could be cheaper than buying a filter and trying different media until a suitable one is found; or not found.
  8. sjsmithjr

    sjsmithjr Geologist

    Messages:
    295
    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    That is what we like to refer to as an unfounded opinion.

    Water containing iron bacteria can have a red, yellow, or orange color and can produce an oily sheen on the surface. Colloidal iron should have precipitated out after 24 hours in an undisturbed sample.

    Scott R. might want to contact his local health department for assistance with diagnosing his particular problem prior to shelling out $2K. If further testing is deemed appropriate, a listing of acredited labs, by state, can be found at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/labs/
  9. Scott R

    Scott R New Member

    Messages:
    4
    The test results that Gary referred to were posted in another thread. Sorry for the confusion. Here they are again (taken about 1-2 months ago before we bought the house):
    Odor: None
    Turbidity: 25
    Color: 40
    pH: 6.71
    Nitrite Nitrogen: < 0.001
    Nitrate Nitrogen: < 1.00
    Chloride: 15
    Hardness: 76
    Iron: 5.32
    Manganese: 0.26
    Sodium: 7.3
    Sulfate: 19.3

    I don't believe I have bacteria, as I wasn't seeing sliminess and there was no odor (I believe that bacteria results in an odor in the water, but correct me if I'm mistaken on that).

    Well, for better or worse, I had the $2K+ system installed today, which included a venturi nozzle pre-tank (I believe this is air injection), a new and larger tank (my old tank was 19 years old), and a Birm filter which will backwash at 1am every 4 days. I believe that he also mixed some substance (I forget what) directly into the tank to bring my pH levels up a bit, so as to allow the Birm filter to remove my Manganese as well.

    The water was already looking a bit clearer last night, pre-new-expensive-system, but it was still slightly discolored. Post-system, water looks clear, but I'll feel much better if things are still looking good in a week, especially with the extra water usage we'll get hit with this weekend with family staying over.
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Alternety and Sam, I'll stay with my unfounded opinion because it is based on many years of dealing with water test results and equipment suggestions from labs: Chemists are not knowledgeable about water treatment or the available equipment used to solve problems. Plus they charge a fair amount of money for simple tests that cost them very little to do.

    Sam, I have treated a lot of IRB and can't recall it ever causing discoloration in water or an oily film. IMO an oily film is usually caused by manganese reducing bacteria.

    The $2k for the air injection system and a new large pressure tank and possibly tank tee, switch, PR, gauge and boiler drain plus installation by a local dealer is a very fair price.

    Scott, all types of bacteria can cause odor problems but, it depends on how much bacteria as to if there is any odor and most times there isn't. I'm glad to hear the water is cleared up and I hope it stays that way. My concern is that due to your high iron content and the bit of odor you mentioned, that you may develop an IRB problem.
  11. sjsmithjr

    sjsmithjr Geologist

    Messages:
    295
    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    I was going to give you some academic citations re IRB causing an oily film, but I found this one much more on point:

    "Manganese and iron reducing bacteria cause and oily film on water (sic)." Gary Slusser, March 2004. http://forum.************.com (Link blocked by terrylove.com)

    Regarding the discoloration water, from the Handbook of Ground Water Development, Roscoe Moss Company, 1990, p. 371 - "Iron bacteria, such as Crenothrix, Leptothrix, and Gallionella occasionally become established in wells. These bacteria obtain energy for growth from the oxidation of ferrous iron and may have some impact on the concentrations of dissolved iron in ground water. If growth is prolific, they can impart taste and discoloration to water." (Bold text added for emphasis.) I personally observed this phenomenon for the first time in a well located near Burlington, Vermont. While I'm no longer sure of the exact year, it would have been sometime between 1992 and 1995.

    A quick Google searchfor "iron reducing bacteria, groundwater, discoloration" will provide numerous other citations for the phenomenon.

    Your broad based statement regarding chemists remains unfounded and so lacking in merit I will simply choose to ignore it.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2008
  12. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Well I guess since it's in a book somewhere, or on a web site, I must be wrong, and since 2004 when I said IRB can cause an oily film, I've learned I was wrong but... I am not talking academically, are those books and sites talking about treating private well water used in residential and smallish commercial buildings?

    I can not recall having seen discolored red water iron caused by IRB in any building that has an iron and/or IRB problem. And you certainly can't tell if IRB is present by looking at the color of water. And I can't see down a well to look for an oily film on water, if that's what you have seen. I have seen an oily film on water in toilet tanks and found no iron in the water yet some manganese and a slight H2S type odor.

    Water treatment equipment, filters or aeration, used to correct/remove an iron problem will not remove IRB or the symptoms of IRB yet the water will be clear. That is because none of that type of equipment kills IRB and disinfection is the only type of treatment equipment that will.

    Anyway it really doesn't matter, you treat all reducing bacteria with a disinfectant, it's the only way to treat any of them.
  13. berkeley

    berkeley New Member

    Messages:
    8
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