Well pumping up lots of black stuff. Filter needs changing every 5-7 days.

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by ZoneIII, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. ZoneIII

    ZoneIII New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Illinois
    Last fall, my whole house filters suddenly started to become filthy in a matter of a few days. Before then, I would change them every 3 to 4 months as routine maintenance but they were never clogged. At first, I thought that my old Sears bladder pressure tank had gone bad and the crud might be from the tank itself due to a ruptured bladder. It was 20 years old and, believe it or not and despite what someone said in another thread, the Sears pressure tank really did last that long. But the feet were almost rusted off and I was about to replace it anyway when my whole house filters suddenly started getting filthy every few days. Also, I noticed that the old tank was losing about 5-7 pounds of pressure every 3 to 4 months. In any case, it was time to replace the pressure tank anyway so I replaced it with a Well-X Trol WX-250 diaphragm tank and I thought everything would be fine but, unfortunately, the problem persists.

    The crud in the filter was orange and a little research showed that the orange might be caused by rust bacteria. I first treated the well with Rust-Out which really allowed me to pump out a lot of crap. I then treated the system with bleach for 24 hours and I recycled the bleach/water through the well with a hose for a couple hours to, hopefully, disinfect the well casing. If I had rust bacteria, the bleach may have killed it because I no longer get the orange stuff. Now it's gray/black as it was in the past except that I have to change the filter at least once a week now while, in the past, I changed it every 3 or 4 months as mentioned above. In fact, in the past, I could use a 1 micron whole house filter and it wouldn't clog even after 3 or 4 months. I'm now using 10 and 20 micron filters until I fix the problem I'm having.

    My house is about 90 years old. The well was there when I bought the house about 34 years ago. If I remember correctly, the well is about 75 feet deep. My pump is about 12 or 15 years old and it pumps fine and with good pressure. The pressure switch is set for 40/60. Even now, my water is crystal clear and has no bad smell at all after it goes through the whole house filter and my water softener. In fact, it has no bad smell even when I bypass the filter and water softener. It has never had a bad smell and it tastes fine. However, if I didn't soften my water, it would be pretty hard - enough so to cause rust stains on fixtures.

    The well casing is iron. I would have to go out and measure it but I think it's about 6-8 inches in diameter. I'm wondering if the casing itself may have suddenly started rusting and is causing the problem. I have read that it may be possible to line the casing with plastic pipe. I have also read that this problem can occur if the water table is somehow disturbed (construction, etc.) but there has been no new construction in my immediate area but there has been some ongoing road work since last fall about 1/4 mile away. I live about 25 miles west of Chicago.

    I would greatly appreciate any information and suggestions from someone who has dealt with a similar problem. Fortunately, my water is fine but I have to change my whole house filters every 5-7 days now and they are really filthy gray/black when I do.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  2. masterpumpman

    masterpumpman New Member

    Messages:
    729
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I suspect that the casing has a hole in it allowing debris to enter. To eliminate drilling a new well I would consider installing a cyclone type filter valveman will know!
    Placing a liner in the well may be an option but it too is only a band-aid. I suspect that the particles are only coming from the cold water and not the hot water. If this is so, it tells me that the debris is settling in the hot water tank.
    You can also install a 40 gallon galvanized tank between the pump and the pressure switch. The input from the well goes in the center plug in the side of the tank and out the top center of the tank. It may get you by for some time but keep in mind the pump is still pumping the debris, causing your pump to wear out sooner.
  3. ZoneIII

    ZoneIII New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Illinois
    Thanks Porky! I'll check out the valve you mentioned.

    The good news is that the stuff is not making it into the hot water heater. It's all being caught in my whole house filter which is installed after the pressure tank but before the water softener so the debris does pass through my new pressure tank but makes it no further than the filter. All the water at the outlets is crystal clear and smells fine. So the only problem is that I have to change my whole house filter about once a week intead of every 3 or 4 months as I did in the past. I could live with that but there is obviously something wrong and I rather fix it.

    Thanks again for your reply.

    Tom
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
  4. justwater

    justwater Well Drilling/Service

    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    FL/GA
    fyi.. a liner pipe could be a longterm fix, its not always a bandaid. it just depends on the well and how they were installed in your area. if it is flush casing and not slotted and your water enters from under the casing then yes.. you can line out the entire well casing and it will be a longterm fix. i'm not a fan of filters and such for this type of problem (rusted out casing) as you can be getting surface water and other contaminates into your well.. good luck
  5. ZoneIII

    ZoneIII New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Illinois
    Justwater: I agree with you. The idea of doing drastic things with special filters and tanks that doesn't fix the problem but, rather, just let's me live with it doesn't make sense to me. I looked up centrifugal filters and if the one mentioned in this thread is the type I found,that is out of the question. If I just want to live with it, I can just keep changing filters once a week for a couple bucks. That makes much more sense than installing expensive equipment to accomplish the same thing. Besides, I have no place to put another tank, etc. In fact, it would make better sense, IMO, to have a new well drilled than to go to all that trouble and expense and not actually fix the root problem.

    I really want to fix the problem, not just live with it and I'm hoping that someone here may have had a similar problem come up suddenly after so many decades with no problem at all. Sleeving is something I ran across while doing research before posting my question here. It makes sense to me as a possible fix.

    I'll see if I get any more responses and then I will probably just call our local well company and see what they have to say. I always like to try to fix things myself first, though.
  6. masterpumpman

    masterpumpman New Member

    Messages:
    729
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Of coarse the best solution is a new well but calling a reputable, qualified, licensed and hopefully National Ground Water Association Certified well driller is your best bet. They will know what is the best solution for your problem in your area. They shouldn't charge you for their advise by telephone. You might Email Harold Albrecht at harold.albrecht@yahoo.com, tell him Porky referred you to contact him.
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Rust Out, Iron Out, Super Iron Out or any other product like that should never be put down a well.

    Shocking a well with chlorine can damage a pump, drop pipe, steel casing and cause water quality problems. Chlorine and Iron Out type products should never be mixed, that is dangerous.

    The naked eye usually can not see particulates smaller than 50-45 micron simply filters invisible 'stuff'. Filtering with lower rated micron filters is a waste of money.

    Orange water does not mean Iron Reducing Bacteria (IRB), it is caused by ferrous iron (soluble) being oxidized and converted to ferric iron (rust). Symptoms of IRB is a slimy, snotty clear to black film on things in the toilet tank, or those filter cartridges. Disposable cartridge filters where never meant to be used for "whole house" filtration, they are for point of use (POU) like an ice maker, coffee or iced tea machine etc.. IRB and other reducing bacteria can cause odor or not.

    Gray/black may mean there is H2S, manganese etc. in the water. Why it just showed up now after decades does not mean there has to be something wrong with with the well. The construction could be the cause of a localized groundwater quality change. Especially if there is any blasting or deep digging for any type of footers.

    The best choice for sediment filtration would have been a backwashed filter many years ago. It could fit where your salt tank is now if you have a separate salt tank type softener, and a backwashed filter doesn't take up much more space than 10-12" along a wall and 18" out from the wall.

    The only way to know there is a problem with the well casing is a down hole camera inspection.

    A new well does not come with a guarantee of water quality, and a new well could have worse water quality than the old well.
  8. JPat

    JPat New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Johnsburg, Il
    Are these particles metal...put a magnet to them. If they are, the well casing is deteriorating and has collected at the bottom of the well. When you draw "hard" from the well they are becoming suspended and pulled into the house. Your local well driller would then be able to hydro-flush or air-lift your well to clean it out. This is only a temp. fix, but may last another 10-20years before collecting.
    If they are not metal...have it tested to find out if it could be a product of the formation that the well was drilled into. Odd possibility that a disturbance in the formation may be causing this. EARTHQUAKE! hehe Happened once in N.Illinois.
    But definetly find out what exactly you are dealing with, then should be easier to remedy.
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