Direct well aeration?

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relevante

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I’ve got a well with bad H2S issues. At the moment it’s doing much better after Reach4’s sanitizing procedure yesterday but I’m looking at what can be done to keep it that way. I found the Sulfur Eliminator which seems interesting and commonly successful, but potentially problematic and at the least difficult to install in my northeastern well. If the advantage there is agitation and adding oxygen to the water, what about just bubbling some air through the well? I’m thinking about a small hose with a weight dropped down an appropriate depth, maybe some sort of aeration stone on the end, or maybe just open if that fouls too easily, and a small air pump/compressor. Is this something that’s being done? If not, is there a good known reason why it’s a bad idea or should I give it a try?
 

Reach4

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The aerated water could just stay up high, and not get down to the pump. I presume you were not planning to inject the air below the pump, were you? If you did that, you could not use a flexible line. Lines filled with air will float.
 

relevante

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The aerated water could just stay up high, and not get down to the pump. I presume you were not planning to inject the air below the pump, were you? If you did that, you could not use a flexible line. Lines filled with air will float.
I was planning to weight it and get it down pretty deep. Haven’t yet figured out how much that would take and how practical it is though.
 

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I was planning to weight it and get it down pretty deep. Haven’t yet figured out how much that would take and how practical it is though.
50’ of 1/4” OD line displaces just over 1lb of water. So that shouldn’t be too hard to rig up.
 

relevante

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The aerated water could just stay up high, and not get down to the pump. I presume you were not planning to inject the air below the pump, were you? If you did that, you could not use a flexible line. Lines filled with air will float.
Also based on what I see of the sulfur eliminator it must not take much to change the picture. If I hadn’t seen lots of people saying it worked like magic I’d never believe that little mist of water could do anything.
 

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50’ of 1/4” OD line displaces just over 1lb of water. So that shouldn’t be too hard to rig up.

1/4 OD seems very small. I was picturing something bigger.

Rather than dangling the tube with a weight, it might be better to tape the line to your drop pipe, as you do with the wire.

A bonus is that if you turn of the compressor for a bit, the pressure will level out at pressure that corresponds to the distance between the top of the water and the air outlet. Thus you could measure how full your well is. That was probably not a concern of yours, but it's pretty much free.
 

relevante

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1/4 OD seems very small. I was picturing something bigger.

Rather than dangling the tube with a weight, it might be better to tape the line to your drop pipe, as you do with the wire.

A bonus is that if you turn of the compressor for a bit, the pressure will level out at pressure that corresponds to the distance between the top of the water and the air outlet. Thus you could measure how full your well is. That was probably not a concern of yours, but it's pretty much free.
Good ideas, I think I’d certainly do that when a new pump is being installed, or it’s pulled for any reason.

I have a big air compressor about 100’ from the well so I think I’m just going to plumb up a small filtered and flow controlled line over there to play with. It of course won’t be conclusive either way with no control group, but if the problem doesn’t recur, I’ll be happy either way. I may be able to do some experiments with testing over time too by turning the air off for some time, sampling and then re-testing with air on, and things like that.

The previous owner did happen to stop by while I was sanitizing the well the other day. He asked if I was shocking it and when I said yes, he laughed and said “yeah good luck with that, it won’t help. The only thing that ever worked was those filters.” But I’m also sure he was never as thorough as I was with your advice.

The renter of the cottage that’s attached to the well called this morning to tell me that the water smelled “delightful,” so it was at least a short term success.
 

Bannerman

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How far below the static water level do you plan to release air? That information will be required to determine the amount of air pressure (psi) that will be required before any air will be emitted.

Pumping air into the well is not a good idea as it will cause elements in the water such as iron, manganese, H2S etc that are in a dissolved state, to become oxidized which will cause them to be converted to a non dissolved state which will precipitate out from the water and will likely to accumulate in the well until the pump begins to pump them out as sludge.

A full comprehensive lab test report for your raw well water will be required so as to identify elements that will be affected by oxidation.

Treating the problem after the water exits the well is usually the better course of action.
 

relevante

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How far below the static water level do you plan to release air? That information will be required to determine the amount of air pressure (psi) that will be required before any air will be emitted.

Pumping air into the well is not a good idea as it will cause elements in the water such as iron, manganese, H2S etc that are in a dissolved state, to become oxidized which will cause them to be converted to a non dissolved state which will precipitate out from the water and will likely to accumulate in the well until the pump begins to pump them out as sludge.

A full comprehensive lab test report for your raw well water will be required so as to identify elements that will be affected by oxidation.

Treating the problem after the water exits the well is usually the better course of action.
I just measured the well and hit water at 22' and the bottom at 140'. I'm thinking I would start by sinking the air line most of the way to the bottom which would still only be about 50PSI.

Sludge buildup is definitely a concern and maybe it is the good reason not to do it at all. Was thinking that possibly the answer to that would be to just occasionally either crank the air up to full blast or otherwise create a bunch of turbulence at the bottom and just pump it out periodically. Don't know if that's realistic and/or worth it though. I realize I'm definitely out in experimental territory here. On the other hand if the iron and sulfur reducing bacteria are anaerobic and will be creating their own sludge if I do nothing, controlling them should at least partially offset the deposits that I'd be creating by oxidizing contaminants directly, no?

Also, while introducing air is unconventional, the results in terms of sludge buildup wouldn't be much different than using a dry pellet chlorinator on the well, would they? But without the potentially damaging effects of chlorine on the equipment? That seems somewhat uncommon but definitely something that is done and I've seen it well-recommended here from time to time. I haven't deeply researched it but I also haven't seen an overwhelming amount of people complaining about sludging up their well with those. But perhaps I just haven't found them because I haven't looked hard enough yet.

A water test is on the way. Unfortunately the post office seems to have misplaced my test kit. Agree that it's of course impossible to know what's going on for sure until that comes through.

Not arguing with you about the better course of action overall, as the number of systems I've managed to date is exactly one (prior to this), so I definitely lack experience. But I do have a few reasons for being interested in trying to solve it at the source:

1) It seems like once you've got an SRB problem in the well, the only real long-term solution is chlorination, or otherwise people seem to have periodic breakthroughs where the water heater or plumbing gets infected and things get bad no matter how good the filtration works. I really don't want to do chlorination because of the concern over the disinfection by products. Not that I wouldn't if it was the only answer, but I'd love to avoid it if possible.

2) The well feeds three separate structures, a house that will be used part time, a full time rental cottage, and a barn where the water will be used regularly. The house and the cottage will have some form of filtration, but the barn likely will not. Prior to shocking the well, even washing hands in the barn was pretty disgusting. Right now it's outstanding, and if I could keep it that way it would be a big bonus. Also just in terms of cost and maintenance, if those two systems can be simpler and with less or no consumables, that would be a bigger than usual bonus, given that there will be two of them.

3) The idea has just grabbed my curiosity. I'm curious if e.g. perhaps there's some proper level of aeration that disturbs things enough to limit the bacterial growth but also doesn't cause all the contaminants to precipitate.

So in short I'm probably not going to be able to resist sinking an air line and playing with it. But I will definitely do a water test prior to doing so and then test again after it's had some time to run and so on.
 
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Bannerman

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Adding air to any type of bacteria, will usually make a bacteria problem worse. This is why an AIO system is not recommended when there is any bacteria present. Unless at high dose to ensure full bacteria neutralization, H202 is also not recommended since hydrogen peroxide breaks down into oxygen which will support the further breeding of any residual bacteria.

Even as Ozone also breaks down to its native oxygen state, an ozone generator is often added to an AIO filtration system for disinfecting the top portion of Katalox Light or other appropriate filtration media as that will be where bacteria will propagate.

Chlorine is most utilized since it is effective, reliable and low in cost. It is often injected to the incoming water stream directly before a simple contact tank which will increase the contact time for the chlorine to act on H2S, Iron, Manganese and bacteria. The solid debris that precipitates out, can then be easily eliminated periodically using a blowoff drain port at the bottom of the tank.

Directly following the contact tank, a back washing carbon filtration system is often utilized to remove any residual chlorine, suspended debris and disinfection byproducts before the water flows to home fixtures.
 
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relevante

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Adding air to any type of bacteria, will usually make a bacteria problem worse. This is why an AIO system is not recommended when there is any bacteria present. Unless at high dose to ensure full bacteria neutralization, H202 is also not recommended since hydrogen peroxide breaks down into oxygen which will support the further breeding of any residual bacteria.

Even as Ozone also breaks down to its native oxygen state, an ozone generator is often added to an AIO filtration system for disinfecting the top portion of Katalox Light or other appropriate filtration media as that will be where bacteria will propagate.

Chlorine is most utilized since it is effective, reliable and low in cost. It is often injected to the incoming water stream directly before a simple contact tank which will increase the contact time for the chlorine to act on H2S, Iron, Manganese and bacteria. The solid debris that precipitates out, can then be easily eliminated periodically using a blowoff drain port at the bottom of the tank.

Directly following the contact tank, a back washing carbon filtration system is often utilized to remove any residual chlorine, suspended debris and disinfection byproducts before the water flows to home fixtures.
OK interesting. I just dug a bit on this and learned of a third type of bacteria in addition to strict aerobes and anaerobes: faculative anaerobes. This includes coliforms and IRB, but interestingly, not SRB. So if I had to guess, aeration would help the SRB/H2S problem, but possibly at the cost of worsening any IRB/coliform issues.

I have to admit, it's starting to sound counterproductive and/or more trouble than it's worth, although so does constantly feeding chlorine to replace what is largely a nuisance problem with a potentially carcinogenic one, although I do understand the fact that the carbon removes most of the known issues.

Then again though, why do so many people love the Sulfur Eliminator if it's essentially doing the same thing via a different mechanism? Are they just not noticing the side effects because they're overwhelmed with joy at not smelling rotten eggs in the shower?
 
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Valveman

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I also think it wouldn't be much different than what Sulfur Eliminator does in a well. If your pump is not sitting close to the bottom of the well you have some "rat hole" for the crud to fall into. But if/when it fills to the pump the well will need to be bailed out.

I work for some cities that have a 3/4" poly line ran down beside the pump in every well. They use this to circulate chlorine to the bottom of the well.
 

relevante

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I also think it wouldn't be much different than what Sulfur Eliminator does in a well. If your pump is not sitting close to the bottom of the well you have some "rat hole" for the crud to fall into. But if/when it fills to the pump the well will need to be bailed out.

I work for some cities that have a 3/4" poly line ran down beside the pump in every well. They use this to circulate chlorine to the bottom of the well.
Interesting.

This doesn't really fit this thread exactly, but it's the same well, and since you're here:

I installed a CSV in the house I'm selling to move to the new place with the sulfur well and it's been amazing. A real game changer in shower experience and the utility room there was really cramped, so the ability to hang a small tank on the wall and free up some floor space was also a huge deal.

I'd love to install one here as well, but I'm not sure there's a good way. The well is about 100' from three different structures that use it, in three different directions. It appears that the plumbing just branches underground at the well, feeding all three structures directly from there. The main house has a pressure tank and switch. The second structure (a rental cottage) also has a pressure tank, and the third (a barn) has nothing at all. I don't immediately see any way a CSV can work with this setup, but if there's a good way to do it fairly easily, I'd probably go for it when I redo the filters. Thanks.
 

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Interesting.

This doesn't really fit this thread exactly, but it's the same well, and since you're here:

I installed a CSV in the house I'm selling to move to the new place with the sulfur well and it's been amazing. A real game changer in shower experience and the utility room there was really cramped, so the ability to hang a small tank on the wall and free up some floor space was also a huge deal.

I'd love to install one here as well, but I'm not sure there's a good way. The well is about 100' from three different structures that use it, in three different directions. It appears that the plumbing just branches underground at the well, feeding all three structures directly from there. The main house has a pressure tank and switch. The second structure (a rental cottage) also has a pressure tank, and the third (a barn) has nothing at all. I don't immediately see any way a CSV can work with this setup, but if there's a good way to do it fairly easily, I'd probably go for it when I redo the filters. Thanks.
The CSV would need to go before the first tee. In your arear the frost line is probably too deep to put it in a valve box before the first tee. We make the CSV125 to fit inside the well casing for cases like this. However, it doesn't like iron or anything slimy in the water. The slimy stuff will coat an o-rnig causing it to leak. It will leak back down the well and not make a mess anywhere, but when it gets to leaking bad enough to cause pump cycling when no one is using water it will need to be replaced.

This is why I like the Sulfur Eliminator as it cleans the water in the well before it gets to the pump and CSV. If your aeration thing works, you can hang a CSV125 in the well and have the same strong constant pressure you had at the previous house.
 

relevante

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The CSV would need to go before the first tee. In your arear the frost line is probably too deep to put it in a valve box before the first tee. We make the CSV125 to fit inside the well casing for cases like this. However, it doesn't like iron or anything slimy in the water. The slimy stuff will coat an o-rnig causing it to leak. It will leak back down the well and not make a mess anywhere, but when it gets to leaking bad enough to cause pump cycling when no one is using water it will need to be replaced.

This is why I like the Sulfur Eliminator as it cleans the water in the well before it gets to the pump and CSV. If your aeration thing works, you can hang a CSV125 in the well and have the same strong constant pressure you had at the previous house.
Ok that makes sense. Great to know there might be an option. Thanks.

It’s amazing to me that the CSV isn’t way more common than it is. Just another example of why I like doing my own stuff and don’t always listen to the “way we’ve always done it.”
 

Reach4

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An idea: A possibility would be to have the 60 psi CSV and 10 gallon tank in building 1, set for 50/70 for example. Building 2 and building 3 would be fed via bypass PRVs set to maybe 55 psi or 65 psi.
 
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