high iron well water with greensand filter

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by bxd20, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. bxd20

    bxd20 New Member

    Nov 12, 2012
    My wife and I bought a lake cottage in central Ohio a couple years ago. It has a deep well (I am told probably 300'). The water tested safe biologically, but I have yet to do a complete analysis (which online services are best?).

    The water out of the ground is very deep orange, it looks like tomato soup. Iron. I had read that one type settles out, and the other doesn't, so I put some in a water bottle. After a few minutes, it didn't look much different. After a couple hours, I thought some had settled to the bottom but wasn't sure if my eyes were playing tricks on me and I didn't want to disturb the bottle. After sitting overnight, there was clearly some iron on the bottom of the bottle and the water color had cleared somewhat, but nowhere near looking "clear". So I assume I have both ferrous and ferric iron?

    There is a greensand filtration system we inherited with this cottage, with solution tank made by Hague which I put potassium permanganate into. When running correctly it does a wonderful job. Problem is I have a really tough time "dialing in" the right maintenance plan and amount of pot perm.

    When we moved in, I paid the Hague dealer to come by and show me the system's operation and go over the schedule.
    - The timer dial had been set to run once every 9 days.
    - The tech told me to stir the tank and run an extra regenerate once a month. Every second month, right before the regenerate, to dump in 2.5 lbs of pot perm.

    This was his initial recommendation. Then I explained to him that the cottage was only a weekend getaway that we would visit for 1-2 weekends per month. Based on that, he said I could take the system off of automatic regeneration, and just make sure I run a regenerate every time we show up, and I could cut back the pot perm a bit too.

    For a few months, I would run a regenerate on every visit (1-2 times a month), and dump in about 1 lb of pot perm every other month. The water looked good.

    Because we were using so little water (in my opinion anyway, with no dishwasher, no clothes washer, no outside water use, etc) I started cutting back the regenerates, doing them every other visit, with no noticeable consequences.

    Until this past weekend. I ran the regenerate. When it was done making noises we flushed our toilet a couple times and the water coming out was very rusty. I went to the filter system and found the tank overflowing with deep purple water. I shut everything down in the nick of time ruining only some towels. I found that the float inside the tank was stuck because the tube around it was out of place, which I fixed. I ran another regenerate cycle, and everything seemed to go ok.

    Did we simply flush the toilet too early? Was it not done totally? The last set of pins on the dial are around the 80min mark, but the dial goes clear to 160min which is the point where the controller moves back to the "Service" position. I was told I can use the water as soon as the last tank fill happens, would flushing the toilet before then cause the tank to overflow? So if the controller isn't in "service" yet, but all regeneration steps are complete, do I need to manually advance it before using water?

    In general, does it make sense for me to not regenerate as long as the water is clear, and then to only use as much pot perm as needed? Or am I messing something up by not running it enough? We do not drink or cook with this water, it is only for toilet/washing hands/shower.

    Also I notice that if we only have one tap going, the water is crystal clear. If we flush the toilet and open both sinks, the water turns orange. Is this indicative of the flow rate exceeding the filter's ability, or does it mean I'm not putting enough pot perm in the filter? It's not a problem, we never "need" to run more than one thing at a time, I just want to understand.

    Thanks -- sorry for a million questions as I learn.

  2. bxd20

    bxd20 New Member

    Nov 12, 2012
    Maybe I overwhelmed everyone with too many questions up front. :)

    Let me break down my thoughts into smaller questions.

    First, since it seems I have both soluble and insoluble iron, and a lot of it (dark as tomato soup when unfiltered), I assume I can't replace the whole greensand/pot perm setup with a cartridge filter, 1 or 5 micron? Like Purenex or Culligan makes? I'm not interested in getting 'drinkable' water, just clear to the eye for baths. The cartridges seem cheap, I wouldn't have an issue with changing the cartridge every 200 gallons or so.
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