Treating Iron Bacteria and low pH and moderate radon

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Jasonir129

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Hi all, I'm looking to add and modify my current filtration circuit which consists of:

1) well tank
2) injection port with static mixer (stenner peristaltic pump pulls from tank with 2 parts water to 1 part 17% sodium hydroxide to raise pH)
3) retention tank (this is the one: https://www.nelsencorp.com/itemdetail/RETENTION TANK-1248-SS)
4) 20" big blue filter for sediment
5) water softener

Here are my water test results (before filtration): https://gosimplelab.com/UeKR8mNjw3/overview
low pH (~5.5 depending on the day), variety of other things including total coliform (shocking well seemed to take care of that)

we have done other tests:
iron bacteria: the test with the ball, we had dense sludge -- we see orange film in our toilets and slime in the tailpieces of our sink drains
radon in water: 1960 pCi/L (not sky high, but it's there)

I was thinking that we could add chlorine or peroxide injection to deal with iron bacteria, use the retention tank for dwell time, and then follow with a backwashing GAC filter to pull out the chlorine or peroxide. I guess there are two main issues of concern:

1) If was use a backwashing GAC it seems like it will collect the radon in the water, is this ok? All of the GAC filters I see for this purpose are non-backwash types
2) It looks like we can add chlorine or peroxide to the tank with the NaOH, so should we add a second injection system? Or maybe I would just ditch the NaOH and get a calcite+corosex backwashing filter and use the injection just for chlorine?

I got some my filtration gear from Allan (ditttohead) a few years ago and it's been great for the stuff we were looking to address, just wasn't aware of the iron bacteria issue at the time. I'm getting feedback from him on this too, just looking to see if the community here has any other creative ideas how to minimize what I add/change.

Thanks in advance for any feedback on this.
 

Reach4

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I would start with sanitizing my well and plumbing. I expect that will have a good effect for a while, but I don't know how long that is. It is something best not done in really cold weather.

Your contact tank appears have a blow off port to let you blow out the sediment. Do you use that? Do you get much?

Adding bleach to the NaOH sound nice. Usually you follow that with a backwashing GAC tank to remove the residual chlorine.

Note that NaOH stabilizes bleach... makes it less active. So I don't know how this will play.
 

Jasonir129

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I would start with sanitizing my well and plumbing. I expect that will have a good effect for a while, but I don't know how long that is. It is something best not done in really cold weather.

Your contact tank appears have a blow off port to let you blow out the sediment. Do you use that? Do you get much?

Adding bleach to the NaOH sound nice. Usually you follow that with a backwashing GAC tank to remove the residual chlorine.

Note that NaOH stabilizes bleach... makes it less active. So I don't know how this will play.
Thanks for the input, but it's really persistent. This is an issue everyone in the neighborhood has, even after shocking the well and plumbing. I think it's something worth treating through filtration, then I'll also have extra protection against coliform and other junk.

I do use the blow out port every week or so. There's not usually much in it, a second or so of orange water (I have a clear tube from the blowdown to my stand pipe so I can see how things look). I think it just gets some larger solids and I guess oxidized iron. I rely on the 20" sediment filter to get down to 5micron. I don't think any of that helps with iron bacteria, right?

Yeah, I'm fine with the bleach injection, I think it should work ok. I guess the main issues are that I would need to add a second peristaltic pump and tank (Allan said that NaOH and bleach shouldn't be held together) and that the added carbon filter would trap radon which we have low-ish levels of.

Is anyone familiar with using a backwashing GAC filter with radon? From everything I can find it's not recommended, but I think that's from the perspective of collecting radon. If I'm not concerned with the radon reducing ability I'm guessing this is not a big deal... Allan said I would throw the tank away every couple of years and get a new tank and fresh carbon. I guess there's also the issue of it becoming an emitter of gamma radiation... am I creating a problem by solving another? Maybe I should suck it up and get an aerator or the airwell and finally deal with this?
 

Gsmith22

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this thread will interest you regarding radon:


Radon doesn't stay radon. Radon collected in your GAC will give off an alpha or beta particle transforming it into a different radioactive element eventually ending up as lead in a stable state. reivew the 4 radioactive decay chains to see what radon collected by your GAC filter will become. based on the longest half lives of the decay chain products, radon collected by your GAC filter will become some mixture of stable Lead, radioactive Bismuth, or radioactive Lead.
 

Reach4

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Alan knows.

The presence of radon is not going to hurt using carbon for residual chlorine removal.

Get a nice low-range chlorine test to check the residual. I think you would like to see maybe 4 ppm before the carbon tank. Add a boiler drain or two to let you take samples.
 

Jasonir129

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Alan knows.

The presence of radon is not going to hurt using carbon for residual chlorine removal.

Get a nice low-range chlorine test to check the residual. I think you would like to see maybe 4 ppm before the carbon tank. Add a boiler drain or two to let you take samples.
Thanks Reach4 and Gsmith22!

So after a bit more looking around the forums I learned I should also be researching ozone! This seems like a potential avenue for sterilizing/killing iron bacteria and other bacteria and not needing carbon for cleanup (which raised the issue of collecting radon etc.). Any of you have experience with ozone? I see the AIO3 has gotten some attention on this site.
 

ditttohead

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Ozone is an excellent method of killing stuff in water. What is your well design? Traditional submersible pump, 60/40 switch, 40 gallon tank? Flow rate?
 

Jasonir129

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Ozone is an excellent method of killing stuff in water. What is your well design? Traditional submersible pump, 60/40 switch, 40 gallon tank? Flow rate?
Hi Allan, thanks for reply. Yes, traditional submersible pump, 60/40 switch. Our pressure tank is 32 gallon but we’re probably not far off from needing to replace it if that matters. Our flow rate is roughly 7gpm for a five bedroom house.
 

WellOff

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7 gpm flow is quite an ask*. I'd suggest revisiting this requirement. A burst rate of 7gpm, maybe, but for any length of time you're going to struggle to obtain proper results.

* Obviously, it can be done, but, as they say, just about anything can be done/achieved given enough money.

IRB has two components: 1) Bacteria; 2) Iron. The bacteria isn't harmful, health-wise. It, however, locks up the iron. You have to kill the bacteria in order to properly deal with the iron. As you're obviously aware, IRB can introduce a very slimy situation; one can't really filter it (it has to be first killed).

My well (which I'd completely rehabbed from being abandoned* when I got my place) has IRB, iron (of course) at about 2ppm and about 0.2 ppm of manganese. My "solution" was a contact tank with pulsed/contact [via meter] injection of H2O2 (I use less than 1 gallon of H2O2 per year- fed from a solution tank and Stenner pump), a backwash filter (recently went from catalytic carbon to Katalox light [so far this has taken my water from about 95% great to at least 98% great]) and then a dual element cartridge final filter in a 10" big blue housing.

* It was abandoned, as a relatively new well, because the people before me couldn't manage the IRB (too cheap to get proper professional help).

I can do about 2 gpm sustained throughput: required contact time for H2O2 is 20 minutes; it's a 40 gallon tank, so, basically, a sustained throughput of 2 gpm). Max system flow, based on my well pump, is 10 gpm (well is good for 30+gpm). If I wanted more I'd have to have multiple contact tanks and or a buffer tank.

Chlorine is quick for killing bacteria and OK for iron (and such). H2O2 is great for dealing with iron (and such) and OK for bacteria: I stopped have the water tested as I never came up with any bacteria issues- IRB was also managed fine as iron was filtered out (manganese, which isn't a big deal but I wanted perfect water, isn't dealt with by chlorine or H2O2 [not my experience/understanding]; this is why I went with Katalox Light- I'd proven its effectiveness via a test cartridge from Alan]).

Pay close attention to any required contact time (have to compute solution use accurately). That will provide a base for a realistic flow/draw [properly treated] rate. Filtering devices will also have max throughputs.

I'm NOT a professional. All my "advice" is to be taken as a basis for another to do actual research (verify!).
 

Jasonir129

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7 gpm flow is quite an ask*. I'd suggest revisiting this requirement. A burst rate of 7gpm, maybe, but for any length of time you're going to struggle to obtain proper results.

* Obviously, it can be done, but, as they say, just about anything can be done/achieved given enough money.

IRB has two components: 1) Bacteria; 2) Iron. The bacteria isn't harmful, health-wise. It, however, locks up the iron. You have to kill the bacteria in order to properly deal with the iron. As you're obviously aware, IRB can introduce a very slimy situation; one can't really filter it (it has to be first killed).

My well (which I'd completely rehabbed from being abandoned* when I got my place) has IRB, iron (of course) at about 2ppm and about 0.2 ppm of manganese. My "solution" was a contact tank with pulsed/contact [via meter] injection of H2O2 (I use less than 1 gallon of H2O2 per year- fed from a solution tank and Stenner pump), a backwash filter (recently went from catalytic carbon to Katalox light [so far this has taken my water from about 95% great to at least 98% great]) and then a dual element cartridge final filter in a 10" big blue housing.

* It was abandoned, as a relatively new well, because the people before me couldn't manage the IRB (too cheap to get proper professional help).

I can do about 2 gpm sustained throughput: required contact time for H2O2 is 20 minutes; it's a 40 gallon tank, so, basically, a sustained throughput of 2 gpm). Max system flow, based on my well pump, is 10 gpm (well is good for 30+gpm). If I wanted more I'd have to have multiple contact tanks and or a buffer tank.

Chlorine is quick for killing bacteria and OK for iron (and such). H2O2 is great for dealing with iron (and such) and OK for bacteria: I stopped have the water tested as I never came up with any bacteria issues- IRB was also managed fine as iron was filtered out (manganese, which isn't a big deal but I wanted perfect water, isn't dealt with by chlorine or H2O2 [not my experience/understanding]; this is why I went with Katalox Light- I'd proven its effectiveness via a test cartridge from Alan]).

Pay close attention to any required contact time (have to compute solution use accurately). That will provide a base for a realistic flow/draw [properly treated] rate. Filtering devices will also have max throughputs.

I'm NOT a professional. All my "advice" is to be taken as a basis for another to do actual research (verify!).
Thanks, that's some great feedback and I appreciate your experience with this nuisance issue. Just to clarify -- the 7gpm is the well yield test result. So like you said, combo between sustained well output and pump capacity. I would guess we rarely pull over 2gpm for anything longer than a burst so something around 2-3gpm is likely fine.

This is interesting -- so what byproducts are left in the water with H2O2? Does Katalox Lite pull it out? The main reason I was thinking ozone is because it doesn't leave any chemicals for me to pull out like chlorine. Looks like there aren't any bad byproducts? https://www.uswatersystems.com/blog/chlorine-or-hydrogen-peroxide
Lots of sources to check on this, I see a ton of pages discussing H2O2 treatment.

Does katalox lite collect radon? This is my reason for avoiding chlorine (GAC collects radon).

Any thoughts on a filter like this one:
I want to see what Alan is offering, I'd trust his systems over this, but this is an interesting alternative.
 

Reach4

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Collecting radon sounds like it is a long-term collection. Half life of radon is less that 4 days. So it would be the decay products that would get collected, I presume.

I think that you don't want the decay to happen in your lungs, leaving behind the decay products. I have not made a strong study of this, but my thought is that GAC collecting radon is a good thing.

I am thinking that ferrous iron reacting with O3 would produce ferric iron, and that can be mechanically filtered by the KL. The KL also facilitates oxidizing ferrous to ferric, but the O3 would pre-do some of that earlier letting the process be more effective.
 

ditttohead

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We tend to lean on Chlorine or ozone for bacterial issues, especially iron bacteria. H2o2 can work but it can also do the opposite if not dosed correctly. H2o2 is a much better oxidant than chlorine. ozone is probably a great solution for your application.

Here is a traditional ozone system that is common for this application.

1668554650153.png
 

Jasonir129

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We tend to lean on Chlorine or ozone for bacterial issues, especially iron bacteria. H2o2 can work but it can also do the opposite if not dosed correctly. H2o2 is a much better oxidant than chlorine. ozone is probably a great solution for your application.

Here is a traditional ozone system that is common for this application.

View attachment 88082
We tend to lean on Chlorine or ozone for bacterial issues, especially iron bacteria. H2o2 can work but it can also do the opposite if not dosed correctly. H2o2 is a much better oxidant than chlorine. ozone is probably a great solution for your application.

Here is a traditional ozone system that is common for this application.

View attachment 88082
Thanks, this looks great, can you help me spec it out?

Can the injection point share NaOH injection? Would my current retention tank be good?
 
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