Water treatment system for open tank feed into pressure system.

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Scott Baxla

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I’m needing to treat the water from my well and looking for advice on how to do that.

This is a little long winded: I’m attempting to present as clear of a picture as I can from my novice experience level.

I’m wanting to use the well in a “temporary” water supply system. I need to pump from the well into an open (non pressurized) tank in a movable heated space, and then disconnect from well. A second pump in the tank to establish pressurized water system in that movable structure. I've not chosen this pump yet, so if folks have recommendations...

My well was drilled about 4 years ago and has been sitting dormant. The pump was installed 2 ½ years ago – never turned on until a few months ago (I was concerned about protecting standpipe from freezing). Over the last few months I’ve been trying to get the well operational and clean out the stagnant water. The well is located in Western North Carolina in blue ridge mountains (Fairview NC). The well is 705’ deep, 6” well, PVC casing to granite bedrock @ 60’. Approximate 90’ static level = about 600’ = 900 gal of water stored in well. Supposedly a 7 ½ GPM source at around 650’, which may be true initially(storage in vein), but when I work it hard with a multi hour pumping event, the bottom end measured output (via actual water meter) is around 5 ½ GPM. The pump is 10GPM and the lift chart in pump curve suggest’s I’m close but below that 650’ supply source when I’m getting that volume at the surface. Surface geology shows ample iron and manganese in top soil. (The issues in my county water test.)

Pump is now running.

Surprisingly, the initial water coming out of the well was pretty darn clear – the water that was in the standpipe for 2 ½ years. Once the water that was on the other side of the pump started coming out it was orange/brown, and a sample collected in a jar was very cloudy and over 2+ months never fully precipitated out, but within a few days had precipitated 1/2” of orange slime in the bottom of the jar – which I now understand to be indicative of iron bacteria.

Over a few weeks of 1 hr pumping intervals intermixed with several hour pumping intervals I pumped out over 14,000 gal of water, and it gradually became more clear in samples I collected in jars. I had the county come out and take their sample for my well test, and on that day had the well running for over an hour before they got there. When they tested the sample, it passed for total coliform (iron bacteria was initially believed to be high enough to fail that test. On the phone the inspector had recommended I shock before he tested, but I wanted to see what it was before I shocked). After few weeks, I got the mineral results back and I passed the iron parameter, although it was high @ .24 (.30 does not pass), and I failed the manganese parameter @ .8 (.5 is the upper limit to pass). Lead & Mercury were 1/5 of acceptable level which I’m not real excited about either.

On the day after the county inspector took his sample, I shocked the well. 4 # of calcium hypochlorite – dissolved in 5 gal buckets and poured down air vent, then circulated through pump and drop tube back into air vent for an hour. I let it sit for 2 days, then started flushing the well again. Initially very orange/brown in color. (Leads me to the conclusion that the slime is “dead” bacteria.) I’ve pumped out 25,000 gallons of water. (sometimes 30 minutes or less to try to suck up orange slime collecting at bottom of well, sometimes 8 hrs or more pumping at a time to try to maximize dilution of water held in well. (Believed to be less than 100 gal volume maintained in well when pumping for that long.) Primary water source is believed to be at about 650 ft and I’m thinking I was maintaining the level at or below that level while pumping for these extended pumping intervals. The output water became more and more clear.

On one day after pumping for an hour the sample collected in a white 5 gal bucket looked pretty darn clear and I filled a 200 gal tank with water and its mostly clear. However, if I let the well sit for a day, its less clear (takes about 6-8 minutes to replace water in 700’ of 1 1/4”standpipe), and the orange brown precipitate will form a film on the bottom of the white bucket after a few hours. I'd speculate that there s a mass of dead bacteria collected in the well bore below the circulation zone into the pump. So even though the county says my iron is acceptable for drinking, I’m thinking it will be an issue for faucet and fixture damage. And the county does recommend that I treat the water for manganese (drinkable but fixture damage).

So… My pump guy has recommended a “CSI sidekick” filtration unit which he typically uses in this area – many wells in this area are high in iron and manganese. This system is what he is familiar with. He does say that there is an upper limit of 7.5 pH for this unit, and my water tested at 7.8 pH (& 60 alkalinity & 58 harness). The unit needs to backwash periodically and will occasionally need the media changed out of it. Initial recommendation was to install it in the heated space prior to the open tank that I’m filling from the well. I’m thinking that if the unit needs to backwash (on some sort of computerized maintenance timer?) then it will need to be connected to a pressurized system, and the well side of the tank will only be pressurized when we are filling the tank. (Manual/ visual monitoring for when to hook up to well and fill the tank again.) If its installed after the 2nd pump which pumps from the tank and creates the pressure system, then the water in the tank will not be filtered (accumulating precipitate?) and the backwash cycle potentially could drain the tank when it does an auto backwash and burn up that 2nd pump if the tank volume is low at that time. (I don’t know how much water it uses to backwash). The tank is only 200 gal.

Side question: Does that second pump need to be some sort of special pump to keep the pressurized water from oozing back through the pump? It doesn't really do that with the submersible in the well, and we also have 3 pressure check valves in standpipe to keep it from doing that.

I’m also wondering if having the water sitting in the storage tank offers some other treatment option? A UV light would potentially kill bacteria (creating slime precipitate?). I’m okay with the bacteria (living water), but don’t want damage from uncontrolled precipitate. Would some sort of aeration device (oxidizing) in any way tie up the iron or manganese and precipitate it out? There is also potential to create an 8ft + vertical 6” PVC pipe fill tube prior to the tank (or multiple) with flush valve at the bottom to try to flush precipitate? Does any of this have potential?

Or recommendations on a different treatment system and where to hook it in?
 

Reach4

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I’m wanting to use the well in a “temporary” water supply system. I need to pump from the well into an open (non pressurized) tank in a movable heated space, and then disconnect from well. A second pump in the tank to establish pressurized water system in that movable structure. I've not chosen this pump yet, so if folks have recommendations...
This pump is usually called a pressure pump. A jet pump is a common way to do that. That sits outside of the water and can draw a suction to get water from the tank if needed.

Another way is to put a submersible pump with a flow inducer sleeve in the tank. The pump may be horizontal. The submersible is quieter, and more power efficient. But depending how much pressure you want, that may not be significant for you.

Have you selected your tank? In treating water, there is sometimes precipitate. Some tanks make it easier to remove precipitate. A conical bottom tank can make blowing out the precipitate easy.

Side question: Does that second pump need to be some sort of special pump to keep the pressurized water from oozing back through the pump? It doesn't really do that with the submersible in the well, and we also have 3 pressure check valves in standpipe to keep it from doing that.
You want a check valve, regardless of the type of pump. Some pumps have a check valve built in, but an additional check valve can be added just above the pump for redundancy. It is normally best to not have extra above-water check valves.

A jet pump will need a check valve somewhere. A foot valve is a check valve with a strainer. That is often used as the pickup in a tank, and no further check valve would be used.

So… My pump guy has recommended a “CSI sidekick” filtration unit which he typically uses in this area – many wells in this area are high in iron and manganese. This system is what he is familiar with. He does say that there is an upper limit of 7.5 pH for this unit, and my water tested at 7.8 pH (& 60 alkalinity & 58 harness). The unit needs to backwash periodically and will occasionally need the media changed out of it. Initial recommendation was to install it in the heated space prior to the open tank that I’m filling from the well. I’m thinking that if the unit needs to backwash (on some sort of computerized maintenance timer?) then it will need to be connected to a pressurized system, and the well side of the tank will only be pressurized when we are filling the tank.
Not familiar with that system, but most are designed to work with 30 psi or more coming in.

If you treat the water in the open tank with chlorine or hydrogen peroxide, the iron and manganese will settle out. A backwashing carbon tank can remove the excess residual chlorine or peroxide, or you may be able to tweak the chlorine/peroxide to not having much residual.

I’m also wondering if having the water sitting in the storage tank offers some other treatment option? A UV light would potentially kill bacteria (creating slime precipitate?). I’m okay with the bacteria (living water), but don’t want damage from uncontrolled precipitate. Would some sort of aeration device (oxidizing) in any way tie up the iron or manganese and precipitate it out?
Aeration can precipitate out iron and Mn I think.

Chlorine and H2O2 (peroxide) can kill bacteria, but chlorine more so..

https://terrylove.com/forums/index....izing-extra-attention-to-4-inch-casing.65845/ is my well and plumbing sanitizing writeup. For wells like yours, you could use pellets to provide the chlorine, and maybe even the acid. That way some of the pellets can fall to the bottom, and provide chlorine there. Well Safe Well Sanitizer is one brand.
 
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