Well Water w/ Iron & IRB Treatment- Thoughts?

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Bob Hartley

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Hi guys - sorry, this is a long post. I have had three different water companies come out and quote me anywhere from $5,000 - $7,000 to solve my well water issues (I don't have that kind of money). Ever since then I have scoured the internet and lurked this forum, finally deciding to post to see if you guys can help me make a decision on what to purchase. Water test done by a certified lab came back with the following in mg/L:

IRB confirmed present
Iron: 3.09
Calcium: 50.98
Chloride: 5.6
Magnesium: 4.68
Manganese: 0.034
Nitrates: 2.5
Sulfates: 1
TDS: 239
pH: 7.45
Total Hardness (grains): 8.12

There were many other parameters tested for which my water came back negative, so I won't mention all of those. Notably, there are usually only two of us using water within the home regularly. Lastly, my well GPM using the draw down testing method resulted in 15 - 16 GPM after repeated testing; however, if I just open a hose spigot into a 5 gallon bucket I get about 5 - 6 gpm...

All I want is to make sure my well water is always properly sanitized, to remove the iron & manganese, to remove large particles / sediment, and probably to soften the water as well.

With this in mind my first step is to have a chlorine injection system with static mixer and contact tank. Most things I've read state to install this after the well's pressure tank so that sediment does not build up in the pressure tank, etc.
My second step is where I am not sure what to do - will a carbon filter be enough to remove the ferric iron, excess chlorine, DBPs, and most large sediments? Which would be better in this situation: catalytic carbon or GAC? Or should I get an iron & manganese specific filter and then install a carbon filter after it? If that is the case I am leaning towards filox / pro-ox / mang-ox since everything I've read about katalox light puts me off, greensand is a pain to regenerate, and birm is very pH specific. Any thoughts either way...?
The third and last step would be a water softener. I have calculated roughly 48,000 grains to be the "right" size without being too large, but please tell me if this is way off.

The very last thing is are there any specific sites you generally recommend or trust for quality water filter products? If you can't post the links here please PM me.

If you have taken the time to read all of this I appreciate it very much! Please share your thoughts about all of this with me.
 
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Bannerman

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You specified ferrric iron. Perhaps the quantity of ferrous iron was indicated?

If the iron amount is actually ferrous, that is significant enough for a dedicated iron reduction system. Katalox Light is the current effective iron reduction media, but using chlorine in conjunction will assist in iron reduction while also addressing the IRB issue. What are your concerns with KL?

A back washing GAC tank will be effective in eliminating any chlorine remaining after the iron reduction system.

A softener with 48K grains total capacity will contain 1.5 cubic feet of resin. To increase efficiency, the maximum capacity used before regeneration takes place will be either 30K grains when regenerated with 9 lbs salt, or 36K grains while using 12 lbs salt.

Anticipating 60 gals/day per person X 9 grains per gallon (8.12 is more than 8 gpg) = 1,080 grains per day softening load.

30,000 gr / 1,080 = 27.778 days so the estimated regeneration frequency would be every 26-27 days which is OK if the iron is fully removed prior to the softener.
 

ditttohead

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In general, a carbon system can be reasonably effective at iron reduction when the levels are low enough and you have done a good job oxidizing the iron. Since you are looking at a contact tank these levels should be ok. I would also consider a layer of Clinoptilolite under the carbon. This media separates surprisingly well with carbon and adds a little extra low cost fine sediment (ferric) iron reduction.
 

Bob Hartley

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You specified ferrric iron. Perhaps the quantity of ferrous iron was indicated?

If the iron amount is actually ferrous, that is significant enough for a dedicated iron reduction system. Katalox Light is the current effective iron reduction media, but using chlorine in conjunction will assist in iron reduction while also addressing the IRB issue. What are your concerns with KL?

A back washing GAC tank will be effective in eliminating any chlorine remaining after the iron reduction system.

A softener with 48K grains total capacity will contain 1.5 cubic feet of resin. To increase efficiency, the maximum capacity used before regeneration takes place will be either 30K grains when regenerated with 9 lbs salt, or 36K grains while using 12 lbs salt.

Anticipating 60 gals/day per person X 9 grains per gallon (8.12 is more than 8 gpg) = 1,080 grains per day softening load.

30,000 gr / 1,080 = 27.778 days so the estimated regeneration frequency would be every 26-27 days which is OK if the iron is fully removed prior to the softener.

Now that you mention it, the report stated 0 ferrous iron and 3.09 ferric iron, but that doesn't sound right since my water is not red / orange coming out of the tap but rather only subtly tinged yellow. If the lab got that wrong it makes me wonder about the other results...

The potential drastic increase in pH with a KL filter concerns me, as well as all of the articles & reviews I've read about the media turning to "cement" eventually. There doesn't seem to be a reason given for these media failures, either. On the other hand it seems as though high % mang-ox based filters last a long time. I'd rather have KL due to lower backwashing requirements alone but I'm not sold on it.

Thank you for your thoughts on a 48k softener!
 

Reach4

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I've read about the media turning to "cement" eventually. There doesn't seem to be a reason given for these media failures, either.
As far as I can tell, these are from insufficient backwashing. The low end of the recommended backwash levels are too low IMO. I am not a pro.
 

ditttohead

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Agree with Reach. All manganese dioxide ore based medias can "cement", this is typically due to insufficient backwash rates/frequencies. We typically set the backwash rate on all iron reduction medias to the high side of the recommended backwash rates. For the most part KL has been very successful, FYI, we are using a new media that will likely replace KL in the near future.
 

ditttohead

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LOL, been testing it for several months now... more manganese dioxide ore than KL, slightly higher backwash rate required (similar to Greensand+), minimal pH rise during testing, but some questions have come up that we are trying to answer. For 80% of applications, we will likely replace KL... finally. I love KL, but I also look forward to not taking calls about "why is my pH at 11.8???!!!"
 

ditttohead

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LOL! It actually is a selling point... sort of. There is an article written on it.
upload_2020-11-10_8-37-31.png
 
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