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#4551033 - 10/22/17 01:07 PM Well Water Quality Question....
TWG1572 Offline


Registered: 12/18/07
Posts: 558
Loc: Madison, Wisconsin
We've owned this house 6 years, and we've always had some reddish substance that appears. When I change out the whole house filter, it's all over the outside and the filter is red. I'd describe it as slimy and smooth - not grainy at all. I just changed a leaking shower valve this weekend (attached picture) and it was covered in it too. It's not a stain, because it will wipe off easily with my fingertips. I'm almost wondering if it is clay or silt?

I've previously sent in water tests. They've not indicated any excess iron or manganese. However, I can't find them anymore so don't know the levels.

I'm trying to figure out what this stuff is, to see if I need to add a different/additional whole house filter. Any suggestions? Another water test? If so, is there something I should have them specifically look for? Thanks!



Edited by TWG1572 (10/22/17 01:20 PM)

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#4551037 - 10/22/17 01:15 PM Re: Well Water Quality Question.... [Re: TWG1572]
Warstud Offline


Registered: 09/02/05
Posts: 5389
Loc: MIchigan
That is Iron.. aka Rusty Water. Do you have a soft water tank?

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#4551039 - 10/22/17 01:20 PM Re: Well Water Quality Question.... [Re: TWG1572]
TWG1572 Offline


Registered: 12/18/07
Posts: 558
Loc: Madison, Wisconsin
We do. I'm wondering if it's time to have the softener looked at then? I do use the rust buster salt, just because I've wondered about iron even though the water tests didn't show it.

Does iron typically dry as a powder? I've not dealt with it before.

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#4551048 - 10/22/17 01:30 PM Re: Well Water Quality Question.... [Re: TWG1572]
Warstud Offline


Registered: 09/02/05
Posts: 5389
Loc: MIchigan
Originally Posted By: TWG1572
Does iron typically dry as a powder?


It may depend on the surface. It collects on my tub and toilet and it's hard to get off. Bar Keepers friend does a good job of cleaning it off. Iron Out also works.

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#4551066 - 10/22/17 02:00 PM Re: Well Water Quality Question.... [Re: TWG1572]
BobsArmory Offline


Registered: 03/28/10
Posts: 1320
Loc: Michigan
Iron bacteria are small living organisms which naturally occur in soil, shallow groundwater, and surface waters. These nuisance bacteria combine iron (or manganese) and oxygen to form deposits of "rust," bacterial cells, and a slimy material that sticks the bacteria to well pipes, pumps, and plumbing fixtures.

If it is Iron bacteria a sanitation of the well may be appropriate.
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#4551069 - 10/22/17 02:12 PM Re: Well Water Quality Question.... [Re: TWG1572]
Cujet Offline


Registered: 02/15/03
Posts: 7139
Loc: Jupiter, Florida
From a practical standpoint, water softeners can remove some iron from the well water. The resin beads inside the softener can foul with iron rather rapidly and this can reduce softener effectiveness. Some companies sell a fine mesh resin bead (smaller) to help deal with iron.

To clean a softener that is tasked with minor iron removal, use citric acid along with the brine solution in the regeneration cycle and regenerate more often.

Another method is to use a specific iron filter prior to the softener. Not necessarily a great solution.

Hydrogen peroxide injection is a viable method, and results in complete oxidation of the iron. It's reasonably inexpensive and very effective. There are other oxidation methods such as air injection and ozone
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#4551094 - 10/22/17 02:46 PM Re: Well Water Quality Question.... [Re: TWG1572]
CT8 Offline


Registered: 10/09/14
Posts: 10920
Loc: Idaho
With out chlorine to stop Algae, Bacteria etc grows in the water.
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#4551109 - 10/22/17 03:00 PM Re: Well Water Quality Question.... [Re: TWG1572]
LoneRanger Offline


Registered: 07/02/07
Posts: 4044
Loc: Midwest USA
Reverse Osmosis system for the win !!
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#4551203 - 10/22/17 05:11 PM Re: Well Water Quality Question.... [Re: TWG1572]
dirtymudder Offline


Registered: 10/28/02
Posts: 106
Loc: michigan
What Bobsarmory said,

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#4551215 - 10/22/17 05:23 PM Re: Well Water Quality Question.... [Re: TWG1572]
KD0AXS Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 2440
Loc: Nowthen, MN
We have well water and have this filter from Menards. It collects a ton of iron but never have any problems with iron anywhere past the filter. Our tap water is crystal clear and tastes great, never any iron stains on anything. We do have a water softener as well.

https://www.menards.com/main/plumbing/wa...221&ipos=30

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#4551263 - 10/22/17 06:07 PM Re: Well Water Quality Question.... [Re: TWG1572]
StevieC Offline


Registered: 08/21/08
Posts: 17116
Loc: Ontario, Canada
My parents have a well that does the same thing. They have a sediment pre-filter (20"), then it goes to the Iron Master (Iron Remover), Water Softener, 20" Carbon Block Filter, U.V. Light, then to the house fixtures. For drinking it goes through a Reverse Osmosis system and then a re-mineralization cartridge afterward.

Culligan setup the system initially 15 years ago but we have since maintained it ourselves.

Pre-filter the water is full of bacteria and rust, post filters but before the R.O. unit the water is fit to drink. The R.O. unit is really for taste preference in their case.

Hope that helps. thumbsup


Edited by StevieC (10/22/17 06:08 PM)
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#4551345 - 10/22/17 07:21 PM Re: Well Water Quality Question.... [Re: TWG1572]
loneryder Offline


Registered: 04/19/14
Posts: 489
Loc: WV
Order some chlorine pellets made for treating water and drop a palm full of them down your well. Run the taps until you can detect the chlorine. It will be similar to city tap water. You can continue to use the water. It will kill the bacteria in your pipes. If this doesn't work you can sanitize your system with a stronger amount of those chlorine pellets but this requires a lot of flushing. Also clean your water softener as stated above. I have to do this about once a month here in WV where there is a lot of iron in the water.

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#4551354 - 10/22/17 07:31 PM Re: Well Water Quality Question.... [Re: TWG1572]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20446
Loc: Upstate NY
I would try the citric acid mixed with brine in the regeneration cycle.
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#4551523 - 10/22/17 10:38 PM Re: Well Water Quality Question.... [Re: loneryder]
Cujet Offline


Registered: 02/15/03
Posts: 7139
Loc: Jupiter, Florida
Originally Posted By: loneryder
Order some chlorine pellets made for treating water and drop a palm full of them down your well. Run the taps until you can detect the chlorine. It will be similar to city tap water. You can continue to use the water. It will kill the bacteria in your pipes. If this doesn't work you can sanitize your system with a stronger amount of those chlorine pellets but this requires a lot of flushing. Also clean your water softener as stated above. I have to do this about once a month here in WV where there is a lot of iron in the water.


You can do this. I do this at times. But you must be aware that without enough dwell time, chlorine tablets dropped down the well pipe will produce trihalomethanes, a carcinogenic group of gases that are particularly dangerous at very very low levels.

http://www.water-research.net/index.php/trihalomethanes-disinfection

The dwell time needs to be about 30 minutes. Unless the water flowing in the well takes a full 30 minutes to travel from the chlorine pellets in the well to the showerhead, you will be inhaling orderless toxic gases.


Edited by Cujet (10/22/17 10:42 PM)
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#4552513 - 10/23/17 11:12 PM Re: Well Water Quality Question.... [Re: Cujet]
loneryder Offline


Registered: 04/19/14
Posts: 489
Loc: WV
Interesting read. I'm using enough chlorine to barely detect with your nose. It tastes like municipal tap water. It's probably just enough to knock down the iron sulfur bacteria and reduce the smell. My drinking water goes thru some type of carbon filter. Also this:
Note: THM's are not a major concern for treating groundwater wells with low organic matter content, but it may be a problem after a shock disinfection.

I'm not even close to shocking it.

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