May 18, 2012 | JP Anderson Iron is a mineral that is the biggest complaint in the shallow wells. Iron is one of the most common elements on earth. It is found almost everywhere around the globe. It is in the layers of Geology in varying quantities and is dissolved as water passes through the ground. It initially looks clear when the water is first pumped, but as soon as oxygen hits the water, it will take on a cloudy, reddish tint. It will stain almost anything. If you stand still long enough in front of the sprinkler, it might even turn you several shades of red:-) If Iron levels are low enough, a treatment system that is easily maintained may be installed to eliminate staining in the home. Ion exchange (water softening) is a popular option for low level iron and hardness removal. One quick note on Iron is that if hardness is not present in the water, it usually will not leave a stain. This observation has led many to believe that a water softener removes iron. It will remove some iron, but not all. Just by simply removing the hardness, staining is eliminated and the little bit of iron that passes through is actually harmless to those consuming the water. One concern with using a water softener with higher levels of iron, besides excessive salt regeneration, would be iron fouling. This will slowly decrease performance over time and lead to failure, and therefore staining. Iron conditioning is another method that sometimes does not require any chemicals other than air. On certain more aggressive waters, chemicals may be needed for regeneration or injection. Two chemicals that are regionally popular are Potassium Permanganate and Chlorine. Both of these chemicals have their uses, but should be left to a professional to decide when and if this is proper. Also remember when purchasing any filter or conditioner, try to figure how much average pressure loss you will experience once the device is installed. If your average pressure is 40 psi, and the average pressure loss will be 15 psi, you will be left with pressure that will not run a shower in an upstairs bathroom effectively. We try to use pressurized oxidation iron conditioners, which naturally add the oxygen needed to the system, while at the same time boosting your pressure to “city” like pressure. Our booster/venturi system is so reliable that other treatment companies have tried to copy it. Be wary of systems that use air compressors to add air. Air compressors can grow bacteria in the air chamber that is very dangerous. Evenly injected air is next to impossible, with most complaints being too much air and the water taking on a milky color. The filtering media in any of these systems all have a life expectancy. This is based on the quality of the water, the rate of backwash, and what kind of oxidizers are used (air or chemical). Some contractors claim that the media lasts forever. When someone says forever, I always ask their definition of forever:-) Filter media does not last forever, and usually most companies that sell them, although reluctant, will admit that after 10 years the system may need to be replaced. The control valve, the part that automatically back-washes, has an average life of 10-15 years. Most can be rebuilt with new parts for the few things that wear out over time. Once the gears wear out, it is usually time to replace the control valve. Our company will test your water and do a cost breakdown that includes maintenance. This will give you some idea of what to budget so you can enjoy your water for a long time to come. If a treatment system along with long term maintenance isn’t in your budget, let us see if a Deep Well will solve your problem. You may have to spend more money up front, but you don’t have to do constant maintenance, and your long term costs will be lower. Always use a reputable water treatment company. It is usually best to use one that also drills water wells. Usually just ask a neighbor who did their system, and if they are happy. Most of our business is word of mouth. For more information concerning well systems and water testing and conditioning go to the American Ground Water Trust on the web. This organization does more for the Water well drilling industry than any other non-profit. They are dedicated to helping the consumer.