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Old 05-07-2012, 12:33 AM   #1
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Need Help Figuring Out Proper Filtration Setup


Long, but I need help please!!

Having issues with water filtration. We have our own well. I attached the last two water sample tests we took. You can see(pic below) how we have our current water system setup. The Rhino and accompanying components all came from http://www.aquasana.com/ The Culligan water softener came with the house.

System Components:
1. Main water line. Pressure tank behind wall
2. Bypass for filtration
3. *forgot to mark it* was supposed to show line continuing after #8 to softener.
4. 5 micron woven pre filter
5. Greensand filter provided by aquasana
6. Rhino for well water treatment/filter
7. .35 micron pleated post filter
8. Cold water lines for kitchen sinks(2 kitchens & fridge water/ice)(filtered, not softened)
9. Culligan 8"medalist water softener. All the house water is softened except the two cold kitchen faucet lines and two fridge water/ice lines. Has been working well, but will eventually need to be replaced to meet our needs. 7 people in the house!

PROBLEM: Less then a year of service, the water pressure was reduced to the point of having to bypass the filtration system. Turn 2 faucets on, and you barely get a drip. The pre filter was being replaced regularly, but probably not often enough. The post filter was also replaced couple times. After talking to Jeff at aquasana, we did some tests to determine which of the two(greensand, rhino) was the culprit. After testing, both were causing the water pressure drop.

AQUASANA SOLUTION: Aquasan is standing behind their system and have shipped out a new greensand and rhino filter!!! I received the new tanks in less then a week. What a great company. Jeff is who I've been in contact with since initial purchase and what a stand up guy!

FUTURE PROBLEM: I'm afraid this will happen again. I would like to prevent this from happening in the future. I have a few questions/comments below. Can someone steer me in the correct direction please...

1. After contemplation, I believe I'm filtering bath/laundry/toilet water for no good reason? That water will be softened anyway, which we love. I'm thinking of using the Rhino just for our cold water kitchen sink/fridge water/ice. I am prepared to reroute the water to accomplish this.

2. What about the greensand filter? Would it be wise to have all the water run thru the greensand filter(before WS) to relieve some workload off the softener? Plus the softener can not pull out all the iron and iron bacteria. Before the rhino system was installed, we did have some rust and iron bacteria issues. After filter installation, that has been non existent.

3. If we do use the greensand to filter all the water, how long before it clogs up again? I've been told I can add a regen valve like a Fleck to my current greensand filter. Is this true? If so, would that benefit the longevity of the greensand filter?

4. I'm also thinking of installing a sediment filter before the pre filter to reduce some stress on it. Is this a good idea?

5. Should I consider a 20" big blue filter to help with all the pre filtering work?

6. Is there another pre filter that would do a better job at keeping the sediment/junk from the well out of the filtration/softener system?

Any help would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!! I'm not installing the new Greensand and Rhino filters till I resolve this. Any other info help you guys help me?? Let me know...

Pic of my current setup..


Most recent water sample 1/18/12


Water sample from 10/27/11
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:03 AM   #2
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Need Help Figuring Out Proper Filtration Setup


One water test shows more than three times the hardness as compared to the other and one test shows significant iron and the other shows none. Difficult to believe that both are of raw water from the same well. ARE THEY???

To put it another way--without reliable information about your water conditions it is impossible to give good advice about treatment options.

But I will offer a general observation-- you have SIX filter elements connected in series (two pleated element filters including one of .35 micron, two tanks on the Rhino unit, a filter you identify as greensand, and a softener) so I am not surprised you have a water pressure problem! A second observation is that I have never seen a greensand filter that is not set up with a control head for regeneration. Are you sure it is greensand?

One final observation--you mention iron bacteria and if you have iron bacteria I am not surprised you have problems because I don't believe any of the filters you have installed treat iron bacteria.

Last edited by Bob999; 05-07-2012 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:32 AM   #3
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Need Help Figuring Out Proper Filtration Setup


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Originally Posted by Bob999 View Post
One water test shows more than three times the hardness as compared to the other and one test shows significant iron and the other shows none. Difficult to believe that both are of raw water from the same well. ARE THEY???

To put it another way--without reliable information about your water conditions it is impossible to give good advice about treatment options.

But I will offer a general observation-- you have SIX filter elements connected in series (two pleated element filters including one of .35 micron, two tanks on the Rhino unit, a filter you identify as greensand, and a softener) so I am not surprised you have a water pressure problem! A second observation is that I have never seen a greensand filter that is not set up with a control head for regeneration. Are you sure it is greensand?

One final observation--you mention iron bacteria and if you have iron bacteria I am not surprised you have problems because I don't believe any of the filters you have installed treat iron bacteria.
First, thank you for your response.

Second..Yes, they are the same well! We do notice changes in the water quality from season to season. I would go from the most recent readings as those are similar to the ones from a couple years ago. There might of been a fluke with the test from October.

Yes, I do agree there are too many filters. Thats why I'm going to use the Rhino and .35 pleated filter for drinking water only. My biggest question is should I use the greensand for the whole house, then split after it for 1>softener and 2>Rhino?

If I do use the greensand for all water coming in, how do I keep it from clogging again? And is it greensand? Thats what Aquasana told me. When I asked them about why there is no control head, they don't believe in wasting water for regen and why they don't sell water softeners. LOL How can I find out if it's greensand? Can I add a control valve?

Yes, we've had issues in the past with iron bacteria. With the water going thru all the filters, no issues. I thought I read somewhere greensand can be used for iron bacteria? What should I be using?
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Old 05-07-2012, 12:34 PM   #4
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Need Help Figuring Out Proper Filtration Setup


Here is an informative article about iron and its treatment, including iron bacteria. It also briefly discusses greensand--and the need for backwashing.

http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/h2oqual/watsys/ae1030w.htm

Basically with iron bacteria it must be killed in the well by shock treatment--and this is only a temporary fix if there is a continuing source of iron bacteria--or by killing it during treatment--typically with chlorine injection.

The following comments are based on 16 grains hardness and the need to treat for iron and iron bacteria--but I have doubts you have good test results because the picture of the filters clearly shows iron and you speak of both iron and iron bacteria yet the test showing 16 grains hardness shows only a trace of iron!

With 7 people in the house and hardness of 16 grains the softener (.75 cubic foot or "24K grains" based on 8 " size you list) is undersized. Assuming a typical usage of 60 gal/person/day your daily hardness removal is 7 x 60 x 16 = ~ 7,000 grains. I expect that your softener regenerating every three days or more frequently depending on how it is programmed and it is likely using more salt than a more appropriately sized softener.

To provide a long term solution I recommend treatment of your household water with:
1. Chlorine injection to remove iron and kill iron bacteria;
2. A 120 retention tank to provide time for the chlorine to work and allow much of the iron and bacteria to precipitate out;
3. A backwashing carbon filter to remove remaining precipitate and excess chlorine
4. A properly sized softener--a 2 cubic foot model would provide good salt efficiency if set up with appropriate salt dose and capacity and would regenerate approximately once per week for good water efficiency as well.

You could tap your drinking water prior to the softener and continue to use the Rhino filter for drinking water.

If you had no iron bacteria then a properly sized softener, perhaps with the addition of SST-60 resin and regular use of an iron cleaning agent, could deal with the iron as well as the hardness.

Last edited by Bob999; 05-07-2012 at 12:59 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-07-2012, 01:45 PM   #5
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Need Help Figuring Out Proper Filtration Setup


Bob999, thank you very much. That does help. First, yes, the water softener is undersized. We are budgeting for a new one soon. However, the 3 little kids use very little water as they get showered/bathed together. The wife and I shower every other day(usually +/-) and my father is sometimes gone for months at a time traveling. The teenager is the biggest hog tho and makes up for the 3 smaller ones :D I've already got quotes for the new softener, and was leaning towards a Fleck 2510SXT? I'm sure before I purchase, I will do some more research.

How best to test if I have iron bacteria? I know we see/feel it in our toilet tanks. I try and stay ahead of it by shocking the well couple times a year. The past year and a half we have seen no issues with iron bacteria. I don't know if the old well pump and old plumbing coming up could be causing an issue? From what the previous(original) owners told me.. it's the original well pump! House was built in '78.. hard to believe. Replacing the pump and all associated plumbing is on my list, but finances are tight. *we DO NOT use credit cards and would only use it in an emergency*

As for the orange looking pre filter. Is that only caused by iron in the water? Even my plumber neighbor said it looked too orange and said it's air oxidizing the iron in the water? Every time I've tested the water, the iron was around around 2.0 ppm +/- .5. Does the iron spike at times? The pre filter starts turning orange within a day or two of changing it. When I remove it.. it's almost like a fine silt feel.

As for chlorine injection. I would use that as a last resort for two reasons.. 1. It would take some time to save the necessary funds 2. space is very tight and would hate to try and install a retention tank and carbon filter tank.

If I go ahead and get a 2 cubic foot WS with SST-60 resin, what control valve do you recommend? Also, would I still want to use the greensand filter? If so, what control valve to purchase so I can properly backwash the system? And if I did keep the greensand inline, would you use a different resin since the greensand will be removing the iron?

Bob, again, thank you very much for your replies. I would get a professional around here.. but they all have different things they want to "sell" me. I don't mind buying, I just want to buy the correct hardware. Also, do you recommend a place for water testing?
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Old 05-07-2012, 02:16 PM   #6
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Need Help Figuring Out Proper Filtration Setup


If you have orange/black slime in the toilet tank you can be pretty confident that you have iron bacteria. If it returns after shocking the well then the only enduring solution is chlorine injection or something comparable.

With greensand--as discussed in the article I linked--it is necessary to both periodically backwash and to regenerate the media--typically with potassium ermanganate. I think you will find it is comparably priced or cheaper to buy a complete system on line as compared to buying the control head, regenerate tank and ancillary parts online --an if you purchase a complete unit all the ancillary parts will be correctly sized for the unit.

If you have iron bacteria any softener, including with SST-60 resin, will clog up. You have to get rid of (kill) the bacteria for any filtration system to work for an extended period of time.

A Fleck 2510 SXT or Fleck 7000 would be good choices for a softener.

Replaceable cartridge filters have a place but as you have learned they require maintenance/replacement and if that is not done regularly can adversely affect the rest of your system. One of the advantages of a retention tank is that silt Will typically drop out in the tank and can be blown down along with precipitate.

If you remove iron prior to the softener, by any method, then SST-60 resin would not be an economic choice. But as I have tried to convey--if you have iron bacteria you have to remove it or any filter will plug up and have to be replaced. Because greensand doesn't kill iron bacteria I don't think that is a viable option. I think chlorine injection it the practical solution in your situation.
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:00 PM   #7
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Need Help Figuring Out Proper Filtration Setup


We used to have the black slime, but lately(one year). I will definitely keep an eye on it as we go. I'm not sure if it's my more diligent shocking of the well, or the greensand & rhino filter combination. Question, can the old piping from the pump to the pitless adapter be the cause of iron bacteria? One of the guys who was out here, said it's probably the iron/galvanized pipe from the pump? The reason I ask is, I'm going to be changing the well pump and piping. If this eliminates the the iron bacteria, then no need for chlorine infection?

If I do go with a chlorine injection system, can you recommend one? I've used the guys at aquascience.net for pressure tank and other miscellaneous parts. They have been great to deal with. Not to confuse them with the Rhino system supplier, aquasana.com. aquascience.net has this chlorine system... http://www.aquascience.net/chemical-...dex.cfm?id=702

If we don't use the chlorine injection, how should we deal with the 2.0 ppm average of iron? Greensand? Or what is this.... they call it Quantum.. http://www.aquascience.net/iron-manganese/

Bob, thanks again for the info. It's helping me understand what I'm dealing with, and how.
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:03 PM   #8
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Need Help Figuring Out Proper Filtration Setup


Also, when I talked to Aquascience.net a while back ago.. they said there is a media called "Birm" that can be used for iron removal? Not sure what that is and if it's better then greensand?
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:28 PM   #9
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Need Help Figuring Out Proper Filtration Setup


Quote:
Originally Posted by HiccaBurp View Post
We used to have the black slime, but lately(one year). I will definitely keep an eye on it as we go. I'm not sure if it's my more diligent shocking of the well, or the greensand & rhino filter combination. Question, can the old piping from the pump to the pitless adapter be the cause of iron bacteria? One of the guys who was out here, said it's probably the iron/galvanized pipe from the pump? The reason I ask is, I'm going to be changing the well pump and piping. If this eliminates the the iron bacteria, then no need for chlorine infection?

If I do go with a chlorine injection system, can you recommend one? I've used the guys at aquascience.net for pressure tank and other miscellaneous parts. They have been great to deal with. Not to confuse them with the Rhino system supplier, aquasana.com. aquascience.net has this chlorine system... http://www.aquascience.net/chemical-...dex.cfm?id=702

If we don't use the chlorine injection, how should we deal with the 2.0 ppm average of iron? Greensand? Or what is this.... they call it Quantum.. http://www.aquascience.net/iron-manganese/

Bob, thanks again for the info. It's helping me understand what I'm dealing with, and how.
I would attribute the improvement to shocking--that kills the bacteria present which come in contact with the chlorine. None of the filters you have kill bacteria--rather they become breeding grounds for the iron bacteria and gradually plug up and require replacement.

So long as you have iron bacteria in your system any approach other than chlorine injection will fail.

Shocking followed by circulation of the chlorinated water in the plumbing system will, at least in theory, kill the bacteria in the pump and pipe but like any cleaning process if there are nooks where the chlorine doesn't penetrate it can't kill the iron bacteria. Further, if the source of the iron bacteria is the ground water they will return once the chlorine clears and the well recharges. This explains why continuing chlorination is the only high reliability treatment.

Birm is used to remove iron if you have the right water conditions but doesn't deal with iron bacteria.

There are two basic approaches to chlorination (and a hybrid approach which appears to be the system you provided the link to)
1. Inject in front of the well tank with the injection pump wired to the pressure switch--the causes the pump to operate anytime the well pump is operating. This is the least cost approach. The disadvantage is that you are putting chlorine in your well tank and it can reduce the live of the pressure tank bladder.
2. Inject after the well tank using a proportional controller to inject based on sensed water flow.
3. hybrid--fixed injection but with a fixed cut in flow switch.

1 and 2 provide relatively consistent amounts of chlorine. 3 results in varying amounts of chlorine because of fixed injection rate and varying flow.

Here is an example of a proportional feed system:
http://www.cleanwaterstore.com/stenn...tional-20.html

Here is an example of what is used to inject in front of the well tank:
http://www.cleanwaterstore.com/stenner-chlorinator.html

A 120 gallon retention tank is recommended in either case.
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