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Old 04-14-2009, 08:55 PM   #1
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Need help with smelly and black well water!!


My well wast dug about a year and half ago, and I have not fully solved my water problems. The area is known for having lots of sulfur in the water. It is a 79ft deep well, 6" casing, water level at -14feet, test at 10gpm. The water comes into the house black in color. Even after all this time, and the well digger and my plumber saying it might settle, it hasn't, and is still black in color. It first hits a brass air injector (sorry fot the bad terms), then into the pressure tank. From the pressure tank, into a DUROclean filter system 52117 model 3214, instaled by my plumber to give me a chemical free way of getting rid of my sulfer smell, at a cost of $2300, which, even at a programmed daily backwash, doesn't really help anymore, after a year. Three months after haing dug the well, a bad taste came into the water, which my plumber then called a manganese issue, so we installed a commercial grade filter housing and Pentek EP-BB filter , +/- $300. When I change the cathridge filter, the bad metalic tast goes away for a month or so, at a cost of $25 a filter, it's getting expensive to run, but also, I am getting some of the black or light grey color coming into the toilet bowl, and tub mostly shortly after the daily backwash on the system. I am thinking of ripping this system out, and installing something that will actually work, this is getting very frustrating.
Now, I know some of you will say get your water tested, which I intend to do in the next few weeks, again.. I have before, but only by my plumber, who has tested for hardness, iron, sulfur, and manganese, and I think it's time to bring in a water specialist. Will a water softner help me at all with these problems? I am open to spending money, as long as I can have much better water, guaranteed... I don't believe I have a iron problem, as my water is not hard, I have no red staines that have formed or discolorations on faucets sine having moved into my new construction home 18 months ago. Any ideas on what my next move should be ?

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Old 04-15-2009, 10:44 PM   #2
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Need help with smelly and black well water!!


I'll bump this for you. Sorry I do not have an answer for you, but there are a couple of very knowledgeable people on the forum that maybe can. One would be Gary Slusser, if he does not answer on this forum maybe you can go to his web site and post the question. http://www.qualitywaterassociates.com/phpBB2/index.php

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Old 04-16-2009, 09:04 AM   #3
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Need help with smelly and black well water!!


A water softner will not help. All it will do is remove minerals, especially calcium & magnesium, which cause the water to be "hard".
Your filters are probably losing their effectiveness after a month because they have become saturated. All filters have a maximum capacity, after which they become more or less ineffective.

I do not believe that filtering should be your first solution. Before filtering, the source of the water should be analyzed. Perhaps the well is bad. Drilling another well could be your only solution, but that would be effective only if the source of the new well is not the same as the current one.

It is very unfortunate that you have spent so much money on this, and still may need to spend a lot more.
Did anyone test the water before you built the house? That should be the first thing that is done when building a home where well water is going to be used.

At least for now, I would be drinking and cooking with bottled water.

Good luck

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Old 04-16-2009, 09:19 AM   #4
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Need help with smelly and black well water!!


Thanks for your feedback. I have had my well tested by the local health bureau and have had no problems with dangerious bacteria that could be present in the water, but that might be all they are looking for, what they are trying to do is confirm it is safe to drink, which it is. I have also had it tested by my plumber for manganese content, which it was three quarters up his level chart, which is why he suggested the above system which is chemical free, very low maintenance (two things important to me), which injects air into a retnetion tank, this practically eliminates all of the sulfur smell, and a second tank with a large carbon filter to retain the unwanted metals/minerals in the water. Now, this has worked great for a year, no problem, has even made the water very drinkable with very little taste to it ( which is normal to me, and acceptable coming from a well ). After this time, I'm starting to notice some black water getting through this system again, and some sulfur smells, I know my plumber did say to call him in when this happened so he could come in and perform a cleaning of this large carbon filter on this system, BUT.... since being a member on this forum, I wanted to educate myself before, then get a water specialist to come in and give me his opinion, and my third step will be to get my plumber to perform a total cleaning of the system/change Pentek filter BEFORE I spend any other large amounts of money on a new system/additional system/new well <===

Thanks for the confirmation of not needing a softener, I know a lot of people that install one for all the rong reasons.
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Old 04-16-2009, 05:55 PM   #5
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Need help with smelly and black well water!!


I would try to learn how to backflush the system yourself, to save the cost of the plumber coming out at regular intervals. It might be a bit messy, but I can't see that it's something that only a plumber can do.

I apologize for getting a bit "radical" in suggesting that you might need a new well. It seems that your area has this specific "quality" and you are dealing with it.
If I were you, I would use a separate filtration system, in addition to your whole-house system for your drinking water, if for no other reason than to make it taste better.
This should be a two or more stage system.

I have public water, which comes from a surface fed system, not wells. Even so, I recently installed a two stage filtration system under the sink.
I just like the taste of the filtered water better than straight tap, and the filtration system is much less expensive than buying bottled.

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Old 04-16-2009, 06:36 PM   #6
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Need help with smelly and black well water!!


I think you may be confused about how your system actually works. A filter is a device designed to trap suspended particles such as silt, protozoa, or even bacteria if it is a very fine filter. A filter does NOT remove dissolved material like minerals (this would include iron, manganese, and sulfur). In order to remove dissolved minerals, you need an ion exchange system, which you almost certainly have. The carbon system you have is a fine filter, capable of removing most suspended solids, but also acts as a specialized ion exchange system for some types of chemicals like chlorine.

So, a filter will eventually clog once all the pores are filled with suspended particles, at which point you need to clean it. The manual should explain how to do this. An ion exchange system exchanges one type of ion for another, for example a water softener typically exchanges sodium ions for calcium ions in the water. Calcium ions make the water feel "hard", while sodium ions do not, so the ion exchange system converts "hard" water to soft water. Eventually, the sodium ions are used up, and you have to put another charge of salt into the system to recharge it. You also backflush the system to remove the calcium ions that have accumulated on the exchange medium (typically a resin of some sort). Similarly, a carbon filter removes bad taste by absorbing chemicals from the water, but it too needs to be cleaned periodically, else there will be no sites on the carbon available to absorb more chemicals. The carbon system I am familiar with typically have a canister that gets replaced periodically, as the free absorption sites get filled. Most of the time, replacing the canister is simple, you unscrew it and put in a new one.

So an ion exchange system needs to be recharged and backflushed, a filter needs to be cleaned, and a carbon system needs to be periodically replaced. If you haven't done this for a while, you can expect them all to stop working.
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Old 04-16-2009, 09:26 PM   #7
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Need help with smelly and black well water!!


Filters come in three types, disposable cartridge, backwashed only or regenerated oxidation types.

Carbon adsorbs and aBsorbs and mechanically removes 'dirt', and can be in a disposable filter or in an upflow, downflow or downflow backwashed filter.

Ion exchange resins remove cations and anions in water and any other fluid. A water softener removes all positively charged ions with cation (negative charged) resin. That includes calcium and magnesium minerals that cause hard water, ferrous iron, manganese, lead, copper, etc..

H2S must be oxidized which converts it into particulate matter which is then filtered out with a number of different media in a backwashed filter (mixed bed) or a special catalytic carbon in a backwashed filter that will oxidize H2S, iron and manganese if allowed which will make the carbon load up and fail to be able to remove what and how much of it it was originally intended to. I think that's where your carbon was before the disposable cartridge was added. Oxidizers can be air, chlorine, ozone or hydrogen peroxide OR, a number of oxidizing minerals such as Pyrolox, greensand, MTM, Birm etc. etc..

Sorry to say that the vast majority of plumbers do not know water treatment, or how to troubleshoot equipment when something goes wrong. So they depend on the counter help at the local plumbing supply house that are supposed to know how but usually have no personal experience and rely on the company that they buy the equipment from. Which in many cases has no personal experience either or things get lost in translation between 2-3 different communications.

You have an air injection system. I don't like then, IMO they rarely work well for long, with the air injector in the line from the well before the pressure tank. The injector possibly isn't allowing enough air. You should have the pressure tank, the injector, then a vent tank that allows excess air of out it, then a correctly sized 'turbidity' filter, that can be a special carbon or mixed bed backwashed filter. Your system requires as much air as is needed to oxidize all the H2S, iron and manganese that is in the water and it is not doing that.

The air may be too little, the retention/vent tank may be too small (also), or the filter can be too small for the peak demand flow rate of your family size, number of bathrooms and the type of fixtures in them. And then, every time your use exceeds the max allowable gpm you get H2S and/or 'dirt' through the filter.

And if you have 3-4 gpg or more hardness in your water, you'll spend less on a softener and some salt than by living with the hidden costs of hard water whioch ca nbe extensive.

Can you post a few pictures of your system or describe it in detail as if we are blind, from the well to the plumbing past it going to the house?
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Old 04-16-2009, 09:57 PM   #8
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Need help with smelly and black well water!!


FW, thanks for your reply, and I will look into cleaning the system myself. Im sure I can figure it out. The thing is, there is no smell, and hardly any taste at all when the system works. I guess its due for a cleaning. As for your recommended drinking water system, what exactly do you mean by two or more steps? And, could you suggest any brand/model?

Daniel, thanks for your in put, I do feel like I can clean this filter or have the media bed replaced as described here:

http://www.watergroup.com/pdf-folder...er-51635ef.pdf
mine is the ACF model.

Gary, thanks for your time to analyze this, you are right, i do have an air injection system, and i do have a retention tank for the the mixed media filter system model ACF as described above link.

I have just taken a few pictures, and i will attach them.
Well water comes into the basement throught the floor, through the brass injection box with adjustable threaded nut, it is opened to it's max. allowable air intake. the pressure tank comes next, i do not recall the settings, but i believe it's in between 40-70 psi, then 1" copper line to the retention tank which has the clear vent tube on top., to the filter unit, which is set to backwash daily, because 3-4 days was not producing satisfactory results, all 1" copper again to finish with a inline Pentek EP-BB filter which i used to change the carthridge ever 3 months. As for family size, we are currently only two, + often used dishwsher, 1 1/2 bath, and exterior faucets are plumbed to use fresh water ( my preference).

Once again, this combined system is spuratic, and i'm trying to figure out why, or how to make it work, what I may now understand, is my DuroClean system does need some cleaning/media bed changing, after 18 months of use.
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Old 04-17-2009, 12:11 PM   #9
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Need help with smelly and black well water!!


The injector may be too small and not allowing sufficient oxidation for the volume of H2S, iron and manganese in your water.

The gallons of retention of your pressure tank is WAY too small; especially @ 50/70 psi. A lower pressure allows more drawdown gallons into the pressure tank and slows the velocity of the water down but... the tank can't refill when the pump is running unless the pump can deliver the gpm of the water use in the house and to refill the pressure tank.

So the water going past the pressure tank to the fixtures using water, instead of into the pressure tank, it has no retention until it gets into the vent tank which is way to little and too late.

The vent tank is WAY too small and, there is no mecanism that I can see to keep a head of air in the top of the vent tank; although there is a tube under the vent line that will not allow all the air out of the tankbecause there is a check valve in the vent line fitting that air can go through but not water. The head of air is needed to provide further oxidation of the H2S, iron and manganese after the retention (the length of time is critical).

All that led to failure of the carbon in the filter; it will be loaded up with H2S that the air doesn't oxidize to particulate matter. IF the carbon is regular carbon, that is a poor choice and will not last long even if the other problems were corrected.

Then they installed the disposal cartridge as a small bandaid, that had the rest of the problems not been created, or corrected, it wouldn't be needed at all for anything.

Also, the plumbing past the venturi (air injector) will be blocking up with gray/black/ from the H2S and mangnaese and rust from any iron and what doesn't cling to the inside of the pipe will be settling to the bottom of the vent tank with no simple/easy way to get rid of it and then get out into teh carbon filter causing the carbon to load up. The blocking of the water pipe past the injector will also reduce flow. And if enough of that happens, the filter can't get as much water as it needs to successfully backwash.

I refuse to sell air injection systems because of all their problems but especially the last one; blocked pipe and water restriction.

I sold air pumps for some time but then went to an inline erosion chlorine pellet system with a mixing/retention tank equivalent to 120 gal retention tank followed by a special catalytic carbon in a correctly sized for the peak demand flow rate of the house backwashed filter. They never fail. You could replace your vent tank with the mixing tank and use your air injector and if it didn't work, go to the chlorine. The mixing tank is made to be used with air or chlorine and is plumbed for your vent line and the tube under it in your vent tank.

BTW, you should check your vent tank 'head', the dark gray thing the pipes goe in/out of, to make sure it is plumbed correctly. IF it is an UPflow In/Out head, it has to be plumbed backwards so the water goes into the tank, down to the bottom and up the distributor tube and if there are flow direction arrows, they could have plumbed it wrong. If it is DOWN flow then the arrows are correct. The only way to tell is to take it apart but, since this system worked for months, I don't think it is plumbed wrong.

IF the air and H2S can't get out of the vent tank, that is a problem, and I see the line going down. That wouldn't allow the H2S to get out of the vent tank and get into the carbon filter.

Here are a couple pictures of vent tank air controllers;
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Old 04-17-2009, 07:22 PM   #10
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Need help with smelly and black well water!!


I just thought of one other thing that will give you smelly water, that would be a bad anode rod in the water heater. I pulled mine and cut it off, it took care of the smell.

I know the anode rod it suppose to protect the water heater; but when they go bad within 6 months on well water I just pull it and cut it off.

Just thought I would throw that in as it had not been mentioned yet. I know it does not explain the black water.
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:29 AM   #11
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Need help with smelly and black well water!!


Yup. Especially in the case of rotten-egg smell, the first question to ask is if the smell is in the hot water taps, the cold or both? If in the hot water side only, then you're looking at a bacterial contamination problem. If in the cold side, or perhaps both, then the problem relates to H2S gas.

Different problems, different solutions.
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Old 04-27-2009, 08:18 AM   #12
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Need help with smelly and black well water!!


Daniel, thanks for your reply, and for your clarifications on these items. My next move will be to clean the filter, as the system does backflush daily.


Gary, thanks for your reply, I have tried to analyze everything you've said, and tried to make sense of it. Are you saying the air injector should not be before the pressure tank?
I am not sure what gallon rating my vent tank has, but are you suggesting a larger vent tank?

your quote "And then, every time your use exceeds the max allowable gpm you get H2S and/or 'dirt' through the filter."

this, is exactly what is happening...

The pressure tank is definately large enough as it is for our current family size of 2 adults, as it hardly goes on, and when it does, the submerged 220v well pump fills it right up in a few seconds, even if someone is in the shower.

but, i believe what you are saying, is if there was a larger pressure tank, there would more time spent in the tank & system, which means, less pumping of fresh water into the system, which would translate into better quality water??

your quote: "there is no mecanism that I can see to keep a head of air in the top of the vent tank"

i'm not sure what you mean by this? I know water enteres the vent tank, falls to the bottom, and only occupies roughly 5/8 of the tank, the rest is air, it has to go up a tube to exit the tank on top, and there is a valve/exit tube for the gases (3/8 white tube) coming out of the top fitting.
is there something missing? or could something be added?

i will do some research on chlorine pellet systems, but you mentioned you'ved had some success with these systems, to solve some of my problems with these issues? as for the 120 gal. ret. tank, what would be the rating of mine? I could really see a larger tank improving the quality i receive at the taps,
because of the longer retention time, also, did i see some sort of air pump system that injects even more air into this tank?



brokenknee, this was discovered about a month after i moved into the house, and the anode was removed. much improvement after this was done.



Thanks to all for reading, and replying, as this already makes more sense than my installation guy, or anything i have read in the net. It's hard to take anyone's word these days, with everyone one trying to make money somehow... I think I do have a good system... It might just be due for a cleaning/replacing of filter, and might be undersized on the vent/retention tank.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:54 AM   #13
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Need help with smelly and black well water!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by HABSFAN2006 View Post
When I change the cathridge filter, the bad metalic tast goes away for a month or so, at a cost of $25 a filter, it's getting expensive to run,
That large blue cartridge filter housing is a standard size, and filters branded by GE, Pentek, Ametek and Culligan (and possibly others) will fit it. I use a standard 20 micron cartridge to remove rust and sediment and have found them online for under $10.

http://www.home-water-purifiers-and-...k-ecp20-bb.php
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Old 04-27-2009, 12:21 PM   #14
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Need help with smelly and black well water!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by LookoutRanch View Post
That large blue cartridge filter housing is a standard size, and filters branded by GE, Pentek, Ametek and Culligan (and possibly others) will fit it. I use a standard 20 micron cartridge to remove rust and sediment and have found them online for under $10.

http://www.home-water-purifiers-and-...k-ecp20-bb.php

thanks for the link, I will look into buying them bulk. Single ones here through my plumbing contractor are just under 25$ ea, and the big box stores don't sell these..
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Old 04-27-2009, 01:09 PM   #15
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Need help with smelly and black well water!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by HABSFAN2006 View Post
Gary, thanks for your reply, I have tried to analyze everything you've said, and tried to make sense of it. Are you saying the air injector should not be before the pressure tank?
I am not sure what gallon rating my vent tank has, but are you suggesting a larger vent tank?

your quote "And then, every time your use exceeds the max allowable gpm you get H2S and/or 'dirt' through the filter."

this, is exactly what is happening...

The pressure tank is definitely large enough as it is for our current family size of 2 adults, as it hardly goes on, and when it does, the submerged 220v well pump fills it right up in a few seconds, even if someone is in the shower.

your quote: "there is no mechanism that I can see to keep a head of air in the top of the vent tank"

i'm not sure what you mean by this? I know water enteres the vent tank, falls to the bottom, and only occupies roughly 5/8 of the tank, the rest is air, it has to go up a tube to exit the tank on top, and there is a valve/exit tube for the gases (3/8 white tube) coming out of the top fitting.
is there something missing? or could something be added?

i will do some research on chlorine pellet systems, but you mentioned you'ved had some success with these systems, to solve some of my problems with these issues? as for the 120 gal. ret. tank, what would be the rating of mine? I could really see a larger tank improving the quality i receive at the taps, because of the longer retention time, also, did i see some sort of air pump system that injects even more air into this tank?
The air injector should be after the pressure tank because small or large, the pressure tank does not provide much if any retention time.

Your vent/retention tank is very small and you need more retention time.

Your pressure tank is too small for the pump if the pump is not shut off for at least 60 seconds between pump starts, that's for proper cooling of the motor. That's how you size a pressure tank; drawdown gallons/time the pump is off before it starts again.

Your vent tank is way undersized to get proper retention.

My inline pellet chlorinator always works, and now I see that you had a hot water odor that went away when the anode rod was removed. That is another reason why you need chlorine, that odor is caused by bacteria and you have to kill it, air injection can make the bacteria problem worse.

Disposable cartridge filters will not work well for your problems. And you already have a backwashed filter, if it was sized correctly it would be all the filter you need.

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