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Anonymous Poster

Purifying Salt/Sulfur Well Water

09/16/2010 9:05 PM

My well water has salt and sulfer gas in it. I have had it tested and on a scale of 1 to 10 it is a 3, not bad but not good. It stinks like rotten eggs. We have a 5000 gallon holding tank on a hill and when it sits for a couple of days it is not bad. But when we turn on the well to refill it, it is bad once again. I am going to have a ro machine put under the kitchen sink to get 100 gallons of good drinking water a day. But what can I do about the salt & sulfur in the water? I need about 3000 gallons of water a day that is free of salt for cows, horses, goats, showers, etc.

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#1

Re: need help!

09/16/2010 9:25 PM

I don't know what the best way to get the salt out. You should have the well professionally tested. Sulfur (Hydrogen Sulfide) can be from bacteria or from iron in the well water. They are treated differently.

The RO filters will have a short lifespan under these conditions. While I would retain the RO, I would consider pre-filtering with green sand or something else designed to remove the elements that will clog the RO system filters.

Ohio Pure Water Co. is a great resource for information and systems. I have had very good service from them and their staff is very, very knowledgeable. They handle residential and commercial systems, so they should be just what you need.

Good luck!

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Anonymous Poster
#2
In reply to #1

Re: need help!

09/16/2010 9:39 PM

we had it tested by a local company who does this we have no iron,magneseum,coper,it is hydrogen sulfied please excuse my spelling from bacteria and the salt is 1800 parts per million. what is green sand is it like my sand for the pool pump #20 selica sand?

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: need help!

09/16/2010 9:51 PM

Follow the link I provided in my first post and search for green sand.

I would give them a call and tell them what you are doing and they should be able to help.

I think for bacterial issues you should chlorinate the well, but get a pro to advise you on treating your well.

You should search the internet for other companies and compare. Ohio Pure Water had the best price and service that I found, but my experiences are with residential water and your needs may lead you elsewhere. However, they are a great place to start.

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#4

Re: Purifying Salt/Sulfur Well Water

09/17/2010 12:27 AM

I've heard the term "Shocking" the well. Sounds to me like your aquafir has been contaminated by drilling fluids. Any drilling going on (up stream) from your water well.

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#5

Re: Purifying Salt/Sulfur Well Water

09/17/2010 11:24 PM

find out how deep your well is. then through the previous company mentioned or your county dept of agriculture ask their recommendations. It may be a simple matter of raising, lowering or moving your well hole to a better place in the aquifier.

Removing salt is no cheap simple process, ie the old shipwreck saying, "water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink".

How did you come into posession of critters needing 3000 gallons a day of water, and a well that couldnt do the job in the same location? Did you buy the farmland really cheap? Or decide your present water supply was too expensive.

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#6

Re: Purifying Salt/Sulfur Well Water

09/17/2010 11:26 PM

I will try to explain the reducing chemistry of the ground water aquifer you are dealing with in easy terms. Bacteria work on a food supply like any organic carbon and trace elements like phosphorous and nitrogen. The bacteria are like children learning to eat and they save the worst for the last. In a ground water environment bacteria can respire or breath with oxygen at the very start of the water entering the ground water. The bacteria will donate an electron to the oxygen and thus reduce it. When they have exhausted oxygen they move to other electron donors (respiration elements or compounds) and the next easiest compound is Nitrate or NO3. When NO3 is exhausted the bacteria will reduce manganese, and then iron in a like fashion. The types of microorganisms change as the ground water moves through the groundwater (we call this the redox curve). After each reduction the organic carbon is reduced and Carbon dioxide (CO2) is released into the water. After the iron is reduced (there is usually overlaps between energy sources) the next easiest compound to use as an energy source is sulfate (SO4). When sulfate is reduced as in your well the byproducts are hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide. If you follow the next reduction the bacteria will reduce CO2 to form methane. All of these shifts along the reduction curve are driven by bacteria.

The question remains what can you do about the sulfur production? By understanding the processes involved you can shift the water in the well by changing the available energy source. One thing we have used with great success is to inject the well with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Hydrogen peroxide breaks down to form water plus oxygen and it is the chemically available oxygen that shifts the redox curve back to the beginning. You will stop the sulfate reducing bacteria because oxygen is toxic to them. No sulfate reducing bacteria means no sulfur produced in the well. Just remember that the peroxide (food grade only) must be injected into the bottom of the well. You will need a peristaltic pump located in your building, a supply of peroxide, usually 3/8 poly tubing to run from the pump to the bottom of the well, anti-syphon valve (polypropylene), and likely a post filter like activated carbon. No hydrogen peroxide will pass the filter but you may end up with excess oxygen gas as bubbles. Just back of the feed rate till the bubbles disappear. This is the most effective method of control. Unfortunately you cannot control the aquifer and must keep a continuous control with the peroxide. It is always best to control the bacteria in the well. Using peroxide will also assure that no methane will enter your building. Chlorination injection into the well is not possible and may be hazardous to consumers. If iron is absent then there may exist an overlap with methane production.

The Reverse Osmosis will remove the salts but I would suggest purchasing a membrane with a rated output at least twice the 3000 gallons/day. Outputs are optimized at design pressure and temperatures that are rarely available. Good luck and I hope this helps. I am not sure where you are located but this company may provide more information. They do have a chemist on site.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Purifying Salt/Sulfur Well Water

09/18/2010 12:58 PM

The bacteria will donate an electron to the oxygen and thus reduce it - could you elaborate on this please?

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Purifying Salt/Sulfur Well Water

09/19/2010 7:02 PM

The terms donation and reduction seem to be opposed terms but it is the correct way to describe the issue. Electrons are negative and thus if an element receives an electron it be comes more negative or "reduced". Similarly if an atom loses an electron it becomes less negative or more positive and we refer to that as "oxidized". Metabolic reduction is very complex and involves a series of steps involving ATP and the Kreb Cycle. The food for ground water microbiology is from the organic litter found on the surface of the ground. This litter is washed into the ground during periods of rain or snow melt , the recharge.

In oxidative respiration the Oxygen is an excellent electron acceptor. In metabolic processes and in the presence of oxygen gas the hydrogen atom can (through a series of electron transfers) be donated to oxygen, forming water. As the organic carbon is metabolized it will form H2O and CO2. If there is no respiration , meaning there is no organic food for bacteria to metabolize, the oxygen will remain in the system and can be measured as significant oxygen gas in the water supply. This is a rarity in ground water systems and can only be found under pristine water systems where surface organic material is very low. Perhaps the American south west would be an area where one could measure significant dissolved oxygen at depth in ground water. Conversely when there is a significant amount of organic material in the recharge, you will find very low oxygen content and instead things like H2S or methane can show up depending on what is available for respiration. Try to Google the Kreb Cycle for some further information. Hope this helps.

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#9

Re: Purifying Salt/Sulfur Well Water

09/19/2010 8:24 PM

a "j" shaped suction pipe at the intake end will reduce the amount of free gases in the well,because they will be rising past the intake(most of them).This method is used where there are pecolating gases in the water.Don't know your situation if it is possible to use this configuration.

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