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Thread: well water treatment? Please help.

  1. #76
    Like an engineer alternety's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replys. But I do care about filtering bacteria and not using chlorine. If someone can verify or correct the size of bacteria, I will deal with the filtering.

    Thanks.

  2. #77
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxBlack
    Bob NH you gave us a rundown on your filtration systems awhile back but I cannot for the life of me find it. Do you remember where you made that post, or maybe you can tell us again here OTTOYH? Thanks.
    I install small systems where people can't get a well but must supply water for public water users, which are defined as systems delivering water to more than 25 customers for more than 60 days. That includes a lot of summer youth camps and a few other places. I am often the last resort after they have spent $thousands on wells that don't meet their needs.

    I visit the sites, look at what they have, and engineer a system to use as much as possible of existing equipment while producing water that meets the EPA Surface Water Treatment Rule. That requirement is to filter and disinfect to remove or inactivate 99.9% of giardia lamblia cysts. A more recent requirement is to remove 99% of cryptosporidium oocysts. Anything that meets those requirements also kills viruses and bacteria.

    Most of the systems treat 5000 to 20,000 gallons per day of water, but there is really no limit. The smallest system is less than 500 gallons per day where the water is pumped to a tank and the people carry away what they need in large buckets. That small one was declared a public water supply because they had more than 25 users carrying water from a dug well for more than 60 days per year.

    The water is pumped from the lake or other water source, chlorinated and filtered through the cotton filters in a housing that I developed to put lots of surface area in an inexpensive housing, then into a contact tank that has enough contact time to kill or inactivate 97% of any giardia that get through the first filter. The tank is usually a 1500 to 3000 gallon polyethylene tank with baffles inside to prevent circulation directly from inlet to outlet.

    Water is pumped from that tank through the Harmsco 1-micron-absolute filters (Cartridge PP-BB-20-1) into the distribution system. A chlorine residual is maintained throughout the system. http://www.harmsco.com/uploads/pdf/h...at_catalog.pdf

    Operation of the system is automated so the operator has only to keep the chlorine tank supplied with sodium hypochlorite (usually generic household bleach) and make sure that the system is working.

    The operators make daily measurements of water usage, chlorine residual, turbidity, pH, and temperature so they can verify that the system is meeting requirements. They are required to get a special "small systems operator" license, but operating the system depends more on diligence than on any special skills. Turbidity is never a problem because the cartridges are significantly better than is needed for the job.

    This is a kind of hobby business in my retirement. I usually hear about a job when someone calls and says; "I can't get a well here and they told me to call you. Can you come up here and look at my place, and how fast can you put in a system?" My best (only) advertising is people who have my systems.
    Last edited by Bob NH; 04-08-2007 at 09:43 AM.

  3. #78
    DIY Member MaxBlack's Avatar
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    Thanks for that. I have a rainwater collection system and though we don't drink the water (we buy drinking water) I still worry about problems from toothbrushing, facewashing (eyes, nasal passages) etc. Will look to apply your principles here...

  4. #79
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxBlack
    I have a rainwater collection system ...
    Do you have the kind of setup that dumps the first few gallons of "roof wash" before collecting the remainder? I forget what that device is called, but I once read about it and saw a picture somewhere on the 'net.

  5. #80
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Sounds great BobNH. I'm sure that with personel present and tasked to maintain your individually designed/engineered systems, that they work very well. I too have been involved in treatment of Small systems in PA but not using surface water, well water only without the possibility of cysts or crypto. I have been involved with some residential DIY surface water customers around the country though.

    The equipment you use is much larger than needed in most residential installations and the residential owner is not up to much maintenance and none at all if it's needed daily. I use automatically backwashed turbidity filters and the only periodic maintenance on the system is cleaning and replenishing the disinfection equipment. That's only every few months.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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  6. #81
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser
    The equipment you use is much larger than needed in most residential installations and the residential owner is not up to much maintenance and none at all if it's needed daily. I use automatically backwashed turbidity filters and the only periodic maintenance on the system is cleaning and replenishing the disinfection equipment. That's only every few months.
    The only daily "maintenance" that is required is the quality assurance measurements required by public agencies for reporting. Chlorine (bleach) can be supplied from containers that last at least a week in small systems.

    I usually size the first stage cotton filters of surface water systems to not exceed 0.5 GPM per 10" unit, or 2 GPM per 40" long unit. At that flow rate, the life filtering water from small lakes and large ponds usually exceeds 10,000 gallons per 10" unit. Most seasonal systems put in new cartridges in the spring when they open camp and throw them away when they close in the fall. Only a few with algae contamination require changes during the season.

    There is a small system somewhere in Georgia that I have never seen. A farmer gets water from a spring. He has been drinking it for years but was concerned about his grandchildren when they visit. I sent him two housings for 20" long filters, a supply of filter cartridges, a chlorinator pump, and a sketch showing how to put it together. Two years later he called to order more cartridges and told me he was very happy with the system. He had seen one of my systems when visiting Maine.

  7. #82
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy CWS
    BTW
    Class B UV light can destroy pathogens, but they are not used because they don't employ safe guards against failure, such a flow restrictors, shut-off solenoids, intensity monitors and an end life of 40mj/cm2. So therefore not recommended for micro-biologically unknown water, especially on public water supplies for small systems. In other applications, they are often, and best, used as a complementary disinfection system.
    Andy, what defines a Class A light from a Class B light?

    Only Class A is approved for the remediation of cysts and crypto. Correct?

    The last I looked a few years ago, the EPA's BAT provides for UV without "complementary disinfection". Has that changed?
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  8. #83
    DIY Member MaxBlack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxBlack
    I have a rainwater collection system...
    Quote Originally Posted by leejosepho
    Do you have the kind of setup that dumps the first few gallons of "roof wash" before collecting the remainder? I forget what that device is called...
    It's usually called just that, a "roof washer". But there are lots of different approaches and all have their shortcomings (yes I do roof washing).

    Here in TX you find a lot of DIY water projects owing to long distances and the difficulty of finding/getting access-to qualified professionals. So I indeed prefer "DIY" here cuz I end-up knowing exactly what I have and how it works and how to maintain it. And (thankfully) UPS and Fed-X trucks can and do make it up my road!

    What is curious to me is that there is very little available (at least on the Internet) in the way of hard information on filtration and purification systems beyond water-well types (e.g. spring or lake or in my case Rainwater collection). There are a lot of individual gizmos out there, but not as much in the way of "puddle-to-sink" advice. Maybe someday Bob NH will add to his "hobby" business the sale of "how-to" manuals for the systems he puts together... Or maybe I will do it as I will become myself an expert before too long (or die trying)!

  9. #84
    DIY Junior Member Daisy's Avatar
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    Question Lee

    Quote Originally Posted by leejosepho
    Mine is 65' deep, and I will let you know what I end up doing and what is cost.
    Have you finished with your well yet? Just curious, because after reading all the responses I am more confused than ever.

  10. #85
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxBlack

    What is curious to me is that there is very little available (at least on the Internet) in the way of hard information on filtration and purification systems beyond water-well types (e.g. spring or lake or in my case Rainwater collection). There are a lot of individual gizmos out there, but not as much in the way of "puddle-to-sink" advice. Maybe someday Bob NH will add to his "hobby" business the sale of "how-to" manuals for the systems he puts together... Or maybe I will do it as I will become myself an expert before too long (or die trying)!
    I can explain the system here in a few paragraphs. The actual hardware depends on your situation.

    The principle is to filter the water to get out anything that is filterable, and to disinfect to take care of anything the filter won't catch.

    The first stage is to pump the water through the best cotton filter I can get. The manufacturer says it is 0.5 micron! Don't believe a word of that. I tested the "0.5 micron filter" with a certified Met-One particle counter and found that it removed about 99% of 5 micron particles. For those who know logarithms, that is known as 2-log reduction. That was sufficient to be allowed credit for 1.5 log reduction, or 97% removal.

    Then I needed to provide disinfection to provide another 1.5 log inactivation of giardia to get a total of 3-log (99.9%) removal or inactivation of giardia. That requires a contact tank (a big polyethylene tank) that provides 30 to 45 minutes of contact time at typical temperature, pH, and chlorine content. There are baffles in the tank to prevent short-circuiting of the flow.

    Water is pumped from the contact tank into the distrubution system; usually one or more hydropneumatic tanks. Systems usually have the tanks in place; some about 50 years old. I have seen more than a few old riveted tanks still being used. The largest was about 5000 gallons. No bladder tanks available in that size.

    In the past couple of years, I have started adding the Harmsco 1-micron-absolute filters as a second stage. Although that filter has been demonstrated to remove 99.9% or more of giardia-size particles (about 5 microns) the credit for filtration is limited to 2.5 Log (99.7% removal) and disinfection is used to achieve the total 3.0 log required. With the 1-micron-absolute filters the required contact time is on the order of 10 to 15 minutes.

    Sodium hypochlorite is added by a positive displacement pump that runs at the same time as the first stage water pump. Most systems use household bleach because there are no OSHA issues handling it, as there would be with commercial 15% sodium hypochlorite.

    The first stage filters are operated at about 0.5 GPM per equivalent 10" length, which is 1/10 to 1/6 what most manufacturers rate them for flow. That results in a lifetime of 10,000 to 15,000 gallons per 10" unit when filtering water from small lakes without too much algae. Most seasonal places operate all summer with one set of filters. I designed and build my own filter housings to get lots of area at low cost for the housings.

    I build a custom control panel for each system using relay logic that is easy for the users to maintain. All controls are automatic so the only operator action is to make the required daily measurements and keep the chlorine feed tank supplied. They also need to watch the pressure gauges to know when to change the filter cartridges.

    Regulations require daily tests of chlorine content, pH, temperature, turbidity, and water usage, and a calculation of disinfection effectiveness. That would not be required for an individual system.

    The disinfection kills all bacteria and viruses. The filters may remove some bacteria but I don't count on that. Nobody ever has a problem. Nobody has ever failed the required coliform test and no "boil water" orders on any of my systems.

    Water sources include lakes and ponds, shallow wells, and roof drainage.

    I drink the water from any system that I install.

    I usually use submersible pumps because they are the most versatile for getting proper head and flow.

    I see a lot of systems where "professionals" have installed big 5 HP or greater centrifugal pumps to develop pressure when all that is needed for the flow is a 1.5 HP submersible matched to the system. Many have operating problems with their previous systems that I solve with the installation of the new systems.

    Nobody has ever had to add staff to operate the system, although the state does now require a "very small system operator" license. The usual process if for the maintenance person to study for and take the test.

    Adapting the system to home use requires only scaling down the components. Most of the material, except the filters and pumps, is available from HD or Grainger. A home user would not bother with a turbidity meter but must have a chlorine test kit.

  11. #86
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daisy
    Have you finished with your well yet? Just curious, because after reading all the responses I am more confused than ever.
    No, my well is still as it is, but I plan to have it professionally cleaned just as soon as I can afford to do so. Looking back, I can see how some of what I have done on my own has probably contributed to the overall problem. In the meantime, however, I believe you are getting some answers here:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob NH
    If I knew or suspected that my well was contaminated with Giardia, then I would probably filter and chlorinate. If it has organisms related to giardia, then I would want a residual disinfection, such as chlorine.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob NH
    I can explain the system here in a few paragraphs. The actual hardware depends on your situation.

    The principle is to filter the water to get out anything that is filterable, and to disinfect to take care of anything the filter won't catch ...

    Adapting the system to home use requires only scaling down the components. Most of the material, except the filters and pumps, is available from HD or Grainger. A home user would not bother with a turbidity meter but must have a chlorine test kit.
    It sounds to me like we might both need to chlorinate.

  12. #87
    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
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    Daisy,
    back to your original question. If you want to periodicaly chlorinate your well for iron bacteria it will have to be flushed out before you can use it again. Once it is flushed out it will not present any harm to your septic system or anything else. From reading your first post that was your original concern. Some local well companies might have better treatment methods than just pouring bleach down the well and recirculating it. You might want to make some phone calls and get different opinions and costs. If you go with a whole house treatment system, a bleach injection post carbon will remove the bleach down to a level that wont harm your septic or anything else. If you are getting sick from drinking this water,like i said before,start with a full water analysis. You will need an analysis anyway if you want to treat this water.

    SAM

  13. #88
    DIY Member MaxBlack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob NH
    The first stage is to pump the water through the best cotton filter I can get. The manufacturer...

    In the past couple of years, I have started adding the Harmsco 1-micron-absolute filters as a second stage...

    The first stage filters are operated at about 0.5 GPM per equivalent 10" length...Most seasonal places operate all summer with one set of filters. I designed and build my own filter housings to get lots of area at low cost for the housings.
    Thanks Bob NH--I am confused though about your 1st stage filtration. You buy "the best cotton filter" but this is actually just filtration material? Then you pack it into some custom-made housings? Can you describe these please.

    I am interested to make a "first stage" filter myself, but don't know what to use for a housing:

    1. At first I was thinking a rectangular-shape with a lid that I could put a simple window screen into. Would be easiest to remove & rinse the window screen after every rainfall. But I guess I'd have to make some concrete housing for it as no rectangular boxes with lids exist. Yes, I know, you are talking much finer filtration than this--I offer it only to let you know where my thinking started!

    2. There are lots of smallish tanks available e.g. a local supplier has a 350gal; I suppose these could be packed with filtration material. Sounds like an awful mess to clean though.

    3. Then there are plastic trash cans. I dunno if these could be made to fit & seal/not leak. Nor are they very sturdy.

    4. Another thought is a long cylinder made of 4" or 6" PVC, but such a beast would be impossible to visually inspect (yeah I know--GAUGES!).

    How far off-base am I in understanding your 1st filter?

    Max

  14. #89
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxBlack
    Thanks Bob NH--I am confused though about your 1st stage filtration. You buy "the best cotton filter" but this is actually just filtration material? Then you pack it into some custom-made housings? Can you describe these please.

    4. Another thought is a long cylinder made of 4" or 6" PVC, but such a beast would be impossible to visually inspect (yeah I know--GAUGES!).

    How far off-base am I in understanding your 1st filter?

    Max
    The first stage cotton filter cartridges are 40" long, 2.5" diameter commercially produced cartridges. They have the standard polypropylene cores. Cotton works better than polypropylene because it is more effective when wet than the polypropylene.

    The systems are almost all seasonal (summer) users, so the housings can be used outdoors. The housings are made from a 20 ft length of 3" Schedule 40 PVC pipe with a stainless steel core tube that supports the cartridges. Cartridges are held end-to-end in compression with a stainless steel spring that pulls a plastic cap against the end of the last cartridge. The perforated core tube collects the filtered water and passes it out through one end of the filter. Feed water is admitted through a tee in the 3" pipe, and there is a set of flanges where the pipe is removed to change the cartridges, without affecting the plumbing connections. You don't need to see the cartridges because they are changed when the pressure loss reaches 20 to 25 psi.

    There are some other details that are a too tedious to explain here but I can pass on if you really want to build your own.

    The largest system uses six of the housings.

    You can make any length you want but the cost of the flanges and fittings makes it most economical per unit if they are longer. The core tube can handle 12 GPM which is about the maximum flow that I use with that housing. Many operate at a lower flow rate.

    The housings were designed to get lots of area at the lowest possible cost. When I designed this system, a commercial vendor was selling bag filter housings for $1800, each of which could contain a bag with about 4.5 square feet of area. My housings contain 13 square feet and at that time cost me less than 10% of that to make. One large operator with bag filters had a man on call around the clock to chage the filters when the pressure drop tripped the system. Filter area and dirt holding capacity is the biggest factor in long filter runs.

    Effectiveness of the filter doesn't depend on the housing. Commercial housings will work just as well. I installed one system that operates through the winter and uses four of the double-length Big Blue housings in parallel with a less expensive version of the Harmsco polypleat cartridges for the first stage, and two of the 1-micron-absolute PP-BB-20-1 for the last stage.
    Last edited by Bob NH; 04-10-2007 at 08:26 AM.

  15. #90
    DIY Member MaxBlack's Avatar
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    This has been very helpful Bob NH, thanks. Sorry if the OP has found the discussion to be too far OT!

    I will start another thread if I feel the need to pick your brain some more.

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