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Thread: Water softener problem, elevated copper in drinking water

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member SMS1944's Avatar
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    Default Water softener problem, elevated copper in drinking water

    My wife and I have no understanding how to resolve our problem. We noted blue-green discoloration in our toilets. We tested our well water and there was no significant copper emanating from the well and the first draw from our faucet read 0.62. We thus had corrosion causing leaching from our copper pipes. A water softener company checked our water. The pH was 7.5 at the sink and we were told that we had elevated CO2 in our drinking water. We previously had a water conditioner and neutralizer. We called a national company who added soda ash but we were unable to maintain a stable pH in our sink water. They then tried Carus 4200 orthophosphate. After two months, again there was no copper emanating from the well and the sink first draw showed the same elevated 0.62 copper level. Our pH remains at 7.5. The Carus company (manufacturer of orthophosphate) stated that probably our water was made too soft for the orthophosphate to be effective. I told this information to the national water softener company and their response was to remove all their equipment and return our money. They were unwilling to try to alleviate the problem by increasing slightly the hardness of the water. Well, with no solution, we called a local non -national water treatment company. He did not retest our water, referring to our previous independent lab evaluations. His solution was to maintain our previous 2 cu ft Clack softener with a dome top,add two 10" x 54"filter 5800 SXT-neutralizer with a 80%Corasex-20%Calcite blend, properly ground the well tank to house electrical main, maintain a ph 8.2-8.6. He assures us that this will eliminate the excess copper leaching from our corroded pipes. He is charging $3000 for the 2neutralizers and $1250 additional parts and labor. My specific question is whether this seems like a reasonable corrective action. The price is high but I am willing h spend an extra $4250 if this will finally correct the problem. We have septic too and are concerned that the PH may become too high and cause a problem. We don't know if this system can properly regulate the PH. We are at wits end. Thank you, Stephen

  2. #2
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Yea, other than blending hard water past the softener which is a bit hard to control that's a pretty good solution and should solve the problem. Can't comment on the price, every area is different and I have no idea as to their overhead and such but I can tell you that we would be in that ballpark too.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  3. #3
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMS1944 View Post
    My wife and I have no understanding how to resolve our problem. We noted blue-green discoloration in our toilets.

    We tested our well water and there was no significant copper emanating from the well and the first draw from our faucet read 0.62. We thus had corrosion causing leaching from our copper pipes.

    A water softener company checked our water. The pH was 7.5 at the sink and we were told that we had elevated CO2 in our drinking water. We previously had a water conditioner and neutralizer.

    We called a national company who added soda ash but we were unable to maintain a stable pH in our sink water.

    They then tried Carus 4200 orthophosphate. After two months, again there was no copper emanating from the well and the sink first draw showed the same elevated 0.62 copper level. Our pH remains at 7.5. The Carus company (manufacturer of orthophosphate) stated that probably our water was made too soft for the orthophosphate to be effective.

    I told this information to the national water softener company and their response was to remove all their equipment and return our money. They were unwilling to try to alleviate the problem by increasing slightly the hardness of the water.

    Well, with no solution, we called a local non -national water treatment company. He did not retest our water, referring to our previous independent lab evaluations. His solution was to maintain our previous 2 cu ft Clack softener with a dome top,add two 10" x 54"filter 5800 SXT-neutralizer with a 80%Corasex-20%Calcite blend, properly ground the well tank to house electrical main, maintain a ph 8.2-8.6. He assures us that this will eliminate the excess copper leaching from our corroded pipes.

    He is charging $3000 for the 2neutralizers and $1250 additional parts and labor. My specific question is whether this seems like a reasonable corrective action. The price is high but I am willing h spend an extra $4250 if this will finally correct the problem. We have septic too and are concerned that the PH may become too high and cause a problem. We don't know if this system can properly regulate the PH. We are at wits end. Thank you, Stephen
    I really question the 80% Corrosex and the 2 AN filters but IMO you should have questioned this before getting the $4250 bill but, now time will tell if it works or not.

    BTW, I think $4250 is way high; you'd swear the guy was a plumber instead of an independent water treatment dealer.
    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.

  4. #4
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    It would be curious to know how much CO2 there is and whether controlling it at the pump with a special sleeve would be warranted. It is probably converting to carbonic acid.

    I aerate my water for iron filtration and it seems the CO2 converts to carbonic acid in my RO filter.

  5. #5
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    BTW, I think $4250 is way high; you'd swear the guy was a plumber instead of an independent water treatment dealer.[/QUOTE]


    Yep, but he wasn't was he LOL For the record though, I think it's a bit high also but there may have been mitigating circumstances or maybe the guy was late on his child support LOL
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    BTW, I think $4250 is way high; you'd swear the guy was a plumber instead of an independent water treatment dealer.
    It's comments like this that I think your daddy show have named you Richard. LOL

  7. #7
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    I am not quite sure what the need for a comment about plumbers was for but it is not unexpected.

    Regarding the system they have designed for you. it should work but it does have a minor flaw. Mixing corosex and calcite in the same tank is a common practice, but maintaining those levels accurately is difficult due to the different absoption rates of the different medias. Another solution may be to do seperate tanks with the calcite and corosex. This would allow you to monitor adjust the levels and bed depths of each. Either way will work fine, as long as you understand the drawbacks of mixing 2 different consumable medias in the same tank with different absorption rates. In all reality, the calcite will have very little function other than as a filler since the corosex is much more easily absorbed into the water. We mix calcite and corosex all the time, and the calcite is used to replace the corosex so as to "weaken" it. I know the terminology is wrong, I am trying to simplify it. Corosex is approximatrly 5x more neutralizing than calcite. If you over correct with corosex, you can remove some of it and replace it with calcite. The opposite is also true, if the calcite is not strong enough, corosex can be added to improve the reactions.

    Corosex is magnesium oxide, (Milk of Magnesia) and if too much is used, a laxitive affect is common.

    It looks like you are on the right track for your problem. Does your well system have an atmospheric storage tank?

  8. #8
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    If I under stand the water correctly, the ph is above 7 and there is blue green showing up.
    Has any one checked to make sure that the electric ground is correct and that there is no electric bleed to the copper lines with in the house?
    Has the water heater temp been turned up from 110 to 130+?

    Just some thoughts out side of the use of soda ash or other media to correct the ph.

  9. #9
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    I am not quite sure what the need for a comment about plumbers was for but it is not unexpected.
    Neither were the replies by you and your good buddy Tom, "unexpected".

    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    Regarding the system they have designed for you. it should work but it does have a minor flaw.

    Mixing corosex and calcite in the same tank is a common practice, but maintaining those levels accurately is difficult

    Another solution may be to do seperate tanks with the calcite and corosex.

    Either way will work fine, as long as you understand the drawbacks of mixing 2 different consumable medias in the same tank with different absorption rates.

    In all reality, the calcite will have very little function other than as a filler since the corosex is much more easily absorbed into the water.

    We mix calcite and corosex all the time, and the calcite is used to replace the corosex so as to "weaken" it.

    I know the terminology is wrong, I am trying to simplify it. Corosex is approximatrly 5x more neutralizing than calcite. If you over correct with corosex, you can remove some of it and replace it with calcite. The opposite is also true, if the calcite is not strong enough, corosex can be added to improve the reactions.

    Corosex is magnesium oxide, (Milk of Magnesia) and if too much is used, a laxitive affect is common.

    It looks like you are on the right track for your problem. Does your well system have an atmospheric storage tank?
    In my opinion, that is a bunch of Californian type PC speak... If you do it, but do it differently, are you really doing what he is doing? I don't think so and what is your "it should work" based on since you don't do it the same way? And then you ask about an atmospheric storage tank.. with no explanation of why.
    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.

  10. #10
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    I am not quite sure what the need for a comment about plumbers was for but it is not unexpected.
    I believe the term for it would be TROLLING LOL.

    I'm not too sure what is California PC about your reply though unless it has something to do with trying to explain things in simple terms. If I recall, I believe the same member that is calling you California PC is the same member that climbed all over you for being too technical awhile back.. You just can't win my friend. LOL
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  11. #11
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    I notice he frequently says he's "not quite sure".... maybe that's enough detail for you but I know it isn't for DIYers wanting info on water treatment.

    BTW, 'trying' usually doesn't mean success.
    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.

  12. #12
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    I am not quite sure what the need for a comment about plumbers was for but it is not unexpected.

    Regarding the system they have designed for you. it should work but it does have a minor flaw. Mixing corosex and calcite in the same tank is a common practice, but maintaining those levels accurately is difficult due to the different absoption rates of the different medias. Another solution may be to do seperate tanks with the calcite and corosex. This would allow you to monitor adjust the levels and bed depths of each. Either way will work fine, as long as you understand the drawbacks of mixing 2 different consumable medias in the same tank with different absorption rates. In all reality, the calcite will have very little function other than as a filler since the corosex is much more easily absorbed into the water. We mix calcite and corosex all the time, and the calcite is used to replace the corosex so as to "weaken" it. I know the terminology is wrong, I am trying to simplify it. Corosex is approximatrly 5x more neutralizing than calcite. If you over correct with corosex, you can remove some of it and replace it with calcite. The opposite is also true, if the calcite is not strong enough, corosex can be added to improve the reactions.

    Corosex is magnesium oxide, (Milk of Magnesia) and if too much is used, a laxitive affect is common.

    It looks like you are on the right track for your problem. Does your well system have an atmospheric storage tank?

    This is the only place I see the words I am not quite sure but I believe that it was a rhetorical question as I am more than sure he knows why you posted what you did. Which also BTW, has nothing to do with the OP's problem either. Perhaps if you kept your ignorant prejudices to yourself things would be a lot clearer LOL
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  13. #13
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    This is the only place I see the words I am not quite sure but I believe that it was a rhetorical question as I am more than sure he knows why you posted what you did. Which also BTW, has nothing to do with the OP's problem either. Perhaps if you kept your ignorant prejudices to yourself things would be a lot clearer LOL
    Someone forgot to turn on their sarcasm filter.

    My main point was that someone already tried the accepted, common, traditional method that works 95+% of the time. This time, it did not work so we may need to look at a different approach. Adding Corosex is a good idea to try to correct the problem, and the guy who is offering you a solution for a very high price is also taking on the liability of that this solution may not work and he will be responsible for multiple trips to the jobsite to try to correct the situation.

    An atmospheric tank can be used as part of a solution if he has one, if he does not, then why would I go into a 50-100 word explanation that will have no bearing if he does not have one. If we have to explain the reason for every question, these threads will be longer than they already are. A simple yes or no will then lead to a potentially different solution or method. Do I really have to explain why we ask what their hardness is every time we ask? The pH, the water temperature, etc...? Your question about the atmospheric tank had no bearing other than to drag out (troll) unnecessary debate.

    Considering the path this thread has been dragged down (as usual) the OP has probably bailed and is trusting on the knowledge of his local dealer who probably has dealt with this exact issue that is specific to his region. Local dealers have a huge advantage of knowing what treatment methods work for the local water supplies that the online guys simply cant have. We can try to assist with our basic knowledge and understanding of water chemistry and our experience, but many water supplies will not be treated by standard treatment methods. That is why we usually rely on a little overkill, so as to minimize the potential for a water treatment method not working.

  14. #14
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    My main point was that someone already tried the accepted, common, traditional method that works 95+% of the time. This time, it did not work so we may need to look at a different approach. Adding Corosex is a good idea to try to correct the problem, and the guy who is offering you a solution for a very high price is also taking on the liability of that this solution may not work and he will be responsible for multiple trips to the jobsite to try to correct the situation.
    Your main point... there were like 28 points.

    So I take it that you see no problem with 80% Corrosex and 20% calcite.

    You have no idea of how the new guy will handle a failure of his non standard and WAY HIGH PRICED idea. And so far you haven't said you've used it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    An atmospheric tank can be used as part of a solution if he has one, if he does not, then why would I go into a 50-100 word explanation that will have no bearing if he does not have one. If we have to explain the reason for every question, these threads will be longer than they already are. A simple yes or no will then lead to a potentially different solution or method.

    Do I really have to explain why we ask what their hardness is every time we ask? The pH, the water temperature, etc...? Your question about the atmospheric tank had no bearing other than to drag out (troll) unnecessary debate.
    I didn't count these words now but as usual you are going on'n on'n on while saying nothing to benefit the OP about the use of an atmospheric tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    Considering the path this thread has been dragged down (as usual) the OP has probably bailed and is trusting on the knowledge of his local dealer who probably has dealt with this exact issue that is specific to his region.

    Local dealers have a huge advantage of knowing what treatment methods work for the local water supplies that the online guys simply cant have.
    The OP already bought the new local guy's stuff.

    You mean local dealer as in the other local dealer that pulled his failed equipment out already... I guess you know this new guy.

    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    We can try to assist with our basic knowledge and understanding of water chemistry and our experience, but many water supplies will not be treated by standard treatment methods. That is why we usually rely on a little overkill, so as to minimize the potential for a water treatment method not working.
    Your anti DIYer attitude is showing again but tell us, what experience do you have with using an 80% Corrosex and 20% calcite mixture?

    My experience with Corrosex is that too much and you get serious overkill. Other than the laxative affect you previously mentioned, what might happen IYO?
    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.

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    lol, what experience do I have? You didnt load that question did you? If I answer about my experience, you will claim I am bragging and even so, my experience means nothing to you regardless. Stop trolling and answer the OP in a professional manner. Other than selling, applying, and installing container loads of calcite and corosex medias for residential, commercial, industrial, municipal, waste water etc, my experience with Calcite and Corosex is really minimal.

    Applying corosex is difficult, but it can be done by using simple tables provided by the manufacturer, and with a proper water test, which you have stated on many occassions is a waste of money. Obviously if you think 80% Corosex is always a bad idea, then good for you. I prefer to follow the manufacturers application recommendations, experience, and proper testing methods. That is how licensed professionals usually do it.

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