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Thread: Methane in new well

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  1. #1
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    Default Methane in new well

    Hi All,

    I have a new drilled well I just finished hooking up for my residential service. The well is in shale and contains sulfur. I hooked up my chlorination system I used on my old dug well and that took care of the sulfur - not a tinge of smell. BUT, I noticed small air bubbles which gives a milky appearance that clears from the bottom up when a glass of water (hot or cold) is drawn. I checked for methane using a plastic soda bottle and match and sure enough a yellow/blue flame is evident confirming presence of methane.

    Now, from what I understand, methane and the chlorine used in my chlorinator combine to make a cancer causing carcinogin. I don't want to eliminate the chlorinator as we object to the sulfur odor that results. I've heard a little about aerator tanks, does anybody have any recommendations, experiences etc... to pass along? Or perhaps any other methods of eliminating the methane? I realize methane by itself is harmless health wise, but with the chlorine, I have a little concern. I'd appreciate any feedback.

    Thanks,

    Gary

  2. #2
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    We use air to remove the Sulphur odor not chlorine. I don't know if this would be any help for your methane problem.

    Maybe someone with experience with methane can tell you what is a better solution to the whole problem.

    bob...

  3. #3
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    There are things for getting gas out of water within pressure tanks, but nothing works as good as air stripping. http://www.sfr.cas.psu.edu/water/met...ct%20sheet.pdf
    The paper at the link above mentions $1500 to $3000 to solve the problem. As an inventive engineer, I would expect to put my own system together for perhaps $700 worth of parts. You might want to get a quote from a local water treatment company for comparison.

    The Penn State paper talks about removing methane from the well. That is probably the easiest if you have a shallow well where a large quantity of water is stored in a large casing. A system for bubbling air through the water would remove most of the methane.

    If you can't remove the methane before the water is pumped, it usually requires two stages of pumping to strip it out. The chlorine would be added after the methane is stripped out. The system would consist of:
    1. A place to spray the water that would be mixed with air to strip out the methane; probably a pipe 6 to 12 inches diameter, 6 to 10 ft high, depending on how much methane must be removed. ($125)
    2. A fan similar to that inside your bathroom exhaust fan to blow air through the column ($50)
    3. A small plastic tank inside where it won't freeze, 50 to 100 gallons, to collect the water and allow your two different pump flows to be accommodated. ($100)
    4. A level switch and probably a relay to control the well pump filling the tank ($50)
    5. A shallow well jet pump to pump from the new tank into your existing system. ($225)
    6. A filter to get rid of the precipitates that might form when you aerate the water ($100 including a cartridge that will last a year)
    6. Miscellaneous stuff ($50)

    Post again or EMail if you are interested in such as system and want more ideas. This is strictly a do-it-yourself project. I'm not trying to sell anything.

  4. #4
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    Default Methane in new well

    Bob,

    I had seen the website you suggested. Even though I'm sure it works, the system it and you describe seems quite involved. Can I assume most people just live with the methane? Otherwise I would think more "user friendly" systems would be available on the market. I would think both sulfur and methane in a given well were a common occurance from information I've seen. but am surprised on the lack of more readily available information or equipment.


    How about the "air method" for sulfur removal that Speedbump mentions? That way I could either live with the methane, or some of it could actually dissipate at the same time the sulfur is being erradicated.

    One more idea, since I have an 80 gallon "mixing tank" with my chlorination system, is there a possiblilty I could vent that to allow some methane to escape? Perhaps using an air escape valve as seen on hot water heating systems? Addtionally, I don't believe my well cap is vented ( I have to make the trek out there to check to make sure though) as it doesn't have a vent pipe coming out of it. The pitless adapter is 4 feet underground and no vent comes out of it either. Do vented well caps actually work? Before the well was capped, I did put my ear to the casing to listen for any bubbling (the driller gave me the heads up that he believed there was methane present), but none was heard. The static pressure level is 90 ft. down, maybe that's why I couldn't hear anything. Well depth is 170 ft.

    Thanks again,

    Gary

  5. #5
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    The aeration process described for removing hydrogen sulfide ( http://www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/i...movingh2s.shtm ) will also remove methane.

    But note that the description includes the statement "A second pressure system is required to pump the water from the storage tank into the distribution system." That is what the extra pump and controls are for.

    The column and blower that I described are to increase the effectiveness of the removal of the dissolved gasses.

    The process described at the site (link above) for removal of hydrogen sulfide with chlorination mentions filters that require backwashing. I am not a fan of the small home filters that require backwashing because they are not as effective as a good cartridge filter. In order to be effective, sand and similar filters in municipal systems and swimming pools use chemicals that cause the particles to agglomerate to large enough size to be collected in the filters. You don't want to mess with that in your home system. You can buy a lot of cartridges for the cost of most of the backwashable filters installed in homes. The secret to success is to put in a large enough filter, because your annual cartridge cost is lower if you put in more cartridge area (mathematics left as an exercise for the reader, or I will give the proof if asked) and there is an optimization process to minimize the combined investment and operating cost.

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    My aeration system removes H2S while under pressure with a special air compressor with a ramped valve plate that injects air into the water stream just before it enters a galvanized tank in the top through a diffuser. The excess air and gas is let out of the tank through an air release valve located on the side of the tank.

    Not all of the air is let out of the tank, as some of the air stays in suspension in the water. I am not sure how the methane would react to the pressure as opposed to the aerator Bob is talking about.

    Our system however does not require another pump and tank to make the system work.

    bob...

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    DIY Junior Member photosean's Avatar
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    Bob, I would like to try and build the system you allude to above. I just put in a new well at a cost of 12 grand and can't afford to buy and install another 3k system. Would you mind sending me the plans/schematic to build a simple system with a vent to remove the excessive methane in my water. I can ignite the gas coming from my shower faucets and they will burn indefinitely until a large burst of gas puts out the flame which can then be reignited and burn and burn and burn...

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