Filters Clogging Up - Drought or Iron, Redevelop Well?

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Neil64

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Hello All,

I have some knowledge of water treatment but not as much as most of you, and what knowledge I have gained is from the 6 years of managing this system, from this forum and consulting Dittohead.

6 year old System:

Output to input: Softener (Fleck 5810 SXT 1.5 cu ft. 10x54), Katalox Light (Fleck 5810 2.0 cu ft. 12x52), Neutralizer (Fleck 5810 1.5 cu ft. 10x54). In front of the neutralizer is a 4x20 20 micron pleated filter and before that a 90 micron Atlas Hydra Spin Down in front of the pressure tank. All filters are clean/new.

We are experiencing close to drought like conditions - moderately dry near Annapolis, MD. We haven't had any appreciable snow in two winters and our rainy April/spring was dry. As such, our region is considered moderately dry. We are not expeiencing air in water lines or abnormal flow issues.

Since we warmed this spring, we have had to backwash our Atlas Spin Down more frequently. We've gone from once every 1.5 weeks to daily. Its has gotten so bad that we've collapsed an Atlas Hydra cartridge and are now backwashing after every shower, washing clothes, etc.. I suspected iron fouling or possibly iron bacteria. I dried some of a sample was able to pick it up the sediment with a magnet.

Had a well drill co. company come out, disconnect the pump from the house and flushed brown water for 30 minutes until clear and then continued flushing for another 1.5 hours. He thinks the well might clear up with flushing 2-3 hours a day for a week. He doesn't think this is low water table related and cautions against well redevelopment as it could blow out the well screen or enlarge any potential casement crack.

Well report from 2001: 21 years old, 237' deep, 117' from surface, 218' when pumping 15 gpm. PVC Screen .16 and PVC casement. Likely in the Aquia aquifer.

The iron continued so I shocked the well and let it 12 hours and then flushed it 2-3 hours full blast, resumed water use and then flushed again another 8 hours continuously. Still fouling the filter every time the pump cycles on. The sediment isn't reacting to a magnet but we are still clogging our Atlas Filter with same looking stuff. Water co. testing shows our iron is up from 2 to 3 ppm, ph is 7. Their recommendation is to redevelop the 21 year old well, replace the pump and polypipe as they are likely partially clogged from 21 years of use. They recommend the replacement pump be a constant pressure pump and do not install cycle stop valves that I have read about here.

Checked with neighbors to see if anyone is experiencing issues. Most have deeper wells and are likely on a different aquifer (Magothy) and report no changes. Also called county who says well pump replacement is reportedly higher but that could be due to age and not drought. Water treatment companies not seeing any drought related issues.

I am giving serious thought about having the well blown out/redeveloped but am terrified of the risk of well collapse and having wait 3-4 months for a new well to be drilled @ $15-30K.

Thoughts?
 

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Reach4

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I would do well and plumbing sanitizing. This will knock down the iron reducing bacteria for a while. How long? Somewhere between 3 weeks and 3 years. I sanitize about every 3 years.

What is the stuff in the dish and clogging the filter? Is it like sand particles, or is it a gel?
I don't recommend that you spend the money on a variable speed pump system.

My sanitizing procedure is rigorous -- more rigorous than the great majority. https://terrylove.com/forums/index....izing-extra-attention-to-4-inch-casing.65845/ is my write-up. It involves probably ordering some stuff in advance-- cheap pH meter, test calibration pH solution packet (often included with the meter), and high-range chlorine strips. Not a long lead time probably, but some number of days typically.

My packets get added to 250 ml of distilled water. 250 ml of water weighs 250 grams, and I use an inexpensive kitchen scale to measure when I have poured 250 g of water. A measuring cup would work too. These are buffering salts, so the dilution volume is not critical.

I get my 5% vinegar from Sams Club (2 gallon jugs in a box), but you can get vinegar from various places. I use about 2 or 3 gallons, but wells differ. There are also more concentration vinegars available, but the 5% is as cheap even if I consider the dilution factor.
 
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Neil64

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The dish is actually a bucket and the slime floating in the water was on the bottom of my 4x20 pleated filter. This stuff is like grease and not easily removed.

The mud colored stuff on the spin down filter cartridge (yellow) is not really a gel, just a thick coating of whatever and not gritty. It washes off easily with a brush and water but will not backwash off when it gets thick.

I am assuming I had iron bacteria however all of my toilet tanks that I have checked are clean. Need to look at the basement ones.

I'll look into your sanitizing procedure tonight.

Thanks...
 

Neil64

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Hi,

The first pic was the sample taken from the pressure tank with the spigot cracked on 8/22. The second pic is it 2 days later. We are still getting crude in our Atlas Hydra 90 micron after well pump kicks on, We received some rain last week and thought the clogging was getting a little better but it is dry out here. Every forecasted rain mysterious never arrives. Well and water treatment folks that I've called are still not seeing anything drought related.

One company that redevelops wells wants to replace my well pump, downpipe and wiring when they redevelop based on 21 years of age at close to $5000. I can't argue that the pipe probably has some mineral buildup in it but if a pump is still working good, why replace it? Then again, who wants to pay labor twice. On the fence about this...

We are backwashing the heck of the Atlas - after reach shower, before, during and after KL, neutralizer backwash, and softener regen.

Thoughts?
 

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Neil64

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Long overdue update:

After using the above sanitizing procedure with no change, had the well successfully redeveloped although they got a little black sand and gray clay out. Fingers crossed.
Also determined that 21 year old well pump's check valve was bad and had that replaced. After letting the well shock sit for 24 hours, well pump only pumped a trickle. Had the pump replaced after they checked the new check valve along with the drop pipe and wiring.

We've been enjoying good water ever since.

Thanks everyone for helping.
 
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