What are the problems with Iron in Well Water?
Iron is the most prevalent water concern faced by homes with well water, second only to hardness. Unfortunately, treating iron to a reasonable level is equally challenging.
This problem arises because iron can appear in well water in a variety of forms, each of which may necessitate a different water treatment to remove or manage. Other elements, such as the pH level of the well water, will have an impact on how effective a well water treatment method is. However, once the characteristics of the well water are established, selecting the optimum iron removal method or treatment is simple.
Types of Iron in Well Water
1. Iron from Bacteria in Well Water
Slime in areas like toilet reservoirs or the appearance of a slimy mass fouling softeners or filters are common indicators of iron bacteria.
2. Well Water with Ferric Iron
Ferric iron in well water, also known as red water iron, is essentially clear water iron that has been exposed to oxygen – usually from the air – and has oxidized. Carbon dioxide is expelled from the water, and oxygen reacts with iron to generate ferric ions (Fe+++). This gives the water a rusty crimson hue.
3. The presence of ferrous iron in well water
Deeper wells and groundwater sources are the most common sources. When carbon dioxide reacts with iron in the ground, soluble ferrous bicarbonate is formed. This produces ferrous ions (Fe++) in water.
Ion Exchange for Iron Treatment in Well Water
Ion exchange is based on a softening resin's capacity to attract iron ions as well as hardness ions such as calcium and magnesium. The ions of colloidal and bacterial irons are cations that a conventional water softener is supposed to remove, such as calcium and magnesium ions.
The colloidal and bacterial ions are selected by the strong acid cation resins over calcium and magnesium ions. Using a softener to remove these irons can be a cost-effective and efficient solution to treat iron problems. There are, however, some limitations:
There is a limit to how much iron may be eliminated!
Ion exchange has been reported to remove up to 50 parts per million of iron, but for practical reasons in a functional softener, the upper limit is roughly 5 to 7 parts per million. If the water contains more than a few parts per million of iron, the unit must be carefully built. The sodium regenerant has a tougher time knocking the iron off the resin because the resin selects for it so strongly.
A good backwash is essential for cleaning the resin and preventing channelling!
Iron in the water, including colloidal and bacterial, will foul the resin. The softener loses its ability to effectively soften iron or hardness over time. The softener will be useless at higher pH values. Iron precipitation from water is difficult at low pH levels. In fact, when the pH is below neutral, it is much more difficult to keep the iron in the water dissolved, and when the pH is above neutral, it is much more difficult.
The softener's ability to extract iron from the water decreases as the pH of the water increases over 7.2 to 7.3. Despite these drawbacks, softeners are effective at removing small amounts of clear water iron. Cleaning the resin using an agent – whether a separate product or one incorporated into the regeneration salt will dissolve any iron stuck to the resin.
If you want to know more about water softening, then you are at the right place!
You can have an expert solution upon contacting Netsol Water, a leading manufacturer of Industrial and Commercial Water treatment plants (Water Softeners) and Wastewater treatment plants, among other services. Our water treatment systems are very effective at removing all types of chemical, physical, and biological pollutants.