The Basics of Well Water Treatment Systems
Although the majority of Americans get their water from public sources, there are millions who depend on privately owned wells for their well water. For those of us in Pennsylvania who get their water from wells, there are preparations that well water needs. Especially, to be suitable for drinking and bathing with.
Well Water Contamination Risks
Contamination is a constant threat. You should always make sure that your well water is safe to drink before allowing your family to consume it. Privately owned wells aren’t covered by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations, so they are the owner’s responsibility alone. In order to detect any possible contaminants, watch for unusual odors or discoloration in your well water. Try to find out if there is a history of contaminated water in the area. If there is, your water may require treatment. Without treatment, contaminated water may cause illness in your family.
Common contaminants in your area can include farms that use pesticides or livestock. It can also include improperly disposed oil or chemicals, gasoline, and septic tank spillage. Any kind of factory or facility nearby that could potentially pose a threat to your water should be taken very seriously. Especially if you have infants, young children, elderly, or sick family members who may be more sensitive to contaminated water.
How to Know if Your Well Water is Contaminated
The only sure way to know if your well water is safe to use is to test it. It should be tested once per year or more depending on the conditions of your surrounding area. If there is a history of contamination in your area but your water supply is currently uncontaminated, you should check it more often to ensure safe water. Reasons to get your water tested immediately include many reasons. These reasons include illness in the family, or changes in the color, taste, or smell of the water.
Well Water Filtration Systems
Installing a filtration system for your well water is the best way to eliminate pollutants. Pollutants like lead, bacteria, sediment, and more. You may notice a more pure taste and consistency after installing a filtration system for your well water. That’s a result of removing minerals and pollutants from the water to make it more suitable for in-home use.
Bacteria, chlorine, and sulfur are some of the most common pollutants that can be found in water. Water treatment will ensure completely safe drinking and bathing water. It will also make cleaning around the bathroom and kitchen much easier. Even when washing clothes you’ll notice a difference. You’ll be able to use less detergent to get your loads clean. Your pipes will contain less build-up, making them last longer.
Water softener installation is a straightforward process that will result in a far higher quality water coming out of your faucet. Especially in Pennsylvania where we have mineral rich water everywhere, a softener will improve your home’s water quality greatly. Your skin and hair will look and feel great after you shower with a more pure water supply. For your convenience and for your health, it’s a wise decision to install a water softening system for your home.
How Well Water Treatment Works
The treatment works by first having your water tested and examined to determine its contents. Once the contents of your water have been identified. A precise treatment designed specifically for your water will be carried out by a certified specialist. The system consists of Clarion filtration and special softeners that result in a noticeable difference right away. Once the treatment system is installed. Your water will be far softer, more gentle, and safer for your family for years to come.
American Clear Water
We are proud to offer well water treatment. Contact us today for price and installation information.
Everyone is concerned about the quality of the drinking water in their home. For many a home water filtration system can significantly reduce contaminants that we do not want in our water. Whether you have well water or municipal water, a whole home filtration system may be needed to get the water quality that you want.
Before deciding on a water filtration system for your Central PA home, it is important to understand the types of water provided to your home. The water professionals at American Clear Water divide water into three easy-to-understand classifications: raw, utility and drinking water. Each type of water has different levels of quality. It does not make sense to water your lawn with bottled-quality drinking water. Similarly, you may not want to drink raw water but it is perfect for watering your lawn!
Raw water, regardless of the source, is probably fine for many industrial/commercial purposes, as well as fighting fires and flushing hydrants. But once it reaches your home, you may want to modify it for the end use. For example, for watering the lawn, landscaping and gardening, sediment filtration may be all that is needed to prevent clogging of sprinklers and hose nozzle/hand sprayers. Sometimes, even this water may need further treatment if it stains cement walkways, driveways, brick or stone.
The second water type is utility water for throughout your home. What is utility water? This is water used for anything other than drinking, cooking and ice. If you have well water, a whole home filtration system may include reduction of sediment, iron, sulfur or anything else that stains fixtures or causes odors. To remove sediment, a wide variety of water filtration cartridge filters and automatic back washing filters are available. It maybe be necessary to use filters coupled with other treatment forms like chlorination/retention/de-chlorination and water softening to obtain an acceptable water quality for utility water throughout your home. If you are on municipal water, chlorine/chloramine reduction will also be very beneficial to your appliances and health.
Testing and evaluation by a Water Quality Association (WQA) certified professional is the best way to determine what type whole house filtration is best suited for your individual situation.
Finally, let’s look at your drinking water. Water that is used for human consumption like drinking, cooking and ice should be safe and enjoyable to use. A great system is a point-of-use system called reverse osmosis (RO). It incorporates several forms of treatment: sediment, carbon and molecular filtration. RO reduces most possible contaminants by over 90% and many over 99%! It produces a water that can match any bottled water. In fact, often bottled water is produced using RO! (Check your bottled water labels.) RO has a separate drinking water faucet that that is installed at the kitchen sink separately from your regular faucet and can also have a line run to your refrigerator for RO water at your water and ice dispensers. RO water is also great for pets and house plants!
Do You Need A Home Water Filtration System?
A whole home water filtration system can take many forms. As repetitive as it sounds, for any water concerns and peace of mind. It is best to have a WQA certified professional evaluate your water system, usage and quality to be sure that you have the most effective, reliable, low maintenance, properly installed and economical treatment for your water quality needs.
Sulfur Smell – Why Water Smells Like Rotten Eggs
Hydrogen Sulfide can give your water a sulfur smell, also known as “rotten egg” odor, and can have several causes. If it is only in the hot water and you have a tank type water heater, it could be coming from a reaction between the sacrificial magnesium anode rod and anaerobic bacteria that can be present in water heaters. This bacteria is harmless to people and will not show up in a coliform bacteria test. The rod is to reduce corrosion of the steel tank and should be replaced periodically to maintain this protection (I have never met a home owner who does, or is even aware of it).
Sulfur can also be in the water in the well. It can be from ground water coming in contact with pollution, minerals containing Sulfur, or sulfate reducing bacteria. Wells drilled into bedrock formed of Shale and Sandstone, which is prominent in central Pennsylvania, are more prone to this issue, according to the Penn State Extensions Water Quality website, leading to a sulfur smell in your water.
If Your Water Smells Like Sulfur, Here’s What You Can Do!
To treat a sulfur odor, it is critical to properly identify the source first. If it is in the cold and hot water, a system to treat all the water in the well, or as it enters your home or business will be needed. There are many methods and systems available, and having an experienced Water Quality Association certified professional diagnose, install, and maintain a system will usually be the best option.
Sometimes a sulfur odor with the source water can mask an additional source, such as a water heater anode rod, or a sulfur bacteria in part of the buildings plumbing or waste water system. Additional treatment may be required, and even a good water quality professional will not be able to detect additional problems until the POE water has been treated.
If the water heater anode rod is the culprit, here are some options. The rod can be removed from the water heater, although this voids any warranty and eliminates any protection that the rod was affording to the water heater tank. I once asked a major water heater manufacturer’s representative about this, and he said if there is a water heater warranty claim, we do not ask for the water heater back, do not volunteer that the anode was removed.
Another option is to replace the magnesium rod with an aluminum or zinc aluminum “multi alloy” rod. The odor often returns, and elevated aluminum levels in the hot water can be a health risk, if water from the hot side is used for drinking or cooking.
You could also use a chlorine injection in the source water that feeds the water heater. Besides the initial expense, and ongoing maintenance, we are back to the downsides of having chlorinated water in your home.
Ozonation of the source water is yet another option, although it has the initial expense and some ongoing maintenance, it does not have the negative effects of chlorine.
The last, and probably best, option is to replace your sacrificial rod with a powered anode. The powered anode consistently protects the water heater tank, consumes very little electricity and cannot cause odors in your hot water. There is an upfront expense, but no ongoing maintenance, unless it needs to be replaced. The powered anode can be transferred to a replacement water heater if needed.
Lingering Sulfur Smell
What if the source sulfur is eliminated, but an individual outlet still has an odor, particularly if it is bad during the first draw, after water has not been used from that outlet for a while? It may be caused by a sulfur bacteria in that branch of the plumbing system. Try super chlorinating that line, and letting it sit in the plumbing for as long as possible. Chlorine may take time to penetrate the slime layer on the piping from the bacteria. Two or three applications may be needed to remove the sulfur smell, and it may need repeated in the future if the odor returns. Also, be sure that the odor is not coming from the drain system.
Chlorine is used as a disinfectant and oxidizer in water treatment throughout the United States, including right here in Central PA. In many systems the chlorine is in the water through to the end use, which means that the consumer drinks, bathes and cooks with chlorinated water. Chlorine gives off “swimming pool” odor, damages seals in fixtures and appliances, fades clothing, and adds a bitter metallic taste to the water. Chlorine, and it’s by-products, can have negative health effects, according to the CDC. Is there chlorine in your water?
Chlorine is used in municipal water treatment systems because of economics and the ability to maintain a measurable residual throughout the water distribution system to ensure adequate dosages to keep the water bacteriologically safe to drink at all points of the system. Since chlorine is reduced as it reacts with contaminants, a higher amount of chlorine is needed at the source to maintain an adequate residual at the system end points. Users closest to the source experience the highest doses while users at the furthest outlets may get low amounts. Some vacation resorts have trouble maintaining safe levels in the off season, as little water is being used and the water sits in the system, except for the few users left who often have to deal with unpredictable quality water.
Can Chlorine Be Removed From Your Water?
Chlorine and its by-products can be removed by carbon filtration. A small POU (point of use) carbon filter can be applied to water for the small amount that is used for human consumption. There are many faucet mounted or pitcher type filters available to accomplish this. For POE (point of entry) whole-house chlorine reduction, a larger carbon filter via a whole home water filtration system can be used to eliminate the chlorine odor and hazards throughout your home. The chlorine has done its job in the distribution system to your home, but now you can safely remove it and not have to deal with its odor or health hazards.
This is best to have an experienced Water Quality Association certified professional handle the installation and maintenance of this water treatment filter. The carbon will have to be periodically replaced, but it is a dependable and relatively inexpensive method, if done right.
Free On-Site Water Testing
Harrisburg, Camp Hill, Mechanicsburg, and Surrounding Areas
So, how do you go about reducing the chlorine and other contaminants in your family’s drinking water? Start with a free in-home water test. We test for much more than just chlorine, and will recommend the water treatment solution that best fits your family’s needs and water usage.
Is my tap water safe to drink?
It is a question every home owner asks – is my tap water safe to drink? If you are using city, or municipal, water, the short answer is probably “yes.” However, it is not always that simple. City water is supposed to be brought up to EPA standards. Due to costs and treatment technology required, this is not always the case.
Government Drinking Water Regulations
How are the government standards set? People from the government, scientific and academic communities evaluate existing and possible new standards annually. So what was considered safe last year may not be acceptable this year!
While the government decides what they consider as ok for us to drink, we can provide ourselves with much higher quality tap water. A water treatment system called “reverse osmosis” removes over 90% of just about anything that can be in your tap water and a lot of contaminants over 99%! So even though the government considers your water safe, you can enjoy much higher quality water for your family to drink, cook with and make ice with now.
What you might want to remove from your Tap Water
Just because your tap water is safe to drink does not mean it is good for your clothes, piping, and fixtures. Hardness is not considered a health hazard so most city waters are very hard. They contain large quantities of hardness minerals that wreak havoc with water heaters, piping, fixtures, dishwashers, clothes, skin and hair! A water softener is a great way to remove these minerals, which we do not need for nutrition, and cost us a lot of time and money to deal with.
The Chlorine used to keep city water sterile as it travels from the plant to your home or business is a health hazard. Chlorine produces carcinogenic by-products that we end up drinking, breathing and bathing in. Whole-house chlorine filters are relatively inexpensive to install and maintain. The chlorine has done its job; we do not need it in our homes.
Think about this: less than half of 1% of city water is used for human consumption. Over half of city water, on average, is used for non-residential purposes such as commercial industrial, fire and hydrant flushing. We are treating over 99.5% of city water for non human consumption. Someday we will just treat water for how it is going to be used at a much lower cost for higher quality tap water!
For now, American Clear Water can help you to treat the most common complaints about city or municipal tap water.
Contact American Clear Water today for your free in-home water test!
Bacteria Plagues Well Water
Well water is a common source of potable water in Central Pennsylvania. According to Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, there are over one million private wells in Pennsylvania serving nearly 3.5 million people in rural areas. A well is simply a hole in the ground deep enough to access the ground water. Depending on the geographical area and the well construction, the water that is produced can contain thousands of possible contaminants. Lucky for us, depending on the ground composition that the water passes through, well water problems like surface contaminants can be reduced by the filtering action of the soil.
Common Well Water Contaminants
Hard water from minerals in the ground, bacteria, and organic pollutants can plague well water. However, the most common problems experienced in Central PA are:
- Hydrogen sulfide
Well construction is an important component of water output and avoiding well water problems. Some general rules include:
- Locating the well on a high spot of the property to reduce the chances of having surface run off contaminate the well water.
- Using adequate and properly installed casing (pipe that seals off the top part of the well) can help to prevent surface water infiltration to the well.
- Grouting to reduce bacteria. The top of the well is drilled oversized and a grout is pumped into the space between the casing and the ground to seal off the upper part of the well.
- Adequate pump & piping system.
How to Treat Well Water Problems
Unlike municipal water, where residents pay to make drinking water for less than half a percent of how the water is used, the only well water that must be treated is the water used. Raw water is fine for irrigation. However, for household use, soft water that does not stain fixtures, is odor free, is non-corrosive and is bacteria sterile is best. For human consumption, a high-purity water for drinking, ice, and cooking is desirable.
A properly designed, installed and maintained water well system will give the end user superior water satisfaction at a lower cost than most municipal water suppliers.
We recommend that a residential well be tested once a year for coliform bacteria. If bacteria is found, the most common fix is an ultra violet water sterilizer (UV).
An Ultra Violet Water Sterilizer
- Is relatively inexpensive and low maintenance compared to alternatives like chlorination.
- Does not add any chemicals or create by products in the sterilization process.
Bacteria are exposed to a controlled dose of ultra violet radiation to ensure that the water will not make people sick. The sterilizer only requires us to perform an annual cleaning and lamp replacement.
Schedule your yearly well water test today to be sure that your drinking water is free of coliform bacteria.
American Clear Water
American Clear Water is a water treatment company that specializes in well water treatment, hard water treatment, water softeners, home water treatment, home water softening systems, & home water filtration systems.