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Fireguy5674 01-03-2013 10:23 AM

Cleaning Up Well Water
I live in a rural area in central Illinois. My domestic water is supplied from a 22' hand dug, brick lined well. Through last summer's drought I never ran out of water. However, I have had the water tested by the state lab and we have microrganisms, nitrates from fertilizer and hard water. What I am looking for is some guidance on what kind of whole house filter, water softener, UV treatment unit and RO filter to get. There are normally just 2 of us living in the house. I have looked online and at the big box stores but I am uncomfortable with the the quality in many cases. I am also a bit hesitant about ordering something this important from California with no local dealer. I believe I have the ability to install and maintain the system. I am just looking for some feedback from other's experiences. :confused:

JoeD 01-03-2013 10:32 AM

Do NOT go to big box store. You need a specialty service of a water treatment company. The chemicals are going to be difficult ones to clean up. The organisms can be done with UV filters but the chemicals are going to need a carbon filter probably.

Fireguy5674 01-03-2013 12:37 PM

I have talked to Culligan water and a couple others. They want $5000 for stuff that I can buy online for about $1800. I know how to install and set up I am just looking for good source of supply for reliable equipment I guess. My plan is to put in a whole house filter, a water softener, a whole house UV and then the RO under the sink to remove nitrates in drinking water. Does anyone have experience with no salt water softeners? Sounds to good to be true and you know what that normally gets you.

Wuzzat? 01-03-2013 01:47 PM

Lindbergh writes books for engineers who are studying for the PE exam.
His book on civil or mechanical engineering might have water purification formulas and info
and your local library may be able to borrow these books through interlibrary loan.
These will give you a reference point.
Also, if there is a college nearby you can do what Erin Brockovitch did: ask the professors.

This kind of basic knowledge puts the snake-oil salesmen on notice that they shouldn't mess with you and waste your time.

Figure 70 gals per person per day, or less, and you may want water with some hardness in it.
For quick feedback on effectiveness and variation on chemical concentrations I guess you should get some testing equipment.
For benchmarks on quality I guess you can search on city water analyses, but they are probably lying about heavy metal content and how much Perchlorate is in their water.

JoeD 01-04-2013 06:56 AM

No salt water softeners do not work. I notice the add on this page for salt free water softeners. But if you go to the actual page they do not call them water softeners but Anti-Scale water conditioner.
I would try to find a non brand name installer(well driller or plumber familiar with wells) who can give you a recommendation based on what you need, not on what his home office tells him to sell you.

Fireguy5674 01-04-2013 07:23 AM

Thanks guys. I appreciate the input. Finding the right stuff seems to be a bigger project than doing the work.

Speedbump 01-08-2013 05:46 PM

Nitrates can be removed with a water softener and fine mesh resin. I haven't tried it since I don't work on shallow wells. In my opinion (at least here in my area) the surface water here is nasty and isn't worth trying to clean up. Agricultural chemicals such as fertilizers, pest spray, and other things are just too abundant to clean. That and the PH is 5.5.

Whole house filters you see in the big box stores are a joke. Salt free softeners are also a joke unless they are the guys pushing softeners that use Potassium Chloride instead of salt. It's a marketing scheme, but costs about three times as much as using salt.

RO under the sink will remove a lot of stuff, but they have to be maintained bi-annually with normal usage.

You should be aware of the fact that bathing in water with chemicals (chlorine included) is worse for you than drinking it.

Get a local reliable company to do a water analysis for you. Someone that knows your area and it's problems. A lab is the best bet. Water analysis is expensive, but if you only test for what you probably have, it isn't too bad. That way you can get the right equipment instead of what some salesman wants to sell you. Salesman generally test for hardness, iron and not much else. Then they want to sell you a softener. They generally make all kinds of claims of what they will remove.

Basically do you homework. Then once you know what you need, come see me again. I sell this stuff and have excellent pricing.

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