Treating well with chlorine

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum' started by jmc0319, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. Feb 26, 2013 #1

    jmc0319

    jmc0319

    jmc0319

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    I need to treat my wells for coliform bacteria. What I have heard and read there are two ways to do that. First is with pouring bleach down the well, running the house water until you smell the bleach and then let it sit for 24 hours before flushing the pipes so you can use house water again. The other way is by dropping chlorine tablets down the well. I'm not sure if the tablets also require the 24 hour period or not. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Feb 26, 2013 #2

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    If you have a deep well jet pump there is no easy way to chlorinate the well. If you have a larger well with a submersible pump, it's not too hard. It is very important that what ever you do. After pouring the bleach into the well, chase it with lots of water to wash it off the pipes and wire. The running of faucets until bleach is smelled is a good method. And the longer you can leave it in the pipes, the better. Four hours is probably long enough, but longer sure won't hurt.

    Bleaching the well may not cure the problem. If you have Fecal Coliform, you may find that your well is shallow or has a hole in the casing and surface water is getting in. If it's just Coliform, it may be that the well has been setting for some time with no use. Running the water for several hours will sometimes cure that problem.
     
  3. Feb 26, 2013 #3

    Fireguy5674

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    I have coliform bacteria as well. Not fecal coliform. I was told bleach would help but is only a temporary solution as the coliform will returm to the well from naturally occuring bacteria in the ground. I am in Central IL. My well is hand dug, brick lined about 22' deep. In my area even the newer bored wells are only about 50'. What is your experience with reoccuring Coliform?
     
  4. Feb 26, 2013 #4

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    With a dug well, coliform bacteria is not unusual. You have a direct opening to the world with a dug well. So the bacteria has no problem getting into the water.
     
  5. Feb 28, 2013 #5

    jmc0319

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    QUICK UPDATE FOR EVERYONE:

    I poured the bleach down both my wells today. I then used a hose connected to each of the wells to wash down the walls and circulate the bleach/water in the wells. I plan on letting it sit in the pipes for 24 hours. I will let you all know how that goes.

    See Neal - I am trying hard to be sure and provide you all with updates. More to come.
     
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  6. Mar 1, 2013 #6

    AU_Prospector

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    Just a note of caution.

    Did this once to a 125 foot well with a submersible pump that had gone out. When we replaced the pump, we chased it with a couple gallons of bleach. Ran the water until we smelled the bleach in each faucet then let it sit as described above.

    Thought we had all the bleach out of the system. Ran water until we could no longer smell it. Did our daily things for a couple days even. Then my wife decided to do laundry. Lets just say your first couple loads of laundry should either be whites or just run the washer a few times with no clothes in it. :p
     
  7. Mar 1, 2013 #7

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    That line shoiuld be added every time someone gives well disinfecting instructions. It could save someone a lot of money. Unless they want to wear all white clothes.:)
     
  8. Mar 2, 2013 #8

    jmc0319

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    Also might save a marriage or two. Another point of advice. I just took the first shower and drank first glass of water. What we do for our women.
     
  9. Mar 2, 2013 #9

    Puddlesx5

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    When chlorination of a well you should bypass the softener also. Chlorine destroys the resin in a typical softener.
     
  10. Mar 2, 2013 #10

    jmc0319

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    Day two of post well chlorination. All is well,although even after flushing house faucets and livestock well there is still a faint smell of chlorine in the water. Better today than yesterday. We will not be drinking the water until it is tested next week. Thanks to all for your advice.
     
  11. Mar 3, 2013 #11

    inspectorD

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    I'm just going to add a little more information for you. We all know that clorine is going to work , however once you work it back out of the well, you have lost your protection from it comming back. And I can tell you from experience with wells, it is comming back.
    I would install a uv lamp. It is a cylinder with a uv light that will kill all the bacteria....all the time.
    Here is a good link for what your dealing with.

    http://www.aquatell.com/knowledge-center/coliform-bacteria-drinking-water

    Good luck!!
     
  12. Mar 3, 2013 #12

    jmc0319

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    Thanks. Isn't continuous chlorination another option?
     
  13. Mar 3, 2013 #13

    inspectorD

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    Sure, but how often do you want to have to test the water....or deal with the bleach and all the ill effects it has on you and your stuff.
    I'm just suggesting this is another , option with NO clorine to worry about....like the Oh darn...I forgot to pick up bleach yesterday....should we drink the water?
    Just plug it in.;)
     
  14. Mar 3, 2013 #14

    jmc0319

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    Don't misread me. I do appreciate the input immensely. Where do you plug it in?
     
  15. Mar 4, 2013 #15

    inspectorD

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    No problem,:D The internet always sounds worse when you can't add in the sarcasm.:eek:
    It attaches to your well line and you plug into an outlet. As the water passes through it gets the UV light ...and kills the bugs.;)

    I would talk to your local well company for more info, but here is a good read into what these systems can do, and cannot do. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultraviolet_germicidal_irradiation

    Every private well situation is different, water runnoff and proximity to polutants is always a factor.
    This is why for this I would just at least have someone come out and talk to you in person about your options.
    Good luck.:)
     
  16. Mar 4, 2013 #16

    bud16415

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    When I have my water tested they don’t have the equipment in that lab to spell out exactly what bugs are in the water but they will recommend treating the water and then a repeat testing based on the count. The amount of chlorine needed and how long it will take to dissipate is based on how much water is in the well. In my case my casing is 8 foot and 32 foot deep and is surrounded with 12 tri-axle loads of baseball size stones. The lab will be able to recommend how much to add. In my case I had to put 14 large jugs of Clorox in. With really large capacity wells like mine it might be better to use tablets but they break down slower and might make the wait period longer. The recommended process with this type of well is to rinse the inside of the casing as well with a hose when circulating the water. We use the water right away but don’t do laundry for at least a week and hold off drinking the water until all smell is gone. It does make for a really clean shower that first week.

    Many people use a chlorination system. And others the UV system mentioned above. One drawback to the UV is if you have anything in the water that will build up on the glass tube it will block the light.
     
  17. Mar 4, 2013 #17

    inspectorD

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    Yes, and the drawback is that the light does not get to the bacteria because they are "hiding" behind stuff as they go through. So sometimes you need a pre filter before the UV to keep the "turbidity" out.
     
  18. Mar 4, 2013 #18

    bud16415

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    Turbidity is one problem and filtration can help. There is also iron and calcium and such that will build up on the glass tubes. I have several friends with UV setups and they just have a routine plan to service the units.
     
  19. Mar 4, 2013 #19

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    I know most people don't want to hear it, but I refuse to work on wells of this type or hand driven wells in our area. The chemical content from large Farms is worse than the bacteria problem. The amount of filters that would be needed to make the water safe for drinking and bathing, would cost more than a good deep well without either problem.

    Drilling a new well the right way is the best solution and maybe the cheapest if you truly want good water.

    Unless you have pristine water free of calcium, magnesium, iron, sulphur etc. Pre filtration will be needed with the UV light.
     
  20. Mar 4, 2013 #20

    bud16415

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    Most people assume shallow wells are just collecting ground water and in many cases that is true. Agricultural runoff is always a concern along with all kinds of non-agricultural contamination that can affect deep wells also. Where I live on the shore of the great lakes many people drill much deeper than the lake level only to come up dry. My shallow well is into an aquifer that is made of blue clay, that holds a huge amount of water but gives it up very slow. Thus the need for a larger cistern. In my case the 12 tri-axle loads of stone replaced the blue clay and the clay was used to cap the ground above the cistern.

    All well owners deep and shallow should be aware of what is going into their water. City water is tested for you but it’s not always the best.
     

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