In Part 1 of this multi-part series, I described the process of using an aerator to remove sulfur from well water. Although an aerator is one of the most common and inexpensive methods to remove sulfur, there are a few alternative ways to treat this problem. One common problem that plague aerators is that they are “open” systems. This allows contaminants to enter the aerator including grass, dirt, dust, pollen, lizards, frogs, and even snakes. Anything that doesn’t float in the water will eventually settle to the bottom and be picked up by the 2nd stage house pump. This may not be a concern to some people, however, I personally wouldn’t care to shower with water that was urinated in by these little creatures, let alone drink it! This is where a “closed” system might be an attractive alternative. Although more expensive, there are many advantages to using these new state-of-the-art systems.
One such system is called a “Odor Oxidizer” and is distributed exclusively by Eco-Water Systems of Venice, Florida. This unit is a self contained “closed” system utilizing a large but unobtrusive oxidation tank, booster pump, and air injection valve. Basically, the well water is supplied to a booster pump that accelerates the water thru a special air induction valve continually introducing air into the water stream. As the air mixes with the sulfur, hydrogen sulfide gas is released thru a small “bleeder tube” and into the atmosphere. Since a small portion of the air introduced stays inside the oxidizer tank, it becomes a very large pressure tank. Another advantage to this type of system is that it can also remove iron from your water. The iron is oxidized and turned into a solid form (ferric iron) and settles to the bottom of the tank. These units are essentially maintenance free and only requires opening a “dump valve” periodically to flush contaminants from the system. In addition to it’s sulfur and iron removing capabilities, it will provide up to 75psi of continues water pressure to your home. A optional chemical dosing unit is also available to provide chlorine injection where necessary.
Chemical oxidation is another method to remove sulfur and sulfur bacteria from well water. Although this type of system is relatively inexpensive, the yearly cost of chemicals should be considered. This system requires only a chemical pump, contact tank, and a backwashing carbon filter. If you already have an aerator, a contact tank is not needed. The chemical pump is activated either by a “flow switch” or the well pump pressure switch. When the chlorine is injected into the water, oxidation takes place converting the hydrogen sulfide gas to tiny sulfur particles that are “stripped” from the water by the carbon filter. The carbon filter also serves to remove any residual chlorine. On a preset schedule, this filter will “backwash” itself removing all the accumulated sulfur.
One final method worth noting is a “Greensands Filter”. This filter, which is most commonly used for iron, contains a magnesium greensand media that is coated with potassium permanganate, an oxidizing agent. When water flows thru the filter, the hydrogen sulfide is oxidized by the potassium permanganate and converted to tiny particles of sulfur. The sulfur is then “stripped” and collected within the greensands. On a preset schedule, the filter will backwash the accumulated sulfur, and recoat the greensands with new potassium permanganate. Again, as with all chemical type systems, consideration should be given to the yearly cost of chemicals.
In the next part of the series, I will touch on the different methods of removing iron from your well water.