Is well water safe for drinking?
This is a question which might have popped our mind at some or other point. Although wells may be subject to certain rules, proposed by the local government for water treatment. But all private well may not be regulated by the government. Because of this, there is a high chance that the private wells may have low quality or contaminated water.
Water can be contaminated by various pollutants. Pollutants like Microorganisms (bacteria or viruses) can make you sick, radioactive elements can be dangerous if swallowed, Fluoridescan damage bone and discolor teeth if they are in an excess amount, nitrates can make your immune system weak and etc.
Homeowners who receive their water supply from wells may find that their water has a slight odor of rotten eggs, caused by the presence of hydrogen sulfide, or have iron dissolved in it. To make the water fit for drinking, it becomes important to remove the sulfur and iron from the water. Normally, chlorination process is used to for the sulfur removal and iron removal.
Effects of iron dissolved and sulphur in well water
Hydrogen sulfide enters the water by decaying organic matter in the soil, where there is no air to escape. This well is not dangerous for human health, but the smell can be very unpleasant. The smell can often taint the taste of water and in some cases make it undrinkable. Apart from having a tangy taste, the water which has iron dissolved in it leaves reddish stains on clothes, faucets, showers and sinks. The easiest and cheapest way to remove sulfur and iron from well water in your home is through a system of chlorination. Here are steps used in sulphur removal and iron removal from the water thus providing us with safe drinking water.
- Adding chlorine
Add chlorine directly into the well, pumping system or water pipes. The dose should be between 50 and 200 parts per million. Let the chlorine be in the water for about 24 hours. Use unscented bleach to remove the odor of sulfur. This is a temporary measure, since odor will return in a few days or weeks. Repeat the process of adding chlorine. Chlorine in its gaseous form is toxic if inhaled, therefore another of bleach in form of chlorine is used. One should do this step with proper care and precaution.
- Continuous addition of chlorine
This method of water filtration is good for removing a high concentration of iron, but requires a storage tank so that the water has enough time to get in touch with chlorine. It is added to the tank at specific intervals, regular, and then the water is exposed to air through aeration. Chlorine bleach used must be odorless and it should be used instead of toxic chlorine gas. After you add chlorine, mix water with the help of a pump and hose to mix thoroughly. Thus, water will also be aerated.
- Green sand filter (Manganese Zeolite)
The green sand filter contains a magnesium dioxide coverage that releases oxygen. Treating water with iron concentration is a healthy practice. The iron reacts with oxygen and results in a compound that is trapped in the filter bed. As the amount of oxygen decreases in the unit, a weak solution of potassium permanganate, 60 to 120 ml for every 28 liters of water, should be placed in the filter bed. The bed is made from green glauconite, which helps to remove hydrogen sulfide, iron and manganese from water by oxidation and precipitation process. Since these chemicals come in contact with manganese of sand particles, the chemical reaction occurs and thus along with other chemicals, sulfur and iron are removed.
Problems with the use of chlorine
Chlorine is an inexpensive and effective means of filtering the water with high concentration of sulfur and iron. If the well does not have a lining or coating, other contaminants can infiltrate into the water. Above all, chlorine may cause the removal of water hardness (calcium, magnesium and other compounds) but its role in eliminating sulphur from well water is quite ineffective. Some people use household bleach, but it comes with certain dangerous consequences. The household bleach can burn the skin on contact. Take precautions when using it. Keep out of reach of children and pets.