We own a cabin in the Black Hills of South Dakota. 2 years ago we considered a water treatment system as our water is not drinkable and leaves residue after a shower or doing dishes. We have a hardiness factor of 4GPG, Iron over 10ppm, Alkalinity of 34, PH of 6.4 and Tannins of 4.5. A local treatment company suggested the Iron Breaker 3 as a viable option. They came to the house and checked out the location and existing well system and determined that the system would fit and would wash effectively. My concern is that the information I am reading says that a PH lower than 6.8 is unacceptable for this system. I would hate to make this financial purchase only to find out that it does not remove the iron which is my biggest problem as it stains everything. Any ideas, suggestions, comments on what to do?
Answer: The company you are speaking with is partially correct. The problem is, as you point out, that your incoming water is too low for proper operation of the Iron Breaker (by the way – it’s a modified Fleck “2510” control). The iron breaker system uses a specially designed control valve and a media tank partially filled with birm media. The unit keeps 1/2 of the tank filled with air at all times, and the iron (and any sulfur or manganese) in your water is oxidized by the air, and also in the birm media. It cleans and flushes the bed very aggressively, as air is also contained in the backwash water. If the water pH is outside of the range of 6.8 to 9.0 units, the active coating will be stripped over time, and lead to reduced system performance.
So, in addition to the Iron Breaker you would need to install a backwashing neutralizer in first position to correct pH to within normal range. We also offer the Iron Breaker system on our site (we call it the Iron-Pro), and you can take a look at a backwashing pH neutralizer that will work for your application as well.
We would probably also recommend a mixed bed water softener with 1 ft3 of cation exchange resin, and 1/2 ft3 of tannin specific anion exchange resin. Although your tannin problem may be resolved by oxidation in the Iron Breaker, a this type of softener will provide a polish of residual tannin and iron that may remain, and also provide softened water. We would be please to provide a quote for a mixed bed softener if you like – price would be in the $1100.00 range delivered – just send us a request at firstname.lastname@example.org, and refer to this posting on our blog. Please let us know if you have any other questions!