Do-it-yourself Softener Design Question

Our well water has the following properties and I’m trying to design a softener using left over parts that will handle this water efficiently and for 3+ years. Our well pump is rated at a max of 10 gpm and our pressure is 45-60psi.

• Alkalinity = 87.0mg/l
• Chlorides = 31.47 mg/l
• Hardness = 101.49 mg/l
• pH = 8.7
• Sulfate = 11.47 mg/l
• TDS = 136 mg/l
• Calcium = 20.92 mg/l
• Iron = 6.65 mg/l
• Magnesium = 12.01 mg/l
• Manganese = 403.6 ug/l
• Phosporus = 207.6 ug/l
• Silicon = 10,620 ug/l
• Sodium = 5.04 mg/l

No bacteria nor any other (IMO) important metal or inorganic compounds present.
Currently there are two persons in the house with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. We currently have a system in use but we have noticed white deposits on our glass, iron stains on our shower curtain, and slight smell at the end of resin life before regeneration. The current system regenerates every other night. What I have come up with so far is listed below and is based on my brief introduction into this realm. Please let me have your comments/suggestions/issues on my design.  Thanks in advance, Rob

Stage 1
• 12″ x 52″ tank
• 2.5″ gravel underbed
• 2 ft^3 of Pyrolox (30.6″ depth)
• Fleck 5600 SE valve with up-flow regen
• Did not use Birm due to pH being 8.5+ and hydrogen sulfide is present
• Manganese greensand was not used due to requirement of Potassium Permagnate

Stage 2
• 8″ x 44″ tank (re-used)
• 1 ft^3 of ResinTech CG8 (34″ depth)
• Fleck 5600 SE Valve with up-flow regen
• Turbulator will be purchased therefore no gravel underbed used

Stage 3
• 8″ x 44″ tank (re-used)
• Time scheduled regen valve with down flow (re-used)
• 2.5″ of gravel underbed
• 0.87 ft^3 of GAC coconut shell (30″ depth)

I have thought about using a sediment filter before stage 1 and a smaller micron filter after stage 3 but have not decided yes/no yet. Any thoughts? Do I have enough pressure to get water through  all of this?

Answer:  A few issues here.  The first stage Pyrolox filter is a good concept, but the size won’t work in practice.  Pyrolox is a VERY heavy media, and requires a substantial backwash flow to keep the bed reorganized, clean & active.  A 2 ft3 unit using a 12 inch diameter tank would require 23 GPM available flow for proper backwashing, and you mention that you can only supply a maximum of 10 GPM. One way to consider would be to instead use one of the smaller 8 inch diameter tanks in lead position, with 0.75 ft3 of Pyrolox and a gravel underbed. This way some of the iron and H2S will be removed prior to the next stage, and the reduced 8 to 10 GPM backwash flow requirement is within your pumps ability to deliver.  The downside here is that due to the smaller bed size, peak performance will only be seen at lower flow rates of about 2 GPM and less, and you will have to design your system for some iron and sulfur by-pass during periods of higher flow rate.  If you already own the 5600SE upflow control – you can use it – but run it in time clock mode, and make sure that you have the correct backwash flow control.  If you are purchasing a new control, instead you might consider a Fleck 5600 (or even better, a Fleck 2510) time-clock control for this application.

Stage two should use the larger 12 diameter tank, filled with 2 ft3 of carbon and gravel underbed. This will polish the H2S that may bypass stage one, and will also act as a self cleaning filter to remove particulate down to 20 microns in diameter. Your existing 5600 time-clock control should function acceptably here.

Stage three should be your water softener.  Again, if you already have the control, you can go with your design as planned.  If you are purchasing a new control, you might want to look at the 5600SXT and configure it with fine mesh resin and a gravel underbed.  In addition, you would want to install a Res-Up drip feeder in the brine tank.  Res-Up resin cleaner, when used in conjunction with a drip feeder, will help to keep the softener bed free of iron and manganese buildup.  If you go with fine mesh, you cannot use a turbulator – you will need to use a standard riser with a fine mesh basket and upper screens.  Consider Purolite C100EFM or Sybron C-266 if you go with fine mesh.

We would not suggest that you consider a 1-micron filter.  Pressure drop may be too high with all of the other equipment as discussed above if you install this as well.  We have the control valves, mediaturbulator/distributors, and Res-Up available online if you need them.  Hope this helps!

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