Replacing Chlorine Treatment with Hydrogen Peroxide in Well-Water Application


We live in a very rural area in Tennessee where there are many wells. Most of them contain sulfur to a certain degree and some iron and manganese. Our well has an occasional “rotten egg” odor, but very infrequently, and it’s gone just a few seconds after we notice it. We have lived here for 7 years, and the people who put in the wells and the water-treatment systems around here have a reputation for ripping people off by installing systems that are not needed… or by disguising used tanks by putting a shiny new tank skin on them and selling them for new to unsuspecting home-owners.

When we first came here, the water treatment for the well water consisted of various filters and softeners, which we did not understand at all… and the water tasted BAD in spite of tank after tank after tank that was “supposed” to be treating the water. What we were told did not make sense to us, so we collected a water sample directly from the well, we had it analyzed by a third party. We were told that our water was just as good, clear and clean as “bottled water” and that we probably did not need all the filters or the softeners. So… just for curiosity, we disconnected everything, and have since only used a chlorine injection system to treat the water. It is amazing how many people come to our house and comment on how good our water tastes compared to theirs… and they only live just down the road… AND they have a slew of filters, holding tanks, and various other “paraphernalia” from the local water-treatment “specialists”.

I have been using peroxide, as well as vinegar, in our home as an everyday cleaner and disinfectant due to our parrots. They are very sensitive to cleaning agents, and these are the safest for them. I have worried about the effect that the chlorinated water might have on them (two have very dry skin in spite of added humidity and we wonder if it might be the chlorine affecting them… even though I let their water sit overnight), even though we dilute the chlorine in the tank quite a bit. But I also worry about how safe chlorine actually is for us, too. I started searching around, and have found several articles about the use of peroxide in place of chlorine to treat well water. Is this true? It almost sounds too good to be…

Unfortunately, I have also come across several different schools of thought on the percentage of hydrogen peroxide that is used… from the standard “over-the-counter” 3% to 35% to 50%. Which is correct? If this is indeed possible, would we just have to throw away the tank that holds the chlorine, as well as the pump/supply line that we are currently using?

If peroxide is indeed a better solution, I would really like to know what I would need to change our system over to a peroxide-based system instead of chlorine-based one, and how we would go about accomplishing such a task.

I do have particulars in regards to the water-test and would be happy to supply those if you feel that information is pertinent. Just let me know what you need to know that would be helpful. Thank you in advance,

Cathy Coleman
Pikeville, Tennessee

Answer: While using hydrogen peroxide is certainly an option here, you would be better off continuing to use chlorine injection, and simply adding a backwashing carbon filter downstream of the chlorine injection point. The reason for this is basically cost. In very high sulfur applications, we recommend the use of hydrogen peroxide (usually available for injection systems in a 7% concentration), as it is a very powerful oxidizer. But it is also more expensive to use this solution when compared to household chlorine bleach. In your case a backwashing carbon filter will remove all chlorine injected into your system, and also remove any residual sulfur (rotten egg) odor. The carbon filter will also act as a self-cleaning filter; and remove particulate formed during the injection process down to 20 microns is size. A typical size for this application is 1.5 ft3, and these are available online for $580.00 delivered.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

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