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Thread: Well water nasties aside from calcium/copper/iron?

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    pinguy's Avatar
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    Well water nasties aside from calcium/copper/iron?

    Is there anything to be concerned about aside from these?

    We have well water that I always thought was pretty nasty. I don't drink it because it tastes metallic. It leaves pinkish brown stains in toilets/sinks, and green deposits around faucets.

    This is our first season with the pool, and I was getting concerned about refilling next year from the hose, so I took advantage of the TF test kits sale and got the Copper/Iron test kits.

    After getting woozy off the copper reagents, I was surprised to find the copper level from the tap was only .3 ppm and Iron was 0. CH is 120.

    Is there anything else I should be worried about/send out for testing?
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    Re: Well water nasties aside from calcium/copper/iron?

    It is always a good idea to have well water tested professionally (check with your health department) if one plans on drinking or cooking with it.

    As to the pool, you can get staining with that copper level and will need to address if you can remove it or sequester it chemically.
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    Re: Well water nasties aside from calcium/copper/iron?

    Hi pin guy. Is the water in your household tap softened water? Or did you test the outdoor faucet by the pool? As yippie said, .3 copper can indeed stain.

    However, If you don't have a water softener in the house, well might not be that bad in terms of hardness.

    Pinkish brown and black stains can be from maganese -- (blackish stain) which is problematic for pool if high levels -- and/or something called "iron bacteria" --(pinkish brown) which calls for chlorinating/decontamination of well.

    You may want to run a test on your well to ensure you don't have iron bacteria...I don't think normal iron test would read it, but I might be wrong.

    Here's a quick link to read to see if you think your well might have iron bacteria: Iron Bacteria in Well Water Treatment, Symptoms, and Facts
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    Re: Well water nasties aside from calcium/copper/iron?

    Thanks! I'm not really worried about the safety of the well water for human use, my parents have had the house 35+ years and we're still alive. I also tested from the hose, not the faucet for CH, so 120 is whats going into the pool.

    How often do I need to dose a sequestrant if the copper levels in the pool get too high? Getting water trucked in is $250/load.

    Would it be cheaper to get a fresh partial fill at the beginning of each season, or use a sequestrant?
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    Re: Well water nasties aside from calcium/copper/iron?

    At .3 ppm, my guess is that sequestrant is cheaper short term...Metal Magic can be had for about $17 a bottle at Pool Chemicals, Hot Tub Chemicals and Supplies | Pool Geek
    An initial dose and then monthly top up may get you through, but it really depends on your pool, how often the ph gets high, how much well additions increase the load, etc. So some experimentation is in order.

    Now that my own iron and copper readings are sub .5 (I use softened water to top up) I barely seem to need it at all.
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    Re: Well water nasties aside from calcium/copper/iron?

    What about collecting rainwater from gutters/roof? Large plastic cisterns are not that expensive and modifying aluminum gutters and down spouts is pretty trivial work with the right tools. All in all, what you pay for 3-4 truck loads of water could easily get you an 800-1000 gallon installation. Rain water is the best water you can put into your pool - no metals, no calcium, near zero alkalinity, low pH. Given your location, rainwater should be plentiful.


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    Re: Well water nasties aside from calcium/copper/iron?

    My weakest link in pool care is understanding metals. I have always thought that copper from a well was a VERY unusual situation. So much so that it typically is not mentioned.

    I do know that .3 ppm copper is not good but I would certainly redo that test or have it done professionally.

    Anyone else have copper in their well water?
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    Re: Well water nasties aside from calcium/copper/iron?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    My weakest link in pool care is understanding metals. I have always thought that copper from a well was a VERY unusual situation. So much so that it typically is not mentioned.

    I do know that .3 ppm copper is not good but I would certainly redo that test or have it done professionally.

    Anyone else have copper in their well water?
    This is true - Cu is not typically found in ground water aquifers unless there is a source of industrial waste nearby. Typically Cu in well water comes from corroding household pipes. See this EPA Document on copper in drinking water.

    1.3ppm is considered safe for drinking water standards but >0.2ppm in your pool is definitely a staining risk if your pH gets too high.


    Matt
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    Re: Well water nasties aside from calcium/copper/iron?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    This is true - Cu is not typically found in ground water aquifers unless there is a source of industrial waste nearby. Typically Cu in well water comes from corroding household pipes. See this EPA Document on copper in drinking water.

    1.3ppm is considered safe for drinking water standards but >0.2ppm in your pool is definitely a staining risk if your pH gets too high.
    FWIW... My city supplied water source is aquifer based and, depending on the aquifer chosen, can be impacted by farmland, mining, and industrial waste. Copper and calcium are my nemeses with a fiberglass pool.

    According to my Taylor test kit, my present copper content is .15 and TF100 measures CH at 325. To maintain clarity and appropriate levels of sanitization without staining, I keep the pH at 7.2 with a watchful eye on the TA, adjust chlorine levels as needed (typical 2ppm loss per day), and add HEDP sequestrant weekly.

    It's a challenge but it can be done.
    13 yr. old 5000 ga. inground fiberglass pool filtered by multi-port StaRite housing 300 lbs. of glass media and powered by a 1 hp single speed pump. City water supply is aquifer based, heavily laden with copper and calcium. Drought restrictions are in place. TFPC method supported by TF-100 test kit and Taylor SpeedStir.

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    Re: Well water nasties aside from calcium/copper/iron?

    Anyone else have copper in their well water?
    I don't have copper in my well that I know of, but I do have .3 ppm in my pool, presumably either from pool care preceding 2011 OR from my copper pipes. The level has stayed relatively stable while the iron level has dropped with my use of softened water for top up, which makes me suspect the pipes If I recall correctly, my RO guy also read .3 ppm copper last year.

    Pipes are suspect because the house is oldish ('67) The house before this one had galvanized steel pipes so copper was considered an upgrade

    Pinguy reports an old well...if house is also older, entirely possible the .3 copper is from pipes.

    That said, here in Michigan, there ARE water sources that DO have copper, particularly in the Anatrim shale area, the UP copper mining communities, et al. It is considered a water quality issue. Some bacteria have evolved that are resistant to copper in these areas, including psuedomonas, which is what causes hot tub itch. -- Another reason not to use algaecides with copper -- there are forms of bacteria that can evolve to be resistant
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    Re: Well water nasties aside from calcium/copper/iron?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    My weakest link in pool care is understanding metals. I have always thought that copper from a well was a VERY unusual situation. So much so that it typically is not mentioned.

    I do know that .3 ppm copper is not good but I would certainly redo that test or have it done professionally.
    The house was built in the early 50's and most of the plumbing is still old copper. I'm really not surprised that it showed up on the test, especially considering the green deposits around all of our fixtures.
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