Low level iron Birm Filter

setsailsoon

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Oct 25, 2015
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Stuart/FL
I have a well that is currently used for irrigation only. I'd like to use it for the pool. Here are the test results:

Iron .3ppm
Sulfur 0
Total Hardness 15 gr/gal
pH 7.9

I have a Fleck water softener sized properly for the hardness but these systems don't like iron so I'm thinking about using a Birm filter instead of the green sand media because it's cheaper and doesn't need to have permanganate added like salt is for the softener.

Does anybody have experience with these and have any information on how well they work to remove very low iron concentrations?

Thanks.

Chris
 

jkayca

Well-known member
Jul 5, 2014
76
Ottawa Ontario
Seems to be a lot of $$$ for something you won't use that often. Why don't you just treat the pool after filling? You're going to have to keep re-balancing anyway, since PH levels tend to rise over time.
 

JoyfulNoise

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May 23, 2015
16,241
Tucson, AZ
It’s still a manganese oxide type media, just no permanganate. It relies on dissolved oxygen to work or else you need air injection.

Is this for the house or solely for the pool?
 

setsailsoon

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Oct 25, 2015
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Matt,

I was thinking more for the pool but it would also be possible for the house. Plumbing is all very close. Is there a reason I should not use it in the house also?

Chris
 

setsailsoon

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Oct 25, 2015
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Seems to be a lot of $$$ for something you won't use that often. Why don't you just treat the pool after filling? You're going to have to keep re-balancing anyway, since PH levels tend to rise over time.
JK,

Definitely an option but I don't have any iron issues at all with the pool on city water (expensive though!) and I hate to introduce one. Good point on the $ and if I didn't have the well already I wouldn't even consider it. Even if I end up not doing this I do have a problem with the irrigation water. In places where it hits the house I have an orange-brown stain after a year. It's easily removed by muriatic acid but I'd like to not have to do this.

Thanks for your reply.

Chris
 

JoyfulNoise

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May 23, 2015
16,241
Tucson, AZ
Matt,

I was thinking more for the pool but it would also be possible for the house. Plumbing is all very close. Is there a reason I should not use it in the house also?

Chris
I don't see a problem with it other than cost and proper sizing of the system. The filters are sized based on flow rate and so if you use a lot of water in the house, then you might overwhelm a Birm filter.

By the way, how do you have both municipal water supply and a well? Around these parts, you can't have both or, at the very least, no licensed plumber will hook both up to the house main.
 

setsailsoon

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Oct 25, 2015
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Stuart/FL
I don't see a problem with it other than cost and proper sizing of the system. The filters are sized based on flow rate and so if you use a lot of water in the house, then you might overwhelm a Birm filter.

By the way, how do you have both municipal water supply and a well? Around these parts, you can't have both or, at the very least, no licensed plumber will hook both up to the house main.
Matt,

Thanks for the info. They're not connected at the moment and my plan would be to use one or the other so I would just cap of the municipal water if that's required. I would think it is but I'll check as I'd like the ability to switch back and forth if needed. During the hurricane we were on a "boil water advisory" for a week. This happens once or twice a year. I would hope they have a back-flow prevention requirement at least.

Almost everybody around here has a well for irrigation due to the high water costs and our over-sized 1/2 acre lots that have thirsty lawns. Payout period on the well is usually around 1 year or less. HOA also requires home owners to maintain an in-ground irrigation system. There seem to be a lot of weird requirements here in Florida that I haven't run into in other states but on the flip side we love living here.

Chris

- - - Updated - - -

Matt,

How about effectiveness of removing low iron levels with Birm? Do you have any info on this?

Chris
 

JoyfulNoise

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May 23, 2015
16,241
Tucson, AZ
Matt,

Thanks for the info. They're not connected at the moment and my plan would be to use one or the other so I would just cap of the municipal water if that's required. I would think it is but I'll check as I'd like the ability to switch back and forth if needed. During the hurricane we were on a "boil water advisory" for a week. This happens once or twice a year. I would hope they have a back-flow prevention requirement at least.

Almost everybody around here has a well for irrigation due to the high water costs and our over-sized 1/2 acre lots that have thirsty lawns. Payout period on the well is usually around 1 year or less. HOA also requires home owners to maintain an in-ground irrigation system. There seem to be a lot of weird requirements here in Florida that I haven't run into in other states but on the flip side we love living here.

Chris

- - - Updated - - -

Matt,

How about effectiveness of removing low iron levels with Birm? Do you have any info on this?

Chris
I know when my parents (they lived in NY) switched from a well to municipal, the plumber was required to not only cap the well pipe in the house but he also had to go and destructively disable the well pump and cement off the well head. The county inspector had to come and verify that no well water was attached to the house. Kind of draconian but I suspect they had enough reason to go to that length.

I wish they had grey water around here when they built this house as Tucson water offers (if near to a line) to run grey water supply lines in parallel to potable water so that new construction can take advantage of grey water for irrigation and toilets. Retrofitting an existing home is impossible to say the least. Around here, drilling rigs have to go very deep to sink a well so the cost of installing one is prohibitively high and the payoff would take too long to make it worthwhile. But, believe it or not, well water in some areas is FAR SUPERIOR to municipal water - low CH and no iron at all.

I do not have a Birm filter and unfortunately can only regurgitate what I have read about them. I think they'd be perfect for your low level iron BUT they do have very specific pH and dissolved oxygen requirements so you have to be careful to know what your well water looks like chemically speaking. If there's not enough dissolved oxygen then you'd have to add an air-injector to make it work.

Water filter suppliers always sweet talk their products and promise the most pure water for the least cost. However, when you start to actually build a system to deal with the real world water you have, it's then, "oh, but you have to add this prefilter or that gizmo, etc, etc." and next thing you know the $700 water filter with DIY install suddenly becomes a $10,000 water purification plant. I remember looking into whole-house RO filtration because I was seeing deals on the filter setups....well, as soon as I started adding in all the pre-softeners and dechlorinators and permeate pumps and storage tanks and post-filtration treatments, etc., etc., suddenly the discount $4,000 RO filter became a $15,000 setup where I'd be flushing 10-15% of the input water down the drain as waste as well as spending several hundred dollars additionally each month on all the maintenance chemicals needed and added electricity costs to run a variable speed repressurization pump.

Some deal :deal: that was....
 

setsailsoon

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Oct 25, 2015
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Stuart/FL
Matt,

Wow that's a lot of great info. Thanks!

I completely agree on the water treatment. It's amazing how much they take advantage and make wild claims! I am lucky enough to know how to do it without them so I buy the components and size it myself. My neighbor paid 5x my cost for a lower capacity unit. He thinks it's "more efficient". I am partly just fascinated by the Brim technology but have never used it. I would like to try it even if I don't end up hooking it up to the house. I put a call in to the Clack Corporation technical support and left them a message asking the expected iron removal from .3 ppm with my water composition. I'll post the answer if I get one.

Chris

PS I looked up our residential water connection requirements and they do have back-flow prevention requirements but no reference to well restrictions.
 

Swampwoman

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Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Good morning, Chris.
I don't have a birm filter because I have some maganese in my water, plus a bit of sulphur, and my well is more than 50' deep, meaning I'd have to oxygenate the water for it to work right. Those are a few aspects you should check, just so you know, that Ive been told interfere with its performance.

But I did want to elaborate a bit more on treated water strategy when you have a pool so that you have the best chance of success if you do decide to change over ;)

I also wonder a bit about this water staining concrete from overspray if the iron reading is truly .3 -- my well has 2 ppm iron and will stain, but my treated water at about .33 does not in brief exposures. The difference might be your high ph as mine is low (6.9 - 7.0 ish).

At any rate, when I first moved here after debating an iron curtain system, my water guy convinced me a single softener would be adequate.

He meant to be helpful but he didn't anticipate how I would actually use the water with the pool. In summer, I used to dislike using a cover, which means I'm inclined to top up be a couple of inches a week if there's little rain,etc. Its normal to lose a quarter inch a day to evaporation, especially if you keep your pool at 90 as I do.

So, the softener takes my iron from 2 down to about .5 ppm. At that rate, even though my outdoor pool spigot is plumbed to the softener (which is not normal...btw) I still struggled a lot with increasing concentrations of iron, and the heavy loads of sequestrant to manage it.

Nowadays, I also run a reducing 25 micron to 1 micron Pentek 10" filter off the outdoor spigot, which at the moment gets it down to .33.

But with the single softener, what would happen in early days is I'd be filling the pool and not realizing the softener had tapped out. It took a while til I figured out this was happening.

Once I did, I had a dual tank system installed so that one could always be regenerating. This also reduced bed fouling from the iron, and decreased events where raw well water got into the pool, though that can happen with bridging as well.

SO, if all your other conditions are met for optimal birm filter use, consider a dual setup so that you're not caught short during regeneration or while the tank is tapped out. It will make a big difference in the rate/speed of your iron accumulation -- assuming that like most filters, you will reduce but not eliminate completely all iron.

I will say, though, that if I had to choose between a well with ANY iron in it and a potable municipal supply without iron in it, I'd choose the latter for the pool ;)

.3 ppm, if accurate, is reasonably low but high enough to stain in a pool environment once its accumulated to an in-pool read of .3 ppm, which inevitably it may one day. It is especially likely to stain if you don't control your ph to the 7.2-7.4 range, which can be difficult.

Then, for the next span of years, you could be spending your money on HEDP sequestrant and possibly stain treatments (instead of the municipal water), which can easily cost a good few to several hundred a year...the costs will escalate as the iron accumulates. Your annual rainfall averages will help this to some degree, but since you don't backwash with a cartridge filter, your odds of dilution from rainwater will slow down the accumulation but will not act like exchange.

I guess long-term, I'd be a bit reluctant to gve up your access to municipal water. If you started with the birm filter just for the pool but kept your house water plumbed, you'd have somewhere to go if you found the rate of accumulation unacceptable. If the filter actually got the iron to zero, and this proved reliable for a few years, then I might plumb it to the house. I would just hate to see you trapped into water-change-by-truckload, which is not cheap in my neck of the woods ($1,000).

So, my comment might sound like I'm recommending against your move -- I'm not exactly...I'm just trying to give you an idea of where the snags may be in the long term so that you consider all angles. Metal management in a pool is a pita!