Rust sediment build up in toilet tanks

ziggy17March 16, 2014

I have had my water tested as a result of what appears to be a rusty sediment in my toilet tanks and some times if a faucet has not run in a while the water will be a bit brown at first and then it clears up. I have had a national lab test the water and the iron is .166 mg/lm manganese .130 mg/l
hardness 180 mg/l and ph varies from 6.8 - 7.2
looking at the Terminox iron filter from Budget water and it appears I would need a chem feed to inject pot ash or clorine before the terminox filter. there is an
Evolve dealer in my town and they have a very expensive system like about almost $5000 vs about $1000 for Budget
any help would be appreciated

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It would be cheaper to not look inside the toilet tank.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 8:53AM
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Those iron/manganese levels are fairly low so should be easy to remove.

What is your concern with the chemical injection prior to the terminox filter? Are you concerned about handling/safety, or is hassle the main factor?

Your numbers are low enough that a water softener would remove the iron and manganese successfully. This would eliminate the more aggressive chemical injection, but would require you to add salt to a brine tank. Here is some additional information about iron/manganese removal:

  1. Softener: A softener with specialty resin is capable of removing dissolved iron and manganese. Iron/manganese will slowly foul the softening media and a bit of extra maintenance is required to removed the iron/manganese. I can provide details if this option is of interest to you.

  2. Oxidation/Filtration: An oxidizer such as ozone, air, or chlorine may be used to react with the iron and force it to become particulate iron that can then be removed via filtration. A typical setup would involve the oxidizing unit, a holding tank, then a media filter. This type of system works quite well, but takes some expertise in sizing - you would want a water treatment pro that you trust to help you with this option.

  3. Oxidizing filtration media: This type of treatment consists of a sealed tank filled with one of several media. Water passes through and is oxidized and filtered by the media. These are relatively easy to operate and what I would recommend for the average homeowner. There are several different media that can be used:

  • manganese greensand: water runs through for treatment. The media must be regenerated with potassium permanganate. Care must be taken with dealing with potassium permanganate as it readily dies organic material, such as your skin, a purple-brown color. Some people are quite comfortable dealing with the chemical; others are not.

  • Synthetic greensand: This is essentially the same as option (a) but consists of a coating of greensand on a silica sand core so does not require as much backwash flow. Service flow rate is 2 - 5 gpm/sqft. Backwash flow rate is 12 gpm/sqft.

  • birm: This media acts as a catalyst to force oxidation of iron. While it does not need to be regenerated, it does need fairly high dissolved oxygen in the water. If your water does not have adequate dissolved oxygen (and it probably doesn't since it is well water), air injection would be necessary prior to the birm. Additionally, birm requires a minimum pH of 6.8.. Service flow rate is 3.5 - 5.0 gpm per sqft. Backwash flow rate is 11 - 20 gpm, depending upon water temperatures and desired bed expansion.

  • pyrolox: an ore that oxidizes then filters the iron out. It does not need regeneration, but needs to be backwashed (to rinse out the iron) at a high rate. pH range is 6.5 - 9.0. This type of filter works very well, but backwash is critical. Service flow rate is 5 gpm/sqft. Backwash is 25-30 gpm/sqft. Backwash daily.

  • Terminox: Similar to Pyrolox, but a...

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 12:11PM
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My city water has rust in it, from the mains.

I use 2 - Cuno filters - 2 cartridges in each filter with a 2 micron filter. Does a pretty good job. Change the carts about once a year.

A plumber or handy DIY'er can install them. Less than $500 in parts and materials.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 1:15PM
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Cartridge filters are only applicable if you have ferric iron, which is insoluble in water and shows up as particles in the water at all times. Ferrous (clear-water) iron is another matter entirely. It is soluble (dissolved) in water and cannot be removed with a particulate filter. Ferrous iron, when left exposed to oxygen will slowly convert to ferric iron and start forming particulates. This will happen in toilet tanks, faucets that aren't used often, and even in a glass of water left for a few hours.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 1:30PM
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ziggy - I can't reply to your email because your settings on this site prevent me from seeing your email address.

Based on your description so far, I am reasonably certain your iron is ferric, but let's confirm. Did the test results you received indicated the type of iron? When you run water on a faucet that is used regularly, do you notice any particulate or color?

Do this simple test: Run some water into a clear glass and let it sit overnight. In the morning, run water into another clear glass and compare the two in front of something white (like a sheet of paper). Does the appearance of the two glasses differ in any way (color, cloudiness, particulate, odor)?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 2:31PM
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My email is
Generally the water runs clear from taps that are used
Sometimes Taps that are not used will run a bit brown
but then clear right up
I have left a glass over night from the kitchen faucet
and longer and compared it to a freshly drawn glass of water
and the are about the same

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 2:59PM
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