Rusty water, not sure of the source?

booboo60September 10, 2011

I maybe should post this on the "build a home" forum since it is busier but this IS a plumbing problem. Here is the background, Dh and I live on a small farm and have a well about 400ft. deep, 7 years old. Fantastic pressure and we live in the PNW where we had a super wet spring with hot weather only the last 2 months. We water a small yard, small garden with sprinklers, no in-ground system. There is only the two of us, very small laundry, etc. We have been watering lately but not all day. We were gone for 2 nights, came home watered some and got up the next morning and went outside to turn on the faucet attached to the house and rusty water came out! We do have a softener system so it is not effecting the house and our pressure to the bladder tank seems normal. Dh went to the water pump supply store and came home saying the guys there said people were coming in left and right complaining about rusty water and buying filters! Sounds like water at the bottom of a tank to me. What can we check for now? Any ideas?

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When you say rusty if you are referring to the color of the water it could be caused by iron or by sediment.

If sediment then it may settle down after a while or you can install a 4x20 Big Blue filter housing with a sediment cartridge in the correct location and sequence (depending on your well and treatment equipment layout) that looks like this...

Avoid smaller dimension housings as they can limit flow.

If the iron content of the well water has risen dramatically it may settle down or if it continues you'll need an iron removal system which is more complicated. and expensive than a simple filter. A simple filter will not do what you need. If the iron content has risen dramatically it may exceed your softener's ability to remove it, especially if you softener is not sized and set up to treat iron, so be aware of that.

What you need to do is identify what is in your water that is causing the problem and that will require a water test. Living on a well you should be getting your water tested at least annually for nitrates and bacteria so if you haven't then get a comprehensive water test now. With those test results we can point you in the right direction.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 5:48PM
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If the water table has risen dramatically it's possible that rusted portions of the well casing have been submerged that previously weren't, allowing detritus to be sucked in by the pump.

Getting your water tested is always good practice.

If the problem is indeed sediment, be aware that any sort of filter requires monitoring and maintenance or replacement. By nature filters become increasingly more efficient until they clog.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 8:11AM
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Iron bacteria in a rural well is not uncommon. Bacteria can travel with the drilling equipment used to drill the well, causing a new well to be infected right from the start. See link below on how to check for it, and treat it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Iron Bacteria in Wells

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 11:45AM
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