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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a very old well and well, the water is horribly brown when you let it run for more than a minute or two. I checked the ph and to my surprise perfect 7.4 according to my api kit. So I wonder before I set up my 55, can I clear up my water?

I have my 30 gallon bowfront set up with a filter running. I have polyfil wrapped up in a wash cloth as my "media."

My hope is that within a week of starting to filter I can get it ready for transfer to the big tank. Has any one else run into this problem? I have always bought water to fill my tanks in the past but that gets old real quick on anything more than a 10 gallon. Is there anything I can do to help the process along? I will be snapping pics everyday to track the progress. [/img]
 

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I used to own a house with a well that had water like that, but it was very acidic with a lot of dissolved iron. We had a sand filter, which took care of the color and any sediment and a calcium carbonate filter to neutralize the acid. If I were you I'd have my water thouroughly tested for your sake as well as your fishes. It could also potentially be harming your plumbing, water heater, boiler, dishwasher etc. In my case, we had to have all the copper elbows in our plumbing replaced because the acidic water was dissolving them. That's when we got the calcium carbonate filter.
 

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We need to have more information to start with solutions. Is this drinking water used full time or utility well that might not be used much? Does a glass of water clear after setting overnight? A shallow well near the Red River country? Lots of things that might cause color. Some are rusty pipes that are not used often so the water picks up color, color from sediment, iron content can be seen as brown but more often red. Any smell like sulfur? Give us some more info on this well if you can.
 

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How does your bowfront look? What tank that you have water in shouldn't make a difference.

However, I am at a loss over your well water coming out dark brown, after your pipes should have been cleared out. How deep is your well? If it is very deep you may have rust. If you runj it longer does it clear up? My first year out of college I worked in a lab and did water analysis for treatment quotes by a major retailor. I never ran into the problem you describe.

Do you bathe, drink and cook in this brown water and if so, describe the taste if you can. Does it smell and if so, can you describe that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My mother in law has a degree in water treatment and has tested the water many times over the years. It is safe to drink as long as you filter it to get the sediment out. I've been told the sediment is just dirt from the well starting to cave in on itself. We have many natural springs on our property but none of the good ones are tapped. To redig the well or tap a new spring would be way more costly than tapping into city water.

To answer some of your questions, yes it does clear a lot if you let it sit overnight. We are in northeast Oklahoma, about 45 minutes from Tulsa. The cold water can run for hours with no smell. The hot water smells within minutes of running. After it is boiled it is clear and no smell. I cook with it all the time. My husband has been using this water for 32 years now and never had any health problems related to it.

The filter has been running now for a couple hours and there is a small difference. We'll see what it looks like in the morning.
 

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I would guess that your well water turns brown like that because the well is eroded around the edges. My own well has a vein of pyrite in it and when we replaced the pump they scratched the vein so now it releases a lot of dirt into our water.
 

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If it smells for a short time as soon as you collect your water you probably have a minor bacterial problem in your well producing hydrogen sulfide gas (rotten egg smell?). This is usually accompanied with a high amount of dissolved iron in the water shich might also attribute to the color. Usually when this condition exists the well water will have a very acidic pH. Or the color might just be suspended minerals. If you want a nice clear water I think if you are attentive to changing your mechanical filtration and possibly use an additive that coelesces minute particles (darned if I canremember the product name) you should be able to do that. Letting your change water set for a while should clear the HS gas and a good biofilter should handle bacteria.

Sometimes acid treating a well will kill the harmful bacteria if you think you have a problem.

This is just an opinion based on verbal communication, however. If you think you have a major problem, and it doesn't appear you do, you need to have your Oklahoma state health board test your well.

Best wishes. :)
 

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You can get a Brita filter for your water changes. I used to run my 55 bowfront at my dads who has well water. It has that smell but once the water cycled it was no problem. Just cycle your tank it should be no problem man. Most well water has that taste and smell. I lived with it for many years!
 

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Okay. Now we have some info to go on. Since it is safe to drink and used frequently a number of things are out as the cause. Sounds like just a sediment problem. Not the worst item for sure. I should think there might be two ways to try. First and least hassle would be working on filtering the sediment. It may take some more than normal filtering like a whole house filter like Lowe's/Home Depot sell. Not that t has to do the whole house but just for the tank water. With a little plumbing this can be done for a reasonably low cost. Second of course is just better mechanical filtering on the tank which may need to be maintained more often than in other cases. Another way to get clear water might be to store it and let it settle before using. What will work best for you depends on how your house is set up and lots of small details. Good luck but I think there is a reasonable chance you can do it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the input everyone.

Over the years we have tried filters, such as brita. The filter cartridges might as well be one time use on bad days.

Two summers ago my husband set up a wading pool for the kids. To fill it we took a pool filter cartridge, just a cheapy from Wal-Mart, covered it with a rag and 'affixed' it to the end of the water hose. This did keep majority of the sediment out of the pool water. Each morning after it had time to settle I would use a towel and mop up what I could off the bottom of the pool. The water was clear enough for the kids to be happy with it.

This provokes the thought of trying it with tank water. Maybe I should unplug the filter and let it have a day to settle. Then vacuum the sediment from the bottom of the tank.

Please note that I currently have no fish. I am not subjecting them to the torture of my experimentation. If I cannot get the water clear and quality I have places I can buy water from and will if necessary.
 

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Depending on your situation, there might be a pretty cheap, simple, way to get clear water. Any room to set up a rain barrel to let the water stand for some time before using it? If it just a sediment problem, a good deal might settle out over time and then one could use a small pump to pump off the clear top portion of water. If you have any micro-brewers in the local area, they are a good source for plastic barrels that are nicer to work with than metal.
 

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This is what I use in my house for water quality issues. link

Theres a valve hidden by the dryer that I can turn and the water pressure pushes down into a vinyl tube connected to the washer drainage instead of going into the house. this keeps it relatively clean however once a month I shut of the water (theres another valve convienietly on the copper pipe right there but the filter) and open the filter to remove and scrub the stainless steel mesh. The color it is now is a permemant staining that I can't remove no matter how hard I scrub but doesn't actually hurt anything.

The dial at the top shows the current water pressure and if it dips I know to open the base valve (this is something I do about once every two weeks)
 

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I wouldn't be in a hurry to spend a lot of money on a whole house filter and plumbing change. While the odor (even if it diffuses quickly) problem may not make the water unpalatable it may still indicate a low-grade bacteria problem in the well. Your water may test perfectly safe to drink, but that is not all that should be considered. It often is accompanied with high iron and in the confines of a closed whole house filter with low oxygen flow the fiilter may be quickly "blinded" meaning scummed up so water won't flow through it. A faucet filter has relatively high oxygenated water flow as compaired to filling a glass of water from a 30 gallon whole house filter.

I would still recommend you have your well tested. It usually doesn't cost much. Call your local extension. They often have kits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So the tank of tap water has been running with polyfil in the hob for over 24 hours and there is a noticeable difference. I figure by day 4-5 I should be able to see all the way thru the water.

My husband, seeing me struggle with the filtration of our tap water has de used its time for him to get the clear spring trimmed out and see if it is usable. I bet with a little ingenuity he can have it done this weekend. If so it maybe time to re-plumb the whole house. =D>
 

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Now we see where this is going. It has been a plot all along, huh? Don't despair. There are lots of places with water worse than you describe. I worked some water treatment in the St. Louis area where they use what they called "point source" wells which were basically drawing water from the river. YUCK! Then when I did some underground work just across the line from you near Carthage/Webb City, Mo. we ran into water that chewed through galvanized 1/4 inch steel plate in about two years. They stopped us from working in those holes and called in the moon suit folks! Leftovers from the lead and zinc mining were suspects there but we just never know what we find might find underground.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
We have almost 16 acres, with 2 of it covered by a pond. There are springs all over the property. The well was tapped in to the best one available in 1930 when the well was put in. Over the decades the water has been monitored, more closely in the last 10 years. One of the springs was tapped for drinking water about 30 years ago. It wasn't done right and it stopped flowing thru the pipe. This is the one my husband has decided to work on this weekend. We'll just have to see what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So we went to the spring today. Got several ounces of water to test. It's crystal clear, now how to get enough water from there to the house. My husband is willing to carry it out 5 gallons at a time.
 
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