Can I Get Iron Out of My Irrigation Water?

Can I Get Iron Out of My Irrigation Water?
By Mark Timmons
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Can I Get Iron Out of My Irrigation Water?

This is a common question that we get a lot.  It seems that a number of people have irrigation systems that use well water to water their grass, shrubs or gardens.  They do this even if they are connected to the city water supply for their homes, because of the large amount of water that is used for irrigating and the costs associated with paying for the city water. However, the well water often contains significant amounts of iron, and when sprinkler heads spray out the water, the iron which is left behind when the water evaporates, leaves tremendous stains.  It may stain the grass, bushes, plants and all the vegetation.  That's certainly bad enough, but what is worse to some people is the stains that are left on the home, sidewalks, vehicles and the like. So, what do you do?  Well, the first thing you have to determine is what exactly is in the water.  Yes, there is iron, but what other contaminants are there that could "compete" with that iron or react with it.  You need to know the pH and other characteristics of that water.  You can't properly treat water unless you know EXACTLY what is in it, so a good water analysis is imperative.  Next, you need to determine how many gallons of water are used on a the heaviest water usage day.  They you have to figure out what the peak flow rate in gallons per minute (GPM) would be.  This would mean taking into consideration who many heads are on at one time, how many GPM each head uses and how many zones there are.  Only when we are armed with this information, can we determine what the best course of action will be. To remove iron properly, it must be oxidized and filtered out.  This can only be accomplished with the use of a filter that uses some type of manganese dioxide or catalytic media which reacts with the iron.  Depending upon the water characteristics, an oxidizer may be required, such as oxygen, chlorine, hydrogen peroxide or ozone. There are chemicals such as Rid-O-Rust that coat surfaces to help prevent stains, but don't forget that the iron is still in the water and when the water dries the iron will be left behind.  Uses of chemicals like Rid-O-Rust is expensive and delivers less than desirable results.  The best results are always obtained when you oxidize the iron and completely remove it! Remember, that irrigation systems often use hundreds or thousands of gallons a day.  You can't expect to take a home system and have it work under those conditions.  Quite frequently, it is best to use a backwashing filter or filters that use Filox, Pyrolox, Adox, Catalox, Birm or Greensand Plus with a low-level chlorine feel ahead of the media. There should be no chlorine in the irrigation water and this type of system can work for years with minimal maintenance. In my opinion, where thousands of gallons are needed a day, the Greensand Plus system works the best, with a Chlorine feed ahead of this to keep the Greensand Plus in a completely regenerated state.   Catalytic carbon with a hydrogen peroxide feed just ahead of the catalytic carbon tanks is absolutely the best method to acheive 100% eradication, but the cost of hydrogen peroxide can be prohibitive compared to the low cost of chlorine. Also, a system utilizing air injection may be used but in order for it to be effective, you will need to have multiple tanks so as to not use more than 500-600 gallons of treated water in each tank.  
April 29, 2012
Comments
Brian Longley
March 26, 2014 at 8:55 AM
Wondering if I could get some help. I have a customer with 7ppm of iron and a 7.2 ph. This is an irrigation system. There are 7 zones running 20gpm for 20 minutes. This will run twice a day. My customer does not wanna use chemical injection. Could I use two 13x54 ironbreakers in parallel with katolox light media and have them backwash daily. Thanks you
Mark Timmons
April 1, 2014 at 7:33 AM
Not a chance that will work. Each 13" x 54" tank will only flow 5.5 GPM Continuously. You will need at least (4) 13 x 54 tanks and I would strongly recommend peroxide injection during the regeneration cycle, in addition. We have a filter valve that automatically activates a Stenner E-Con Pump to do that. Talk to our customer service department and they can help you.
Damien
March 17, 2016 at 7:11 PM
I have an irrigation system that pumps from a river. There is a lot of tannin in the water that stains the driveway, and house. I also suck up enough small debris that it clogs my sprinkler heads every so often. What can I use to filter out more of this debris and also get rid of the tannin to prevent the staining?
Mark Timmons
March 18, 2016 at 10:33 PM
This is what you need: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-pulsar-problem-water-charged-membrane-filter-system-25-gpm.html
Mary K
June 5, 2016 at 7:51 AM
Is a large indoor salt tank the best and only solution to removing iron fron irrigation water? It seems to go through salt at a pace I can barely keep u with. I have 10 zones. Mary K
Mark Timmons
June 10, 2016 at 8:23 AM
No, there are much better ways. We would need to know more about your water first. Give us a call at 800-608-8792
Katharine.wehrmann@gmail.com
August 30, 2016 at 6:58 PM
I have heard from a few arrogation folks here in town that it is cheaper to dig a new well then it is to get the rust out of my well water used for irrigation. is that true?
Mark Timmons
August 30, 2016 at 10:30 PM
When you drill a new well, three things can happen: 1. You get better water; 2. You get the same water; or 3. You get worse water. Two of those things are not good. The odds are stacked against you.
mike griese
April 18, 2017 at 11:53 AM
Hello Mark we live in Virginia Beach, Ocean front and looking for a solution to remove the salt from our irrigation well. Any recommendation? Mike G
Mark Timmons
April 18, 2017 at 11:51 PM
My first recommendation is to get a detailed water test: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-lab-water-test.html It's tests for 95 contaminants which are essential in the quest to remove salt. Is it saline, brackish or sea water? You better hope it's not sea water. Get the test and we can tell you want to do.
Gary Caparelli
May 13, 2017 at 3:15 PM
Can you tell me what salt is commonly used in an irrigation rust prevention system with metered injection to downstream water. I was told calcium chloride. Is this correct?
Mark Timmons
May 13, 2017 at 4:13 PM
You would never want to use any salt in that application. I am not sure what you are referring to.
Gary Caparelli
May 29, 2017 at 6:15 PM
Mark, the concentrated solution is injected into the well water as it leaves the pump in very minute quantities, less than a teaspoon per gallon.
Mike DiFiore
June 10, 2017 at 9:39 AM
My well water is staining my property. Going crazy. Getting my water tested this week. But i know its iron. HELP
Mark Timmons
June 12, 2017 at 8:41 AM
Mike, Call us at 800-608-8792 - we can fix it!
Mark Jones
August 4, 2017 at 1:44 PM
I have an irrigation system that's clogged up with iron. Anything I can run through it to clear out the iron? No point in going to the expense of treating the water to remove iron because staining is not an issue - drip irrigation or local misting only- but I need occasionally to be able to clear out the iron from the drippers and permeable hoses. I do have a proportional chemical dosing system available if needed.
Mark Timmons
August 4, 2017 at 2:26 PM
Try one of these: https://www.uswatersystems.com/granular-chlorine-8oz-jar.html https://www.uswatersystems.com/pro-products-1-5-lb-rust-out-24-oz-bottle.html
ED GROHE
August 9, 2017 at 1:12 PM
I live on the west of florida ,my lawn irrigation system is a well .Are there companyes that make a system that I CAN ATTACH TO MY WELL THAT WILL REMOVE IRON THAT STAINS MY HOUSE AND WHITE FENCE .What are there names ??
Mark Timmons
August 13, 2017 at 11:00 AM
We make one: https://www.uswatersystems.com/aquatrol-oxi-gen-economy-iron-and-sulfur-removal-system.html Let me know if you have questions.
Daniel
August 29, 2017 at 10:54 AM
Hi Mark, How do the Rid-o-rust irrigation/sprinkler systems actually work? I recently purchased a new home in South Florida, the system is tied to well water and there were significant rust stains on the vegatation and walls. As I had the house painted and landscaped I wanted to install something to prevent new staining and my landscaper went ahead an put in a plastic tank with what I think is a essentially the same thing. It's clear to me from this thread that this is an inferior option, but I'm still curious about how the system works - what chemical it's using and how it purportedly prevents the rust stains. Thanks
Mark Timmons
August 30, 2017 at 10:29 PM
It is an inferior option. So much so that we have discontinued it. Once our inventory is gone, that's it. We can fix the problem, but this is the most essential step: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-lab-water-test.html
Mike
October 17, 2017 at 8:57 PM
What are we looking at in terms of cost for iron removal with peroxide system for irrigation on 1ac property and 4 Br household use from a well? What is the cost for the peroxide on a monthly basis alone? Purchasing a 1ac lot and noticed iron staining on homes in the area. Might get out of the contract due to this. .
Mark Timmons
October 19, 2017 at 12:03 PM
It depends upon how much iron there is and how much water you use. I could see you spending $75 to $150 a month on peroxide during irrigation season... and a lot less in the off-season.
mary
April 27, 2018 at 9:48 PM
Do you serve the Orlando Fl area?
Mark Timmons
April 28, 2018 at 10:48 AM
We sell all over the world.
Thomas J. Brannan
May 22, 2018 at 10:33 AM
I have a drilled well that provides water to my home as well as an irrigation system I put in my yard. I also have a swimming pool that holds about 40,200 gallons. The iron in the water stains things in the home, yard ,as well as the pool. Since it takes about 16 hours to fill the pool, I estimate my maximum water flow is about 2500 gallons per hour, that would be when I am filling the pool or running my sprinklers (I have about 36 sprinkler heads that I can run, though on three circuits, I often turn them all on at once,) When I am filing the pool, there is very little back pressure, water flows through a 2 inch pipe. Is there an iron treatment system that would handle this?
Mark Timmons
May 26, 2018 at 3:34 PM
Yes there is, but we will need more information. We will contact you.
John Valentino
June 16, 2018 at 3:15 PM
I have slight issues that are intermittent. I also have an EZflo injection system. I noticed on your site oyu offered some products that would work with this system could you please advise? Thanks
Mark Timmons
June 17, 2018 at 9:26 AM
We really don't have anything that works with EZflo - that's entirely different from what we do.
Craig Becker
June 19, 2018 at 5:32 PM
I am planning on using my well water for sprinklers and watering spruce trees. I had my local lab do some testing. Which product would you use to remove well water with these specs? Conductivity: 2.864 Ph: 8.28 Carbonates: 6 Bicarbonates: 882.47 Hardness: 42 Sodium: 810 mg/l Thanks!
Mark Timmons
June 24, 2018 at 3:34 PM
Craig, It depends upon what endpoint quality you need. Please call one of our water specialists to discuss.
Pat Poole
June 28, 2018 at 8:56 PM
Hello, if our vegetable garden was watered with the well water that stains the concrete, would these vegetables be safe to eat? Thanks very much. Pat
Mark Timmons
June 29, 2018 at 7:51 PM
I can't tell you for sure without seeing a detailed water test, but while iron is objectionable, it generally is not dangerous unless the level is unbelievable.
Brian K
July 24, 2018 at 2:33 PM
Hello. I have an irrigation system newly installed this season on almost 2 acres which has been getting stuck valves, clogged drip lines, etc. Irrigation company believes that it is iron doing this. We also get staining on concrete. They propose Rid-o-Rust system though I have voiced my concerns regarding the cost to operate and if this would really help the issue. Any cost effective solutions?!
Mark Timmons
July 27, 2018 at 6:00 PM
We no longer sell Rid-O-Rust. It is not an apporpriate solution for you. We can fix your problem - we just need to see a detailed water analysis: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-lab-water-test.html
Brian K
July 25, 2018 at 7:24 AM
Hello. I have a recently installed irrigation system on about 2 acres that has been getting stuck valves, clogged drip lines, etc. We also get stained concrete. The irrigation company believes it is from iron sludge and proposes installation of a Rid-o-Rust system. I am hesistant after my own research due to cost to operate this on such a big irrigation system. Any other ideas/help? Thanks in advance!
Mark Timmons
July 27, 2018 at 6:01 PM
We can fix your problem. We just need to know what exactly is in your water: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-lab-water-test.html
Norma Bernstein
September 3, 2018 at 7:18 PM
I have a 9 zone sprinkler system on my property that uses well water My fence an walkways are stained with rust deposits. What can I do to eliminate this problem I use this problem?
Mark Timmons
September 3, 2018 at 8:20 PM
We designed this specifically for sprinkler systems: https://www.uswatersystems.com/fusion-greensand-plus-iron-filtration-system.html Just size it to your flow. Operational costs are very low. It completely eradicates your iron.
Carlos Mendoza
November 13, 2018 at 5:52 PM
do you have stores and or consultants in or near Dallas Texas, we have new 2 wells, we will be using the water for irrigation etc., not drinking we have 2-inch piping, we may have 5 zones in each well, what would we need in terms of storage tank if any and size of pump, as well as size and type of filter. this is Carlos M.
Mark Timmons
November 15, 2018 at 7:03 PM
We have no stores. We only sell direct and cut-out-all-the-middlemen. We would be glad to help you. I am forwarding this to our Customer Service Department. They can help you.
Brenda
June 18, 2019 at 9:07 PM
Hey there! Do you know anything about Sprinklerite from Home Depot? I’ve tested my water myself for iron but my test only went as high as 5ppm and it seems like it’s higher then that. So this will be an expensive route for me, just wondering what you would suggest and if there is more of an affordable way to eradicate all this iron so it doesn’t keep staining my house and walkways and plants. Thanks!
Mark Timmons
July 18, 2019 at 10:40 PM
Several companies use products like this. We used to sell them but with very mixed results. It doesn't take out the iron and when the water evaporates, it's still there.
Frank Ellis
July 27, 2019 at 8:51 AM
I had my irrigation well tested by the county and my iron is 2.8 and all the other metals were good ranges. Chloride, nitrates, nitrites, copper, calcium,magnesium, manganese, calcium, lead, zinc, alkalinity and ph. My issue is the staining from iron. Is there an easy solution or not. My well guy has a remedy for much money, but was hoping for a different resolution. My wife is ready to blow up the well
Mark Timmons
July 27, 2019 at 2:38 PM
This would be the cure if things are as you say: https://www.uswatersystems.com/flexx-oxi-gen-aeration-iron-and-sulfur-filter.html