Still the Absolute Best Method to Remove Iron and Sulfur

Still the Absolute Best Method to Remove Iron and Sulfur
By Mark Timmons
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Still the Absolute Best Method to Remove Iron and Sulfur

This is an update of a blog posted in 2017. For over 25 years, I have been involved in pioneering the technology of using hydrogen peroxide for the eradication of iron and sulfur and for the record, I still believe it is the best technology for doing that.  There are many people who still use chlorination for this purpose.  Chlorination is simply the process of adding chlorine to water. This method is used to kill certain bacteria and other microbes in tap water as chlorine is highly toxic. In particular, chlorination is used to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases such as cholera, dysentery, and typhoid. However, chlorine is not a good oxidizer, and iron and sulfur need to be oxidized completely to be removed from water. Some companies are now using oxygen, ozone or air induction systems to oxidize iron and sulfur.  The problem is that most are madly over-applying some sound science using undersized systems incapable of treating even modest quantities of water.  Some of the systems that  are routinely seen on the market today are tantamount to using a smart car to pull a semi trailer fully loaded with steel - they have no chance for continued success! It's very simple to use H2O2 to oxidize iron and sulfur and it ALWAYS works - it just depends upon the amount of hydrogen peroxide needed.  Iron and sulfur have to be oxidized to be removed from the water.  Hydrogen Peroxide is one of the most powerful oxidizers known to man -- stronger than chlorine, chlorine dioxide, and potassium permanganate.

H2O2 is Safe

Despite its power, H2O2 is a natural metabolite of many organisms, which decompose the H2O2 they produce into oxygen and water. H2O2 has none of the problems of gaseous release or chemical residues that are associated with other chemical oxidants. And since H2O2 is totally miscible with water, the issue of safety is one of concentration. Industrial strength H2O2 (such as 50%) is a strong oxidizer and as such requires special handling precautions, but we use 7% which is safe.   In most cases a system such as the system above is installed.  It consists of a hydrogen peroxide solution tank, a water meter, a chemical injection pump and a catalytic carbon backwashing filter (such as the above left side of the page).  It can sometimes mean installing a duplex tank system and a dual injection panel to eradicate the iron or sulfur (pictured to the right).  In extreme situations, you will have an injection panel with two injection pumps.  One injects H2O2 just ahead of tank #1 and the the other one injects the hydrogen peroxoide ahead of tank #2.  The tanks are in series, not parallel so Tank #1 does a lot of the "heavy oxidation" and tank #2 in the "polisher" tank.

What if it Doesn 't Work

If it doesn't work on your water, you will be the very first. I am talking about water within reason - if you have 300 ppm of iron or sulfur, you should probably run away as fast as you can.  Water can contain many contaminants and some directly compete of affect other contaminants.  Hydrogen sulfide (rotten-egg odor) is pretty straightforward and we have been successful in removing H2S from water with sulfur up to 60 to 70 ppm.  It simply is rooted in sound science and it HAS to work.  We don't like to go much past 30 ppm for iron, unless not a lot of water is being used. The most common problem is that sometimes people intentionally (or unintentionally), do not use enough hydrogen peroxide. After all, the only drawback to H2O2 is the annual peroxide cost and some people try and save too much by "starving the system." It may work fine for a number of months, but once the system becomes "fouled" with iron or sulfur, it must be backwashed multiple times with the peroxide feed set at 100% and in some cases, it does not clear up until several weeks have passed.  I have seen it take up to two months for the carbon bed to become clean and effective. You can put the system in backwash and unplug the carbon tank controller, allowing the system to backwash for as long as possible at 100% peroxide feed.  If the carbon is less than 2 years old, it can usually be restored to it's original condition, but if it is very fouled and you don't want to wait, then you can just replace the catalytic carbon. A H2O2 system will operate trouble-free for many years, providing the proper amount of hydrogen peroxide is used.  How can you know if you are using enough?  It's very simple: you should see a few air bubbles in the water.  Too few means your are not using enough H2O2.  Bubbles are good! Our new Matrixx inFusion H2O2 System represents the culmination of 25 years of H2O2 innovation, and is now the State-Of-The Art in Iron andf Sulfur Eradication Systems.  Just look at some of these innovations:
  • Vortech Tank -  Provides better flow rates during "service" but is most amazing due to it's "Vortex" lift and kinetic activity during backwash.  No only does it cleanse the catalytic carbon better, but it also reduces waste water by up mto 40%.
  • Catalytic Carbon - US Water Systems new Carb Cat Catalytic Carbon is maded of the highest quality coconut shell carbon from the world's premium carbon capital in Sri Lanka.  It out-preforms conventional Coal-based carbon like Centaur in all of ourt testing.
  • Proportional Digital Injection System - The Stenner pump and proportional injection system gives you the greatest degree of programming preciseness and control of the system ever!
  • Smartphone Programming - You can set the time with our WaterLogix App on your Smartphone (Apple or Android), so that you can monitor flow rates, total gallons used and have total system control for all cycles.  This allows for precision programming and monitoring of your inFusion H2O2 system.  Instead of using "dinosaur" buttons, you can adjust the time in 5 seconds.
 
December 28, 2018
Comments
Jonathan
January 4, 2018 at 9:08 PM
I have a few quedtions on my hyrdogeb peroxide system and why my water becomes cloudy and contains peroxide after two showers and some dishes washed in a sink.
Mark Timmons
January 7, 2018 at 10:54 AM
Cut down on the amount of H2O2 used.
Ann obropta
January 27, 2018 at 10:36 AM
Where can I purchase system and peroxide for system?
Mark Timmons
January 29, 2018 at 11:32 AM
You can purchase it here: https://www.uswatersystems.com/infusion-backwashing-filter-for-iron-sulfur-and-manganese-removal.html
Yusri
March 5, 2018 at 6:03 PM
Hi i have high ferrous iron in my well at 37 ppm. I would like to know if its worth while filtering my water for non potable uses in my home. Is the iron levels to high for all the back washing that is required to keep the system clean and running. I already have a birm and dmi-65 filter.
Mark Timmons
March 6, 2018 at 3:21 PM
I would need to see a detailed water analysis, but it can be 100% removed. I just have to know what competing contaminants there might be.
Chris
April 18, 2018 at 2:39 PM
I have a question. I'm doing the bubble test to calibrate my system but i'm not able to get any bubbles. I've also got some h2o2 test trips to detect the presence. I started at 50% like it says but I've been increasing it and I'm at 80% and it's still not there. I'm testing at a sink, but after the system, the water goes though a softener, then a 1 micron filter, then a submicron pulsar. Is the rest of the system clearing out the h2o2 before it gets to the sink and i'm not able to see it or do I need to keep going up?
Mark Timmons
April 28, 2018 at 1:47 PM
You should test it right after the catalytic carbon filter.
sal Treesh
August 13, 2018 at 11:26 PM
I Like the system, but my problem is that I still see some residual when I test using Peroxide test strips. What can I do to remove any residual at point of drinking.
Mark Timmons
August 18, 2018 at 11:25 PM
If you are using a Catalytic Carbon Filter and you still see it, cut back the H2O2 feed a little.
Chels
September 6, 2018 at 11:34 AM
We’re on a Well for our water. Recently iron began staining our sinks n toilet bowls, showers,etc... We do have a water softener system. After reading your article here I have a better idea of what might be happening. We live on the Southside of Indianapolis IN zip 46217. What type of business/service am I looking for that targets “too much iron” and tell us if our water is good. Can you recommend a service company in our area, or a list of businesses? Thanks for your help.
Mark Timmons
September 8, 2018 at 12:44 PM
Well, we recommend us. We are also located in Indianapolis. Give us a call at (317) 209-0889.
Robert Nordman
October 6, 2018 at 3:01 PM
Can you compare your system to a Kinetico 2100 system and what differentiates your product from that system.
Mark Timmons
October 7, 2018 at 10:42 PM
This is the comparable system to the 2100: https://www.uswatersystems.com/synergy-twin-alternating-metered-water-softener.html The kinetico is sold through 3-step distribution with the final step being commissioned salesmen who make 25 to 30%. We sell direct and eliminate all the middlemen. Additionally, ours uses electricity to regenerate more effeciently. The Kinetico has a lot more internal moving parts.
Eric Scatton
October 23, 2018 at 3:06 PM
I am looking at the Fusion Oxi-Gen Commercial Grade Iron And Sulfur Removal System. It seems nice and compact for what I need (sulfide and iron removal). I notice that you do not use a contact tank. Can you comment on this? (other forums seem to suggest it is required, and others inject prior to the well pressure tank to allow the pressure tank to act as a contact tank)
Mark Timmons
October 23, 2018 at 4:19 PM
Eric, I was one of the pioneers into the modern use of H2O2 in water treatment for iron and sulfur eradication. I have been at it for over 25 years and about 20 years ago, I also believed you needed a contact tank. It turns out that all a contact tank does is dilute the H2O2. Anyone who injects peroxide ahead of a contact tank or a pressure tank, has no idea how H2O2 functions. Chlorine requires a contact tank because it is a great disinfectant, while peroxide is a great oxidizer. Sulfur and iron need to be oxidized so a contact tank is not only unnecessary, but it is also detrimental. Run away from anyone who says you need a contact tank or even a static mixer. Neither are necessary and both are detrimental to the process.
Kent
October 23, 2018 at 5:42 PM
We have just had an H2O2 system installed, replacing a potassium permagenate system. Since the system has been installed, my skin has been irritated by the water. I have tested the water (using hot tub test strips) and it is very high alkalinity and very high ph. Recommendations to balance out the alkalinity and ph?
Mark Timmons
October 24, 2018 at 5:16 PM
You can use this: https://www.uswatersystems.com/katalox-light-ph-reducer-option.html
Alexa Bartel
October 25, 2018 at 2:45 PM
Can this product be used for swimming pools?
Jim
November 9, 2018 at 2:14 PM
I have a peroxide injection system and adding a water softener should it be installed be for or after system ?
Mark Timmons
November 10, 2018 at 2:31 PM
The softener should be after the hydrogen peroxide system.
Michelle Castelbuono
November 28, 2018 at 11:41 AM
Hi! I currently have a chlorine injection system with two contact tanks, carbon filter and micron filter for clay particles. I'm considering switching to a hydrogen peroxide injection system. Is it a problem that I have the contact tanks? I would be keeping those installed as part of the system. Thanks!
Mark Timmons
November 29, 2018 at 10:01 PM
I am assuming that you want to switch to H2O2 for removing iron and/or sulfur. Chlorine is a poor oxidizer but a great disinfectant. However, it needs "contact time" to do that, thus the contact tanks. On the other hand, hydrogen peroxide is a poor disinfectant, but a GREAT oxidizer. To remove iron and sulfur, you need to oxidize them, not "disinfect" them. Using a contact tank or tanks, only serves one purpose with H2O2: It dilutes the H2O2 and requires you to use (and pay for) more H2O2. Just because you have contact tanks is no reason to use them with H2O2. To summarize it: DO NOT USE CONTACT TANKS WITH H2O2. You will have more space without the contact tanks. This is our new H2O2 system: https://www.uswatersystems.com/infusion-backwashing-filter-for-iron-sulfur-and-manganese-removal.html
Greg
December 19, 2018 at 3:14 PM
I am currently using your method with H2O2 injection and then following with a catalytic carbon backwashing filter. This is doing an excellent job of removing the lion's share of the iron but I still am getting some through. Would it make sense to add a second catalytic carbon filter (I already have a smaller 1.5 cu ft tank available) ? Would this help remove some additional iron?
Mark Timmons
December 22, 2018 at 12:20 PM
If you do that, add a second injection point ahead of the second tank.
Don Andrews
December 26, 2018 at 5:20 PM
would like to get my well tested and a system designed.
Mark Timmons
December 27, 2018 at 5:56 PM
OK, here's where you start: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-lab-water-test.html
isaiah
December 28, 2018 at 2:02 AM
does h202 remove elemental sulfur residue? and to remove the sulfur does it have to be in the water or can it also remove it from the sink?
Mark Timmons
December 28, 2018 at 8:39 AM
You would have to clean it off the sink in the beginning but it will keep it off. It's not the H2O2 that removes it. In other words, you just can't put H2O2 into your water and get rid of it. It's the entire process that does it... of which H2O2 is a vital part.
Holly
December 28, 2018 at 9:11 AM
Hi Mark, We added an H202 to our well in May 2017, that then goes through a softener. Our sulfide was very high and it was creating a chemical reaction with the softener and started eating our copper pipes. (Newly built home) Since adding the H202 system, we noticed blue stains in the showers, my kids get nauseated after showering, to the point were they can't eat for almost an hour afterwards. My middle daughter gets achy joints from it. Recently added a shower filter for them and it has helped, but it tends to get low pressure after just a few days. I developed issues with my facial skin a few months after it was installed (but hadn't realized until recently what was the culprit) Also, we have clean water outside of the high sulfide but not able to drink it (even after going through an $800 sink based filter), it gives us diarrhea. What are your thoughts? We had the H202 system number lowered. I think the tank shows at 2. Is this 2 ppm?
Mark Timmons
December 28, 2018 at 9:18 AM
I am going to need to see what kind of system you have and what you are actually doing to inject it. Did you buy it from us? Do you have a detailed water analysis? I can help, but I am going to have to know all of this.
Patricia
January 1, 2019 at 12:21 PM
Do you have distributors in Ontario Canada?
Mark Timmons
January 7, 2019 at 12:50 PM
WE sell direct and eliminate distributors all over the world. This saves the consumer about 50%. Why buy through a distributor when you can buy direct?
Mal Johnson
January 21, 2019 at 6:48 PM
My son moved in his new house with a new well, softener and filters. Apparently the well is contaminated with iron-eating bacteria. He has shocked it twice but the odor and stain keep coming back. Do you have some advice?
Mark Timmons
January 22, 2019 at 9:32 AM
I would need to see a detailed water analysis to make a recommendation. https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-lab-water-test.html Once I have that, I can make a recommendation AND GUARANTEE THE RESULTS!
Lenon Chang
February 20, 2019 at 2:35 PM
Can you comment on Ozone systems vs Peroxide systems? Is Ozone a better oxidizer than H2O2?
Mark Timmons
March 6, 2019 at 8:26 PM
Ozone is a better oxidizer than peroxide, but in removing iron and sulfur, I would never use it. It's too problematic. H2O2 is inherently more reliable and dramatically less costly.
Jake
March 11, 2019 at 12:04 AM
Hey mark, can I use ozone and h2o2 together? I already have a ozone generator and a 1.5 cu ft catalytic carbon backwashing filter. My raw well water is 3.34 ppm iron and post ozone is 1.5 ppm, I'd like to take care of the last 1.5 ppm with h2o2 if possible.
Mark Timmons
March 12, 2019 at 10:38 PM
Jake, Am I missing something here? You have an ozone system and it is taking the iron from 3.35 to 1.5? You are creating insoluble ferric iron that is more difficult to remove. The Ozone System is a big FAIL. Don't use both. Use H2O2 alone.This is just another case whereby the ozone system is grossly undersized or poorly designed. It is really silly to use both. Feel free to call me to discuss.
Jake M
April 3, 2019 at 7:50 PM
Hey Mark, I appreciate the reply. I spent over 1k on this ozone/catalytic carbon filter from discountwatersoftners.com this thing hasn't worked since day 1. Its been almost a year since I installed this unit. I even went back and forth with them trouble shooting the unit but they couldn't find anything wrong and now wont respond to me. I didn't know much about hydrogen peroxide until I started doing endless nights of reading and researching. I should have just gone this route from day 1. I guess my question is can I at least use this unit a auto backwashing filter? the media is gravel on bottom then catalytic carbon. Basically its supposed to draw in ozone and keeps a pocket of ozone at the top. Can I just let it draw in air and use the media for my filtering needs for the hydrogen peroxide system?
Mark Timmons
April 3, 2019 at 8:29 PM
I am sorry for your problem. You will not be happy if you essentially change it to an air draw system. You are trading one problem for others. https://blog.uswatersystems.com/2018/12/five-reasons-why-you-should-never-buy-an-air-injection-iron-filter/ You will need to plug the air injection, but if and how you can do that depends upon the valve. The tank needs to be adequately sized as well. I will authorize a $700 discount on an inFusion system if you video destroying your old system and a short explanation why.
Jake M
April 3, 2019 at 9:44 PM
I greatly appreciate that offer Mark and I would love your iFusion system, and I wouldn't love anything more then to destroy this FAILED setup I was sold. I just dont have the budget for additional $1900 for the 10 gpm system since I only have 2 full baths. I was planning on spending around 1000 for a hydrogen peroxide system and utilize my current backwashing filter. I could possibly stretch my budget to 1500. You can email me direct if you have time to chat about options that fit my budget or maybe if possible a 1100 dollar discount and I will happily destroy my fake failed ozone system. My email should be attached to these comments since I put it in the column below. Thanks again Mark!
Terry Laxton
August 19, 2019 at 2:40 AM
Do you have a system that will work on well with 80ppm iron?
Mark Timmons
August 19, 2019 at 9:10 AM
Yes, but all things have to be considered in totality. What other competing contaminants are there? What is the pH, Hardness, TDS, Manganese, etc.? There are several ways to do this, but it's not simple. Do you have a detailed water analysis? If not, this is the place to start: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-systems-professional-lab-water-test.html
ROBERT SNYDER
September 28, 2019 at 11:03 AM
we have a septic system. Will the H202 kill the bacteria that is needed to keep the septic system and drain field operating properly?
Mark Timmons
September 28, 2019 at 11:10 AM
Robert, Unless you are using WAY to much peroxide, the H2O2 is consumed in the process of oxidation. The only byproduct is a little oxygen. So, the answer is "NO, it will not hurt your septic tank when utilized properly."
Jeanette Pardo
October 11, 2019 at 2:51 PM
We have iron at approx. 4 ppm as well as iron bacteria. We spent over 2000 for an iron removal filter from Easy Water which was supposed to handle our problem according to what they told us (they tested our water). After 6 months and a second media tank (first one fouled) our water still has iron and a small amount of iron bacteria. It doesn't taste good. We had added a Stenner pump and are injecting 7% peroxide at 89% . We also have a prefilter , and a Pelican carbon whole house filter. We are no longer working with Easy Water because they just keep trying to sell us more products. We are at a loss of what to do and are even considering having a new well drilled. Please help! Thank you.
Mark Timmons
October 22, 2019 at 2:48 PM
Please send photos and any other information on your water analysis.
Marie
December 26, 2019 at 7:46 AM
Our system was working good until we got a lot of rain. The water started smelling a little so my husband turned up the peroxide. After that everyone in our household mentioned that their hair was very tangled and dry looking. I’m sure he turned it up too much and has now been turning it back little by little. It’s getting better but still messing with our hair. It is now set at 2. Any suggestions? Also what should we use to test our water? Thank you
Mark Timmons
January 1, 2020 at 6:47 PM
Contact our technical support department at 800-608-8792 to discuss the options.