Water Treatment — There Is No Magic Bullet

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Water treatment hasn t changed in 20 years, so be wary of companies selling cures for all water-quality issues, says Melissa Orr, an Alberta Agriculture water engineer.

Look for a reputable company, that provides a good warranty and service, she advises. The treatments that work are chlorine, ozone and UV, disinfectants and each has its place.

For well water, which has very little organic material, chlorine is simple, tried and true, and Orr s preference. Ozone and peroxide are very corrosive and she says they may not be as safe as some suggest.

A chlorine treatment system must use a tank to hold the water in contact with the chlorine for a set period of time and then a carbon filter to remove the organic material. The carbon filter must be changed or rebedded with new carbon periodically.

It becomes exhausted, unable to hold any more chlorine-linked material and, it s filtering out organic material, so it s a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, she says.

A tank system for chlorine disinfection of water works well, says Orr. Any change in the taste or smell of the water will alert you that it s not working properly. She doesn t like systems that drop chlorine pellets into the well. The pellets can corrode the casing as they bounce against it. They may fall onto the pump or pitless adaptor and dissolve slowly, allowing a concentrated chlorine solution to corrode them or cement them to the casing. Also, she says, chlorine pellets don t disinfect the entire water column in the well. Some parts of the water column have too much chlorine and others have too little.

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