About Chlorinators for Well Water

  • My well water has tested positive for coliform bacteria, is chlorination the best method for disinfecting my well water?

  • Chlorination can be the best method, depending on the water chemistry and the application. The main advantages of chlorination is that the chlorine injection

is relatively inexpensive to set up, and a chlorine residual can be inexpensively detected in the distribution lines of the piping system assuring proper disinfection. In other words, unlike UV sterilizers or ozone, which are also used for disinfection, a chlorine residual can be easily detected throughout the distriburion piping, which usually means the water is properly disinfected.

  • How do I know which chlorinator (metering pumps and solution tank) to get for my application?

A.If you are a homeowner with a well pump that has a 1/2 hp to 1 hp pump, our standard 30GPD system is right for this applicaation. These systems are easily adjustable to get the correct chlorine residual you need

  • What are my other options?

  • Two other types of disinfection systems we carry, are ultraviolet sterilization and ozone systems. The advantage of these systems is that there is no chlorine tastes or odors in the treated water. Maintenance on a UV is minimal usually 1 time a year with our sysyem having an alarm should the bulb fail. Ozone is also a great chemical free alternative, although maintenance, discharge gas and cost are high.How do I know how much chlorine to inject?

  • How do I know how much chlorine to inject?

  • This depends on the "chlorine-demand" of your water. For disinfection purposes a 1 to 2 ppm residual is usually applied, assuming the water has sufficient contact time. We typically recommend an 5 to 10 minute contact time after the chlorine has been injected. If your water contains iron, manganese, sulfur odors, tannins or other substances that will increase the demand placed on the chlorine, then higher residuals will be needed. However, this doesn't change the size of the system. For most homeowners, the smallest system we offer will work fine and you can then adjust the strength of the chlorine solution you are injecting (by diluting it with water) or adjust the output of the pump from 10% to 100% output.

  • I am on a small community system in the United States, and I have been informed that our water has a coliform problem, is chlorination the best approach for our entire community system?

  • Generally, yes. Public health agencies want to make sure that there is a small residual of "free" or available chlorine out in the distribution system or piping of community, to make sure that any bacteria are killed that occur or originate out in the distribution system. An ultraviolet sterilizer will provide no disinfectant residual. Often we use ozone as a primary oxidizer or disinfectant at the main holding tank, as part of a treatment process, but we almost always recommend that a slight chlorine residual be used as a final step, to protect the distribution system piping.

  • Why would I want to use an ozone or an ultraviolet sterilizer in place of a chlorinator?

  • An ozone or ultraviolet sterilizer, properly set up and installed, can be easier to maintain than an chlorinator. A liquid chlorine injection system for instance, requires that one add fresh solution to the solution tank every one to two months (ideally), whereas an ozone or ultraviolet sterilizer can go for six to twelve months without routine maintenance.

  • My community system or small shared well system periodically has coliform bacteria problems, but the other residents on the system do not want to, or have no plans to chlorinate. Is there anything I can do, just at my own home?

  • Yes, you can install a proportionally-fed chlorine injection system, which injects more or less based on the flow rate of your water. Our standard chlorinator systems are installed before the pressure tank where the water is flowing more or less at the same flow rate, so a proportional-fed is not required. Another option if your water is clear, and low in iron and manganese, you could install an ultraviolet sterilizer right at your home, to disinfect only the water that comes directly to your house.

  • Isn't chlorine toxic and cancer-causing?

  • High levels of chlorine are toxic, but low levels (as found in most municipally treated water) are not acutely toxic. There is controversy over the actual carcinogenic effects of long-term low exposure to chlorine. However it is relatively easy to dechlorinate water for showering and drinking.

  • Can I really just use regular household bleach to sanitize my water?

  • Bleach, which is approximately 5% sodium hypochorite, will sanitize your water, as will pool chlorine (12% sodium hypochlorite).

  • I know I have bacteria in my water, should I have my water tested for other things besides bacteria?

  • Its a good idea to have your water tested first, since there can be other parameters, such as pH, iron, manganese and turbidity that can affect the dosage and contact time of the chlorination. If you have further questions you can then contact our technical staff for help on selecting the best system for your application. Or if you just have general questions, you can contact our staff before having your water analyzed, but it is often very difficult to specify a proper system without a complete water analysis, including general mineral and bacteriological, at a minimum.

  • Should all well water be disinfected (sanitized of bacteria)?

  • Generally yes, however the vast majority of private wells in the US and Canada have no disinfection of any kind, and actual waterborne disease outbreaks appear to be rare. If the well is less than ten years old and properly constructed with a sanitary seal, and the lab test comes back with no coliforms detected, then often disinfection is not required. If the well is older, has a cracked or missing seal, is shallow (less than 100 feet deep) or is under the influence of water from surface run-off, then it may be a good idea to disinfect the water, or test routinely for coliforms, particularly during rainy periods.