Well Water

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by SuzanneR, May 15, 2012.

  1. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Note to self: always check to be sure that the rust remover salt in the water softening system is full before printing in the darkroom. Nothing worse than spending several hours printing, putting the prints in the wash with clear clean water, then returning a half hour later to discover the water is all brown. Gah!! I had plenty of the salt on hand, but hadn't looked into the container that holds it in several weeks. Added three bags late yesterday, today, the water water should clear up and I will be reprinting on Wednesday (a rare week with darkroom time, yay, but bumming that I have to redo stuff).

    Will never make that mistake again... I'm just saying...
     
  2. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    I may have misunderstood. Just for clarity, be sure to wait until after the water softener has cycled. Ours is set to purge at 3 AM. Any water prior to that will still be rusty.

    I added an inline canister filter from Lowes or Home Depot between the water softener and the darkroom sink. I have 3 and 1 micron filter choices. This was to get those final little dark spots rather than the whole rush of rusty covered by the water softener. It slows the flow considerably, but is worth the wait at our house out in the country. I turn it off to regain normal speed when I am not in the darkroom. We run drinking water through a Brita in the kitchen.

    Looking forward to meeting you in MI.

    John Powers
     
  3. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I might add something like that, John. Yes, I think it will cycle through today.... ours is set similarly to purge in the middle of the night. Water is looking less brown this morning, but still a little cloudy. Hopefully, by tomorrow, it'll be clear again. If not, I'll wait another day. I'm looking forward to Michigan as well!!
     
  4. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    Or, think of it as a new way of toning! We have high iron content in our water and I've experienced the same thing.
     
  5. EdGallop

    EdGallop Member

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    aww, crap... something else that I hadn't thought about. I'm building a darkroom and I'm on well water. We don't even have a water softener. It just comes out of the ground and into the tank. I thought I had it all planned out.

    Ed
     
  6. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I'm on well water as well and we have an excellent softening system that is also equipped to remove iron. But I also have an inline canister filter for my darkroom. The cartridges start out white and as I routinely change them they are always black after a period of time. I definitely recommend installing one for each water line in the darkroom.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  7. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    You might not have issues. Then, again, you might have big problems. It depends on your water quality.

    Have your well water tested. Make sure they check for iron, sulfur and dissolved minerals. Most water quality testing labs do but just check to be sure.

    Who knows? Your water might be all right.
     
  8. EdGallop

    EdGallop Member

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    Yeah... hopefully it turns out ok... we don't get stains in the tub or anything like that so maybe I don't have anything to worry about.

    Ed
     
  9. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Since my forty year old submersible pump and the iron pipe it hung from were replaced with newer materials (primarily the horribly rusted pipe is now plastic), I see no rust problems straight out of the ground. I do mix my processing chemicals with distilled water, but general rinsing actions with well water have been OK. The problems probably vary wildly in different geographic areas and even between wells, you just have to test and experiment.
     
  10. EdGallop

    EdGallop Member

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    That's good to hear... I have plastic pipes too. I was planning to mix my chems with bottled water anyway.

    Ed
     
  11. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I feel your pain, Suzanne! Been there, done that. And this is usually how I discover it's time to replace/repack the filter stuff in the iron tank as well. When our water comes out of the ground, I swear it's almost sludge.
     
  12. jglass

    jglass Member

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    Well, this is very interesting for me as well. I find our iron filter and water softener do not really remove the iron very well. Our water is also high in sulfur and iron. It's not a problem for my printing as I currently print at a community darkroom, but it's hell in the bathtub! Do you guys find your softener removes enough iron to avoid the rust and black water occasionally and enough sulfur to remove the rotten egg smell? I find I have to drain the water heater pretty often. We had decided to get a 2500 gal. storage tank right at the well as we were told the iron/sulfur will precipitate out in that tank before the water goes to the house.

    Geez, maybe we need a new softener?
     
  13. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I know where you live Winger, it is sludge from all the iron mills in the area.
     
  14. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    When we bought this place a few years ago, the softener system was not working, and we had that rotten egg smell, so we negotiated some money off the purchase price, and put in this softener and bubbler system, which has largely solved the problems, but the water is still pretty hard, and we have times (like now) when it runs brown and foggy... especially when I've overlooked the salt!! So it can be a little unpredictable when the water isn't quite what it should be. Naturally, a week (like now) when I have the time, the water isn't up to snuff... grrr... but mostly the system works, and I think if you have well water with a lot of heavy minerals, they are well worth it, but they can be pricy. Certainly good for darkroom work to have your water properly filtered and softened, but the tests to fine what's in there are pretty straightforward, and not expensive. You may not need a system as complex or as expensive as ours.
     
  15. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    And from all the stuff that they didn't extract from the earth.
     
  16. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    I don't know in your surroundings, but here in Italy oligomineral water in sealed plastic bottles costs around 0,40€/L. For instance, 6 1.5 L. bottles (9 litres total) for €3,70, there certainly are some who are much cheaper.

    Maybe they can be a good alternative to filtered-reconditioned well water for darkroom work. And possibly also for drinking.
     
  17. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    While almost any water softener will remove a bit of iron, if your iron level is very high you probably need a special iron filter that that works in tandem with your water softener. If slightly high, you can choose a water softener resin (fine mesh resin) that is more effective with iron. I avoid the "all purpose" resin that softeners from many sources come with; few things in life are really "all purpose".

    If your current softener is OK mechanically, you can replace the resin that's inside. Many factors effect useful life of the resin, but generally is 10-20 years. Same issue with iron filters.

    If you are getting that sulfur smell, you may have iron bacteria in your system and you need to "shock chlorinate" your well.
     
  18. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Until a few years ago we bought five gallon bottled spring water. Great idea until my back started complaining. I am 72. My understanding is water is 8 pounds a gallon or 40+ pounds a bottle. Salt for the water softener is also in 40 pound bags, but we need it less often than the water bottles.

    The canister filter mentioned above takes care of the darkroom. Brita makes a nice pitcher filter that takes care of the kitchen, drinking water, tea and coffee.

    John Powers