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How to remove sediment depends on the type and amount of sediment?

 Well or spring water can be full of Sediment, that could be reason you heard a question like how to remove sediment? Sediment in water can clog valves, fixtures, and irrigation systems.  Sediment in the water can ruin water heaters and appliances.

Although water sediment cartridge filters are widely available at hardware stores, these filters are often poorly sized or use the wrong type of Filter for the type of sediment that is in the water. The result is often compelling drop, reduced flow rate and frequent maintenance.

With the correct well water sediment filter for the sediment present, there is little pressure drop and maintenance is kept to a minimum.  To find the best sediment filter for your well water consider the following types:

There are five main types of sediment filters that are most useful for well and spring water:

  • Spin-down filter strainers
  • Cartridge filter systems
  • Backwashing media filters
  • Ultra-Filtration (UF) membrane systems

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Well Sediment Filter:

  • What type of sediment do I have in my water system?
  • What is the flow rate in gallons per minute that I want to filter?
  • What is my line pressure in PSI?
  • Which type or combination of types of filtration should I use?
  • Do I have sub-micron sediment or turbidity that cannot be filtered out by standard filters and require ultra-filtration or flocculation combined with filtration?

How to Remove Sediment: Test Your Water

Easy Well Water Test Kit

It might look like sediment by the time you see it in the toilet bowl or laundry, but often what we think of as sediment is actually dissolved metals such as iron or manganese that turn to a solid particle only after they have entered the household plumbing. A basic water analysis is always a good idea when determining which type of well sediment filter is best for your needs.

A general mineral analysis will provide a list of the common minerals. Important items to test for include:

  • pH
  • Hardness (calcium carbonate)
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Total dissolved solids

Stains and Odors

If water is discolored or has a strong odor, you may also want to test for:

  • Iron Bacteria
  • Tannin
  • Hydrogen sulfide

Professional Analysis or Home Test Kit?

If you are trying to remove sediment in well water or eliminate iron, manganese or odors, home test kits you can do yourself on site can work very well. The EPA recommends testing your water annually for coliform bacteria and nitrate.

To find a local lab, consult your county health department for recommendations.

The water sample should be drawn as close to the source as possible, before any filtration systems.

Perform a "Toilet Tank Inspection"

Unless your toilet tank is new or has recently been cleaned your toilet flush tank can be a wealth of useful water quality information! Simply lift the cover and look in.

White scale on floatCalcium hardnessWater softener
White scale on floatTotal dissolved solidsReverse osmosis
Tank sides are white, but black, rust or sand is laying on the bottomDecaying galvanized pipesReplace pipes; correct corrosiveness of water
 Sand, rust or sediment in well waterSediment and/or iron filter
Blue StainsAcidic (low pH) waterCalcite neutralizer or soda ash feeder
Rust StainsIronIron filter (Birm, MangOX, Greensand, Pyrolox)
Furry, stringy red growthsIron (and/or other) bacteriaChlorination, aeration, ozone injection, hydrogen peroxide, followed by filtration
Furry, stringy gray or black growthsSulfur (or other) bacteriaChlorination, aeration, ozone injection, hydrogen peroxide, followed by filtration
Frothy, with bubblesIron bacteriaChlorination, aeration, ozone injection, hydrogen peroxide, followed by filtration
Brown stainsIron And/or ManganeseIron filter that removes manganese (MangOX, Greensand, Pyrolox)
Black StainsIron And/or ManganeseIron filter that removes manganese (MangOX, Greensand, Pyrolox)
 Ferric Sulfide (black rust)Iron filter (Birm, MangOX, Greensand, Pyrolox)
Pink StainsAirborne bacteriaNot water quality related; Clean with chlorine bleach
Water Heater "Sediment"Caused By
Blue or gray chipsDecaying dip tube
Black or sandy sedimentDecaying glass liner
Black, orange or gray flakesDecaying anode rod

It is recommended that you drain your water heater at least once per year. This is not only quick and easy to do, but this will also flush out sediment that may accumulate in the bottom and give you an idea of the sediment type and color, if any, that are present.

Connect a garden hose to the bottom drain on your water heater and open the valve and run the water into a white 5-gallon bucket.

Check for Pipe Corrosion and Scale Build-up

Your pipes and/or water heater can introduce sediment into your water if they are corroding. Unless your home is new, it is important to check for pipe corrosion scale build-up in the piping. Fortunately, this is not difficult to do by using one of the following methods:

  • Check for signs of blue stains in fixtures, blue stains in toilet tanks, which can indicate copper corrosion, and/or test water for copper.
  • If you have galvanized iron pipe, look for signs of rust and rust-colored scale in the toilet flush tank.
  • If possible, inspect the exterior of pipes and valves, to see if you see any signs of pinhole leaks or corrosion by-products which can be crusty, bluish, white or salty looking or rusty. If you are having any plumbing work done on your house, inspect any sections of the pipes that have been cut to see if there is any scale build-up or signs of corrosion.
Flakes or ParticlesCausePossible Remedy
Black flakes, gritThe lining of water heater deterioratingReplace water heater
Black grit or particlesManganeseGreensand filter or MangOX filter
 Iron sulfide "black rust"Chlorination with iron filtration
 Corrosion from lining of the galvanized pipeReplace galvanized pipe with copper or plastic pipe
Blue chipsWater heater dip tube deterioratingReplace water heater
Blue or green flakesCopper-stained calcium particles from copper pipe corrosionCheck pH of water and neutralize acid pH
Dirt color sedimentSediment from well waterSediment backwash filter, or cartridge type filter; ultrafiltration
Gray sand or gritSand or dirt from well waterSediment backwash filter, or cartridge type filter
 Water heater liner deterioratingReplace water heater
Red, yellow or orange beadsWater softener resin from a broken water softenerRepair or replace water softener
Rust, orange flakesRust and iron from well waterSediment backwash filter, and/or iron filter
 Iron bacteriaChlorination with iron filtration
 Rust from corroded iron pipesReplace corroded iron pipes
Sand or gritSand from wellSand separator or Spin-Down filter strainer
White or tan flakesClay or calcium particles from well waterSediment filter
 Calcium carbonate (water hardness)Water softener
White plastic chipsWater heater dip tube deterioratingReplace water heater
Gray particles suspended in waterColloidal clayUltrafiltration (UF) membrane

Sediment Filter System Types:

  • Mesh screen "spin-down" filter strainers: 100 to 500-micron range, remove sand and larger sediment
  • Micron cartridge filters: 0.5 to 100-micron range, remove fine sediment
  • Sediment backwash filters: filter down to 5 to 10-micron range and are self-cleaning. Often used in conjunction with 1 to 5-micron cartridge filters.
  • Ultrafiltration membranes (UF): filter down to less than 0.15 microns. Remove bacteria; very fine colloidal sediment.

Spin Down Filter Strainers

Spin down filters use screens of varying sizes to remove large sediment and grit from the water. A typical practical size for home water wells is either 60 (250 microns) or 100 (150 microns) mesh.

Mesh Size to Micron Chart


Sediment Backwash Filters

• Removes sediment and turbidity with no filter cartridges or maintenance
• Natural zeolite mineral filters water to 5-micron range
• Auto backwash & rinse keeps media clean
• Little or no pressure drop through the filter
• Rugged media lasts for years
• Lighter than sand but filters finer
• Lower backwash flow rate requirements than traditional sand filters

How to Remove Sediment in Water with Three Stage Approach

Well water first flows through filter strainer removing sand and large sediment common with silt, dirt and mud. An optional auto-flush valve keeps filter mesh screen clean, or it can be manually flushed by opening the bottom flush valve.

Next, the water flows through an automatic back-washing sediment backwash filter where most of the turbidity and sediment is removed down to 5 microns.

Accumulated sediment is automatically flushed out to drain restoring water pressure.

After the sediment backwash filter the water is further filtered to 1 micron removing all particles over 1 micron.

Micron Cartridge Filters

Well Water Filter Cartridges

Well Water Filters for Sediment

How big is a micron?

Filter cartridges are widely used in home water systems and come in a variety of sizes and micron ratings. A micron rating of 50 microns, for example, means that approximately all particles 50 microns in size and up will be trapped by the filter.

Ultra-Filtration Membrane Systems

Some particles are less than 1 micron and cannot be removed by conventional micron filter cartridges. These sub-micron particles can cause water to be cloudy or discolored, or harbor bacteria.

An ultra-filtration or "UF" membrane system filters water down to less than 0.015 microns, effectively removing bacteria, cryptosporidium cysts, and very fine sediment and colloidal clay particles.

The result is crystal clear water with no bacteria or sediment.

UF Systems

• Remove all particles down to the 0.020 to 0.015 micron range.
• Remove turbidity, cysts, and bacteria
• Use Hollow-fiber membrane that is cleaned by simple backwashing
• Require normal line pressure to operate
• Retain natural minerals. Does not desalinate
• Pre-filter water to 1 to 5 microns before UF

Flocculation Aids

Some natural waters contain tannin, organic matter, color and/or superfine particles called colloids that cannot be practically removed filtration without first pre-treating it with a flocculent. After the non-toxic chemical is injected, it combines with these fine colloidal particles to form 'floc', which is a larger mass of these particles. The floc is then easily filtered out with auto backwashing sediment filters or cartridge filter systems.

Common Flocculants Include:

• Alum (aluminum sulfate)
• Ferrous sulfate
• Chitosan (from crustaceans)
• Alginates

(If you want to learn more about how to remove sendiment in water, check this post out.)

Residential Well Water Flocculation and Filtration System

Sediment Filter System for Well Water

Sediment Removal Cheat Sheet

Well Water Sediment Filter Checklist How To

Email our technical support department at [email protected] or call us for help at 1-888-600-5426!

This post first appeared on Clean Well Water Report, please read the originial post: here

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How to remove sediment depends on the type and amount of sediment?


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