One of the most common well water contaminants goes by the name of hydrogen sulfide. This generally harmless gas produces a characteristic unpleasant odor — that of rotten eggs. Hydrogen sulfide also tends to turn water to a rather unattractive shade of yellow. The sooner you can eliminate such issues, the happier you'll be.
Well contractors use many different products and techniques to eliminate hydrogen sulfide. This profusion of options can be somewhat intimidating to homeowners. This article takes a closer look at three of the most common methods for treating hydrogen sulfide contamination in well water.
As noted above, hydrogen sulfide exists as a gas suspended in the water. This gas may either be naturally occurring, or it may be the byproduct of certain species of otherwise harmless bacteria. Historically, homeowners used chemicals such as chlorine and potassium permanganate to oxidize hydrogen sulfide.
These chemicals cause the hydrogen sulfide to precipitate into a physical form that can then be filtered out. Unfortunately, such methods require homeowners to maintain a stock of appropriate chemicals. In addition, they often end up giving water an unpleasant chemical flavor.
The technique known as aeration avoids both of these problems. As its name implies, aeration harnesses the oxidizing power of air to eliminate problematic hydrogen sulfite.
In residential applications, aeration often takes place inside of a closed tank. These tanks use a type of induction device known as a Venturi to draw air into the tank as water flows in. This aerated water then mixes together inside of the tank. As the air and hydrogen sulfide gas combine, the hydrogen sulfide oxidizes into a harmless physical form.
At that point, the excess air passes out through a vent. The water, now containing the oxidized hydrogen sulfide, flows through a filter, which removes the physical contaminant. Such systems not only provide effective results, but do so passively — in other words, without the need for a power source.
2. Catalytic Carbon Filtration
Many homes with wells already make use of filtration systems to remove physical contaminants from water. Many such systems contain filters made from a substance known as activated carbon. While effective at removing numerous common contaminants from a water source, activated carbon filters struggle to deal with volatile organic compounds such as hydrogen sulfide.
A related type of filter material known as catalytic carbon promotes much better results. Here the carbon in the filter has been modified using a chemical process that improves its catalytic capabilities. Among other performance improvements, catalytic carbon filters do a much better job of removing hydrogen sulfide gas from water.
3. Ion Exchange
The ion exchange process can already be found in water softeners, which replace hard-water minerals with relatively harmless ones. Ion exchange can also remove hydrogen sulfide, since most of the hydrogen sulfide in water exists in an ionized form. The specific technology used for this purpose goes by the name of packed-bed anion exchange.
The beds in question contain special resin beads designed to carry a strong ionic charge. As the hydrogen sulfide percolates through the tank, these beads replace the sulfate groups with a soft, odorless equivalent. When correctly implemented, packed-bed anion exchange technology can neutralize over 90 percent of hydrogen sulfide molecules.
All well water falls prey to certain problems as years go on. Fortunately, solutions exist for most such problems. In the case of hydrogen sulfide, many different options exist for restoring your water to its ideal state. For more information about the system best suited for your needs, please contact Nashville's well and pump experts at Henry Drilling LLC.