Sunday, December 27, 2015

How to Fix Or Prime an Older #WaterPump When it Stops Pumping Water

By Mark Fernandina

The other day the electricity to our 60 year old house here in Florida went out for the first time in all those years thanks to Mother Nature. In due course our water pump decided to take a break from us as well. So, I decided to share a gem of knowledge with the world on how to fix an older water pump before you pay the plumber.

The problem with our water pump occurred when our electricity was reinstated to the house. The pump was not functioning though electricity had been restored to it. We called our uncle nearby to help restore the pump and thus began a learning process: priming a water pump.

This is what I learned:

First, My uncle could not fix the pump. Instead, we had an old hand down the street come show us how to do it:

There are apparently two ways to prime a pump and several things you should watch for.

First turn off the pump, whether there is a switch or you need to unplug the pump.

1. Unscrew the top bolt on the water tank itself and pour water into the hole until it either reaches the top of the hole or begins to gush back out of the water tank.

If you are not able to successfully unscrew the top bolt of your older water tank due to the age and rusting of the water tank proceed to step 2.

2. Unscrew the Pressure Meter or valve from the water pump machine itself and pour water into the opening until it can be seen at the top of the hole.

Note: Only do step 1 or 2, not both together. There should be only one opening exposed.

3. After performing steps 1 or 2, restart the pump.

Water should gush from the opening that you unscrewed. This is called priming the pump, when you put water back into the pump to get rid of the air in the pump so that the pump can function properly: pumping water and not air.

Should this method not work then you may have an additional problem, one that I encountered.

According to our neighbor when electricity goes out at a house it may disrupt the "air valve" on the water tank.

To check for this, what you need to do is find the air valve. Unscrew the air valve only from the small pipe. Clearly stated: the small pipe needs to remain connected to the water pump itself but not to the air valve.

Next, block the opening of that small pipe by placing your finger over it where the air valve used to be and try priming the pump again with water and turning it on to see if it works.

If the pump does gush water out of the hole from step 1 or 2 this means that your air valve is the problem and it needs to be replaced.
Air valves are not expensive. So, do not fret. They are about 10 to 15 dollars at any local hardware store.

Replace your air valve entirely and voila! prime the pump and you are back in business!

Hope this Helps!

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Sunday, December 20, 2015

What Causes Smelly or Yellow #WellWater, and How Can It Be Fixed?

By Marjorie Steele

There are few things more refreshing than a glass of clear, cold, crisp water. But what happens when your tap water begins to smell or taste differently than it used to? If the water begins to carry a green or yellow tint, does that mean it's unsafe? Depending on where a home is located, problems such as a sulfur smell, or "rotten egg smell," and water discoloration can affect the quality of the well water. However, there are usually ways to address the rotten egg smell and discoloration issues, and a professional well drilling company will know best how to use water purification systems, or other methods, to make your water the best that it can be.

What Causes the Rotten Egg Smell in Water?

The primary cause of the rotten egg smell in water is hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is caused by "anaerobic digestion," the process by which microorganisms break down organic material in the absence of oxygen. This process can occur in the mud and clay of swamps as well as sewers and wells. In addition to being unpleasant to the senses, hydrogen sulfide gas can be both poisonous and flammable in large quantities, though this is rare in domestic situations. Hydrogen sulfide also corrodes pipes, which can cause a myriad of problems in the home.

Hydrogen sulfide dissipates quickly from water. To perform a simple home test, the homeowner can fill a glass with water. If the smell dissipates in roughly ten seconds, hydrogen sulfide is likely the cause of the rotten egg smell. To make certain, the homeowner should have a professional either test the water on-site or take a stabilized sample back to the lab. Once it is determined that hydrogen sulfide is indeed the problem, there are several steps that can be taken to alleviate that nasty sulfur smell from the water.

How Can Smelly Water be Fixed?

First, the homeowner must determine whether the sulfur smell is present when both hot and cold water are running, or only when hot water is running. If the rotten egg smell is detectable only when the water is warm, the problem is likely what is called the "sacrificial anode rod" in your water heater. If this is the case, the sulfur smell is not being caused by anaerobic digestion, but is created when the water reacts with the anode rod.

If the smell is present whenever the water runs, the homeowner may want to have a professional well drilling and installation company install a fiberglass, bladderless water tank with a venting system. These systems are highly effective in removing both the hydrogen sulfide and its attending rotten egg smell from the water. If the water has a high iron concentration, and iron filter may be able to effectively remove the excess iron and smell. Yet another option is a carbon-based filter, which can remove smells from well water. Contact a professional well drilling company to determine which solution will best fit your needs.

What Causes Yellow or Greenish Discoloration in Well Water?

In addition to smelly water, discolored water can also be a problem for homeowners who get their water from underground wells. In general, there are two main causes for cloudy water. The first possibility is that iron is oxidizing in the water. This results when ground from which the well water is drawn contains a relatively high concentration of iron. A second possibility is that the cloudy water contains a high concentration of tannic acid. Tannic acid is particularly common if the well is located near or around a swamp, as tannic acid is caused by decaying vegetation near your water source.

A simple home test can help determine whether the discolored water is a result of iron or tannic acid. First, allow the water to run for about fifteen minutes. Then, fill up a clean, white bucket with tap water. If the water is immediately discolored, tannic acid is likely the culprit. However, the water is initially clear, but increases in discoloration with time, the result is probably iron.

How Can Discolored Water be Fixed?

If the water in the bucket discolors slowly, the homeowner should have the well water tested for high iron. If it turns out to be the case that the iron levels are high, the installation of an iron filter can usually alleviate the problem. If the problem is tannic acid, the solution may not be so easy. There are water conditioners that have tannin beds, but these systems are generally expensive and not extremely effective. In most cases, the best option is to drill a new well in a different aquifer if at all possible. A professional well drilling company will be able to determine what the best option is for each individual home and well.

Steve Buer is the owner of Buer Well Drilling, a well drilling company based in Caledonia, Michigan. A family owned business, Buer Well Drilling specializes in well drilling, well water treatment and many other services. Mr. Buer and his team provide water well service to Ada and its outlying areas. Visit for more information.

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Sunday, December 13, 2015

#Chlorine and #Cancer: What Can a Water Filter Do for You?

By Vanessa Lausch

Every day, cases of cancer are rising in astounding and unprecedented numbers.
While medical professionals work tirelessly to find a cure for this most deadly of
diseases, the numbers of terminally ill patients continue to climb. Although the
cure for cancer continues to elude medical professionals, it is completely within our
own power to protect our families and ourselves and to reduce our risks whenever

In recent years, individuals have begun to seriously examine known carcinogens and
to protect themselves from these cancer-causing agents. Sunscreen has become an
important defense against skin cancer, and its use is on the rise. The number of
smokers attempting to quit rises each day, precisely because of new information
about the carcinogenic nature of cigarettes.

The increase in such protective behaviors clearly indicates an increased interest in
protecting oneself from cancer risks. Still, droves of people continue to use and
drink unfiltered tap water, not knowing about or not believing in the insidious
nature of this substance. Whether we like it or not, the water that emerges from our
taps, however pristine it may appear, is filled with carcinogenic compounds. A
simple water filter can now serve as a valuable safeguard against cancer.

Chlorine and Tap Water:
Untreated tap water is filled with such dangerous contaminants as nitrate, arsenic,
microorganisms, and chemicals from pesticide runoff. Once this water reaches a
municipal treatment plant, many contaminants are removed. However, one of the
most dangerous contaminants is actually added to drinking water as a part of the
treatment process.

Chlorine, added as an inexpensive and effective drinking water disinfectant, is also a
known poison to the body. It is certainly no coincidence that chlorine gas was used
with deadly effectiveness as a weapon in the First World War. This gas was known
to severely burn the lungs and other body tissues when inhaled; it is no less
powerful when ingested by mouth. Each day, as we use unfiltered tap water, we are
effectively pouring bleach into our water before we drink it.

This poisonous chemical, accompanied by its byproducts, is now known to cause at
least three types of cancers, among other serious health problems. The U.S. Council
of Environmental Quality recently released a report stating that the risk of cancer is
93% higher among those drinking chlorinated water than among those not drinking
chlorinated water! In the following paragraphs, you can read about the specific
cancer risks of chlorinated water and learn how to protect your family and yourself
from this insidious poison.

Bladder and Rectal Cancer:
Chlorine has long been known to be a leading cause of bladder and rectal cancer.
Once in water, chlorine interacts with organic compounds to create trihalomethanes
(THMs). These THMs are particularly harmful to the body when ingested. When
taken into the body, THMs encourage the production of free radicals. These free
radicals proceed to destroy or damage vital cells in the body. Because so much of
the water we drink ends up in the bladder and/or rectum, ingestions of THMs in
drinking water is particularly damaging to these organs. THMs cause innumerable
cases of bladder and rectal cancer each year.

Bladder and rectal cancer occur when malignant cells, often created by THMs, infect
the inner tissues of the particular organ. Once they have taken hold in the bladder
or rectum, the malignant cells can isolate themselves in the infected area or they
can spread to infect other areas of the body, potentially causing more deadly forms
of cancer. Each year, 13,000 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed in women
while 37,000 new cases are diagnosed in men. Of these 50,000 new cases each
year, slightly more than 20% of individuals will die from the disease. For rectal
cancer, more than 40,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and approximately
55% of those individuals diagnosed will die from the disease.

Ironically, one of the best means of protection against these two types of cancer is
drinking plenty of fluids. However, drinking larger amounts of contaminated water
only exacerbates the risk.

Breast Cancer:
Breast cancer is the newest type of cancer to be connected to ingestion of
chlorinated water. Breast cancer affects one out of every eight women in the United
States alone, and it kills approximately _ of its victims.

Recent research has linked this deadly cancer to a buildup of chlorine compounds in
the breast tissue. In a shocking study conducted in Hartford, Connecticut,
researchers found that "women with breast cancer have 50% to 60% higher levels of
organochlorines (chlorination byproducts) in their breast tissue than women without
breast cancer." While chlorine can make its way into our bodies in several ways,
there is no means of access more common or more frequent than the ingestion of
common, unfiltered tap water.

A Simple Solution:
One preventive solution to these three deadly cancers could not be simpler. If
chlorinated drinking water is a leading cause of cancer, then the obvious method of
reducing one's risk of cancer is to refrain from drinking chlorinated water. We
cannot choose whether or not to drink water, but we can choose the type of water
we allow into our bodies.

Municipal water treatment plants add chlorine to water to help make it cleaner and
more pure, but once that chlorine has performed its function, there is certainly no
reason for it to continue its deadly presence in drinking water. A simple home
water filter removes chlorine and its byproducts from drinking water, producing
clean, pure drinking water that can also serve as a useful protection against cancer.
Water filters are one of the only methods of water purification capable of removing

So, what can a water filter do for you? The answer is simple but extremely valuable.
A water filter can protect an individual from cancer, one of the deadliest killers of
the 20th century.

Vanessa Lausch serves as a technical writer for the Aquasana Store,

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Reverse Osmosis Design - 6 Reverse Osmosis Design Factors For Industrial #ReverseOsmosis Equipment

By Layne Christensen

In a power generation facility or any industrial facility that uses large amounts of steam, uninterrupted steam production is vital to the facility. It follows then that an uninterrupted source of ultrapure boiler feedwater is also vitally important. More and more often this means the design, installation and operation of an Industrial Reverse Osmosis system.

The use of RO in industrial and power generation facilities has become increasingly common over the last 15 -20 years, especially in newly built cogeneration and independent power generation facilities. Reverse Osmosis retrofits to the boiler water pre-treatment systems of older industrial facilities are common as well. This is especially true for base-loaded traditional utility power generation facilities regardless of fuel source.

This article presents 6 RO equipment and operational parameters for your consideration prior to purchasing a Reverse Osmosis system for your Power Generation or Industrial facility.

2 Parameters to Consider Surrounding the Final Use of the RO Treated Water

Reverse Osmosis Equipment Parameter #1: In Power Generation facilities normally the permeate is the desired water stream. System designs with more than one pass may be needed to ensure that the final product is of the specified purity. Other considerations may include RO redundancy to allow some trains to be removed for cleaning or membrane replacement, boiler makeup demand vs. RO flow rate, the need for an RO water storage tank, both upstream for the RO feed and downstream for the permeate.

Reverse Osmosis Equipment Parameter#2: If the reject is the desired product, multi-staging may be necessary. In a power plant, wastewater and in some instances cooling tower blow down will be concentrated using multi-staging RO to reduce the total quantity of water that must be treated to final effluent standards. Click here to view a diagram of a 2 Stage Reverse Osmosis system.

4 RO Feedwater Characteristics and Variability Parameters to Consider The RO feedwater must meet certain criteria. If not, RO membranes will perform poorly; they will foul quickly, require excessive and expensive cleaning, and may become damaged to the point where they must be replaced prematurely. When this happens permeate water quality and output will decline.

In addition, care must be paid to the variability of the plant service water that feeds the RO system. Surface water can vary seasonally, and during spring run-off, turbidity can increase to well over 500 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU). Even well water can vary in dissolved solids content.

Reverse Osmosis Equipment Parameter #3: How variable is the plant service water seasonally in dissolved solids, COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand), color, turbidity, temperature, and suspended solids? Is the treatment equipment upstream of the RO system capable of handling any excursions?

Reverse Osmosis Equipment Parameter #4: For surface water sources, how variable is the plant service water during spring run-off, and during lake turn-over? The turn-over occurs twice annually, when the lake temperature passes through 40 degrees F [4.4 degrees C], the point of maximum water density. During this turbulent time there is a significant increase in suspended solids and turbidity as dirt and silt are stirred up from the bottom.

Reverse Osmosis Equipment Parameter #5: For a newly drilled well, how stable is the water chemistry? While Total Suspended Solids might remain stable, Total Dissolved Solids can vary seasonally and throughout the life of the well.

Reverse Osmosis Equipment Parameter #6: Test the Silt Density Index (SDI) frequently. The Silt Density Index is a measure of the fouling tendency of the feedwater to a RO system. Typically, spiral wound reverse osmosis systems will need an SDI less than 5, and hollow fiber RO systems will need an SDI less than 3. If necessary, have a particle size distribution study done on the suspended/colloidal solids in the plant service water and the RO feedwater.

An in-depth discussion of Reverse Osmosis design considerations for the Power Industry and other Industrial applications including tables and drawings can be downloaded in the free 11 page Layne Christensen white paper titled "Eleven Things to Consider When Purchasing a Reverse Osmosis System for Your Power Generation Facility" (A $97 Value).

Get it here: Industrial Reverse Osmosis

If you would like to experience a narrated slideshow on Industrial Reverse Osmosis Design you can get that slideshow here.

As a leader in the development of Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems, Layne Christensen Company has the technical expertise to design and build reverse osmosis systems for all of your plant water needs. Beyond RO, Layne Christensen's Water Treatment Division Research & Development team focuses on refining and expanding the water treatment methods we currently employ so we can meet the most demanding challenges head-on with innovation.

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Sunday, December 6, 2015

#HardWater Deposits and Your Appliances

Many of our most-used appliances rely on water. Coffeemakers, kettles, dishwashers, irons and washing machines all are powered with water from the tap. If your water contains excess amounts of minerals such as magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate, it's known as hard water. While hard water is almost never a threat to your family's health, over time the mineral residues left behind when the water dries can affect the performance and even the lifespan of your water-dependant appliances (it can also ruin the taste of your coffee and make your silverware streaky). There are a number of home remedies for dealing with hard water buildup, or scaling, in your kitchen and laundry room.

Hard Water Buildup in Coffee Makers and Kettles To deal with scaling in your coffee maker or kettle, simply make a solution of half water and half white vinegar. Then pour this mixture through your coffee maker (or boil it in the kettle) to remove the scale. Repeat once or twice if necessary, using a fresh mixture every time. If this fails to solve the problem, you may need to seek out a commercial limescale remover. Check the label to be sure it's safe for use on food appliances first.

You should try to avoid using abrasive materials or cleaners on your glass coffee pot. Abrading the glass weakens it, which can cause the glass to crack the next time it's filled with boiling water.

Dishwashers with Hard Water Buildup

Pour undiluted white vinegar or another acidic cleaner (lemon juice, for example) into your dishwasher's detergent container and run the machine to clear residues that affect the performance of the machine. If hard water spots on your dishes are what's bothering you, there are specially-formulated detergents for hard-water areas available. If buildup on working parts of your machine are extreme, you may need to scrub with very fine steel wool to loosen the deposits on areas you can see, and then follow up with a vinegar rinse.

Hard Water Deposits and Washing Machines

Clothes washed in a machine with serious hard-water buildups are never quite clean. They become stiff and rough and sometimes have whitish marks on them after they've dried. Adding some vinegar in with the detergent can help this, but it leaves an unpleasant smell. Chlorine bleach should work to prevent hard water problems on laundry that can tolerate it. As with dishwashers, several companies now make laundry detergent formulated especially for hard water.

If hard water is affecting the performance of your washing machine generally, you may have mineral deposits clogging up the works. If you're the handy type, you can follow the manufacturer's instructions and clean the inlet screens on the machine's water lines with a toothbrush and a paste made of baking soda and vinegar. After re-attaching the water lines, you can then pour white vinegar (your old friend) into the machine's detergent container and run it once, empty, to clear out any remaining debris.

Worst-Case Scenario for Hard Water: Consider a Water Conditioner Mineral deposits from hard water are easily treatable in many appliances. But for complex major appliances, such as your hot water heater, simply running a cup of vinegar through once in a while isn't feasible-and wouldn't work anyway. If the water in your area is unusually hard, have a professional in to remove scale buildup, and then begin to research water conditioners. These filtration systems pre-treat your water to remove minerals that cause deposits before they come in contact with your appliances. This will extend the lifespans of your appliances, and save you money in the long run.

Kate Whitely is a freelance writer based in Chicago. She recommends Goo Gone Clear Flow for unclogging your iron (

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