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  Everyone deserves clean water. That's our commitment to you. The Bioshield Groundwater Protection System eliminates biofilm forming iron related bacteria in the well to provide you with the cleanest, safest water possible.
 

 

We had not been in my wife's dream house a month when the call came. After two years of negotiations with the sellers, we had finally come to terms.  Why was the closing delayed? The sellers knew of the problem, but it was not revealed to us at closing. The circumstances of the delayed closing were made known to us by the local well water treatment specialist when he called to ask us to continue the maintenance contract on the well with him as the previous owners had done. My wife had answered the phone.  He shared that he was the only "certified" water expert in our part of the state and that he would keep our water clean. We did not know we had a problem at the time. He told my wife why our closing was delayed. She signaled for me to pick up the extension. Well water testing is required by law when a house is sold.  The Department of Health and Environmental Control tested the well water for the closing; it tested positive for fecal coliform bacteria. This same water specialist was engaged by the owners to remediate the bacterial infestation.  He dumped five gallons of bleach down the well casing. Another sample was taken, and the water passed the subsequent test. We thought the water tasted bad, but thought it was due to the source, a residential well versus a municipal supply, as we had been accustomed.  After telling us about the test results and his subsequent apparently successful remediation efforts, he asked us if we would like to continue the maintenance contract on the well. Veterans of many college microbiology classes, we declined.

aBleach is not an effective well water treatment. Soon we began to realize the broader impact of bacteria in the well.  I came home from work to an angry wife whose new expensive blouse had orange stains all over it as did all the other clothes in the wash. Thus began my seven year journey to provide pristine water for my family without relocating. You have your own horror stories, or you may be just starting your journey.

Properly motivated, I called everyone in the phone book with the exception of our friend mentioned previously. Three national chain representatives came out. They all did about the same thing. They drew test tubes of water from the faucet, swirled them around with their special chemistry sets and declared that our water was indeed bad. It had iron and manganese and several other things that made it smell and taste bad. They had pretty pictures of pretty people drinking glasses of pretty water. We bit. They all had about the same price and warranty. We had no idea which one to choose.  We went with national brand “X” because their salesman confidently offered his personal guarantee that he could clean up our water. We did not read the fine print which indicated that while the equipment was indeed under warranty, the provision of suitable water was not guaranteed. We learned more about the warranty in about 5 months.  We had spent about $3600, the confident salesman had moved on, and the water was just as bad as it always had been.  The system which was in place when we bought the house, a potassium permanganate filter system, had been removed when the national brand was installed. We heard all about why it was no good for cleaning our water and we were happy to see it go. We now had a new water softener and green sand filter. The water was better for a few months. But then it happened. I came home to an angry wife again with badly stained clothes from the wash. A call to brand “X” brought out the new salesman/technician. Another round of chemistry wizardry determined that our well had more iron than the present system could handle. For a mere $800 more, we now had an automatic drop chlorinator.  It deposited chlorine tablets right down to the bottom of the well where they stayed. He made a few more trips to increase the rate at which the expensive tablets were plunging into the deep, and our water inside the house was clear again. We celebrated our good fortune by purchasing another round of clothes.

A month later I woke for my usual morning shower and discovered that the bathroom faucet was full of air instead of water. A call to the local well driller and $650 later, I was able to get a shower. The pump was clogged with orange mud and pieces of chlorine tablets that had not dissolved. The motor, new when the house was purchased, needed replacing.  We raised the pump 20 feet in the well to get above the muck. This process stirred the well water so much that it never recovered. I was pumping water but it was orange tinted. You guessed it: the next load of clothes was ruined. You would think we would have learned by now. I placed another call to brand “X”, and the owner of the local franchise came out to analyze the situation. He tested the water and had a revelation:  our well was not like any other well he had ever seen. Isn't it nice to be unique? I had 6 mg/L iron, and it had simply overwhelmed all the equipment they had installed. Of course, the solution was only $2200 more. I was guaranteed that I would have iron free water into the house this time. They installed a 100 gallon galvanized tank with a 20 gallon plastic tank containing a 50% solution of liquid chlorine on a metered inline drip. A few weeks later the orange tint went away and we celebrated with another round of new clothes.

aAbout four months later the diaphragm on the chlorine meter pump failed. Imagine my surprise when I was told by brand “X” that there was a three month warranty because of the harsh chemicals it was subjected to. They were too busy to come out and fix it. Right away the water was orange again. This time we found out without having to do the laundry. Since I would like to have clean water, I called the manufacturer of the meter pump. The installation was simple, and for only $110, I was pumping chlorine again. The water never cleared up, though.

We resigned ourselves to buying bottled water and going to the laundry mat in town. There was still an uneasy feeling about taking a bath or getting into a shower that was spraying you with orange Kool-Aid. When fall rolled around, we embarked upon our annual trek to the state fair. I'm long past getting on the rides with the kids. I enjoy what used to bore me terribly; my parents once dragged me through the pavilions to see all the vendors hawking their wares. We came to the booth of the sparkling water with free samples. Pretty pictures of pretty people drinking pretty water made me want this at my house. The brand “X” dealer recognized me, and he was very courteous as he was surrounded with potential customers who were none the wiser.  He was very sympathetic that I was having a problem with his system and as soon as the fair was over, he would be at my house to fix the problem. He couldn’t discuss it just then, but he assured me that I was first on his list for the week following the fair.

That was the last I ever saw of him. Messages to his business went unanswered.

aI woke up one morning shortly after this and the house was freezing. I haven't mentioned that my house is heated and cooled with Florida heat pumps. I usually had to call the HVAC repairman at least four times a year to get the things working again. I figured this was it again. When he came out, he said that he couldn't get the heater going again because the well was not pumping enough water. I had noticed that I barely had enough water for a shower that morning. I guess I had drained the hot water heater in the attic. A call to the same local well driller revealed a shock! The pump that had been put on just over a year ago was out of warranty. He said it wouldn't have been warranted anyway because the well was dry and this burnt the motor up! The only thing to do was to drill another well. Before I agreed to this, I wanted to make another plea to the local water district. There were several other houses near ours which could benefit by the local municipal water company running a line out our way.  I would pay to have them run a water line to my house and get all these other residents tapped in, also. I imagined they would be glad to do this. It would only cost me $14,900 plus a $900 tap fee plus a monthly water usage bill…

A new well was drilled.  It is 300 feet deep, and we had the modern convenience of running water restored to our residence. Located on the opposite side of the house, I only had to run about 250 feet of pipe from the well to the house and add a new power meter. The back yard was trenched up pretty good but that is another story. We were told that the iron in the new well was not enough to worry about since the well was twice as deep and drilled through granite. The water was good, and for once we had plenty of it! We went back to drinking the water and washing clothes at home. Even with the huge expense of the new well we thought our fortunes had changed. With such pretty water we contemplated that American dream of owning a swimming pool. It would be great. We celebrated with a round of new clothes.

Our euphoria lasted about five months. You guessed correctly again - a whole load of my wife's clothes ruined with orange stains. She went back to the laundry mat with the clothes. It didn't take much longer for the water to start stinking. Back to the grocery store for bottled water. At least the bath water was only tinted, and we didn't have to run it for five minutes to get the sediment out before putting the plug in. This is when I took matters into my own hands. I had had enough of the expensive expert help. I started researching water treatment systems on the internet. Everyone was selling the same things that I had already bought, and I knew these devices were not effective. The only approach which seemed appealing which I had not tried was reverse osmosis. I quickly figured that I could buy a LOT of bottled water for the price of one of those. And because the yield was so low, we would not have adequate water for the heat pumps and the residence.  One man in Colorado told me that he had the solution to iron removal. All I had to do was build a sand pit filter system four feet high, four feet wide and a hundred feet long. Run the water through this and change the sand every year. I never got around to trying that.

During this time I decided to pull up the pump from my dry well. What did I have to lose? I wanted to see if it was good for anything - maybe a fountain for the pond. My son and I unhooked everything and pulled. My wife took the head end and went out across the yard. A three horsepower motor and pump with a 165-foot long pipe of water is pretty heavy, but we managed to wrestle it out of the hole. The whole assembly was covered in red wet slimy muck and so were we! Where did all the water come from since the well was supposaed to be dry? We washed the pump/motor off with the hose and detached the black roll pipe. Inside, the pipe was clogged with a hard reddish clay-like substance. In the center of the 1 1/4 inch pipe, there was an opening the diameter of a pencil. No wonder my well was declared dry. The pipe was so clogged that even a 3HP motor couldn't push water through it. I put the water hose into the pipe and banged on the clay; it dissolved into grit. That made me question whether the pump could be cleaned out the same way. Not knowing what was involved, I took it to Hughes Supply to see if they would repair and refurbish it. The guy was nice even though he laughed. He said a new pump would be cheaper. I took the pump home and worked on it for several days. In some areas, I had to chisel the hard stuff off the impellers. When I got it all cleaned up and put back together, my wife took it back to Hughes Supply to have it tested. To my wife's amazement, he told her it worked almost as good as a new one. She brought it back and we dropped it down the bore hole. The dry well pumps 35 gallons a minute now.

I switched the piping for the Florida heat pumps back over to the old well. The new well was used for the house and irrigation. I was still having the same trouble with the heat pumps failing, though. About nine months after cleaning the well pump, the HVAC guy told me that they were not getting enough water again. I guess I should have known that cleaning the pump would not last forever. The family had a reunion with the well pump/motor, and it was out of the hole again. I took the pump apart and cleaned it. Cleaning it was not nearly as difficult as the last time, but it was still rather caked up. The black plastic pipe was also quite clogged. This time I was a little smarter in putting the thing back down the hole. I had my brother-in-law make a stand to which he welded a boat winch. I attached a cable to the motor and lowered it into the hole. I also changed the 1 1/4 inch roll pipe to a two inch PVC pipe in twenty foot sections. With this setup I could put the pump in and take it out by myself. This is exactly what I had to do about every nine months in order to stay warm (or cool depending on the season). I had been advised on NUMEROUS occasions to switch to electric heat pumps. But I was stubborn. Besides the expense of switching, the water source is really economical to operate when things are going well. I also use the discharge water to keep my pond level up. It really helps in the summer when you can almost see the water disappearing as it is baked by the sun.

It was still a pain to have to pull the well pump so often. I continued my search on the internet. Surely there was a way to get all this iron out of the water in the quantities that I needed. I was also tired of lugging the gallons of water from the grocery store. My wife was definitely tired of taking the laundry out. I came across a web site in Australia from Biostat Engineering. There were pictures of dirty red pipe just like mine. There was also a picture of a pretty new well pump and motor but the caption said it was old and had been in the bore hole for a while. I was very skeptical, but I put in an enquiry anyway. I started corresponding via email with Don Atkinson, the owner. I explained my problem and how I had spent so much money. I was not in a mood to be taken by someone else with pretty pictures on a web site. He explained that the problems I was having were not due to too much iron in the water. He explained that the iron in the water is a mineral that bacteria thrive on. The slimy red muck is not iron like rust from a piece of metal left in the rain. It is comprised of dead bacteria and the insoluble iron precipitate with which they coat their cellular structure! The only way to get rid of it is to kill the bacterium that metabolizes the iron. Soluble iron is actually healthful, and well water is the perfect place to get it. Everyone else has water treatment systems that take the iron out after the water is above ground. No matter how many filters you put on they will all clog. For seven years we had proven that. 

After much dialog, Don offered to send me a BioShield unit just for the shipping charge. If I did not like it, I could send it back. If I kept it, we would settle up latter. Several weeks passed before it showed up. My wife just shook her head and said how I had wasted my money again. I installed it anyway. The next day I checked the water and it was the same as before. I received further instruction about wasting money. So I kept quiet about my water checks because the water from the kitchen sink actually got worse! I had to run the water for about ten minutes before it would become "clear". I could fill up a glass and just like always it would be cloudy within an hour and have an awful odor. A week went by and the flush time decreased. I put a glass of water on the counter and when I returned from work it was still clear. I poured this out and got a refill. It was clear! I decided to give it a taste test. It was great! My wife and children took a taste and that was the last of buying water by the gallon. A few days later came the real test. Do we dare do the laundry at home? The washing machine was filled with water and it was a little tinted. We emptied this out and filled it again. I think we had to do this twice more before we got a tub full of clear water. We took the plunge and did a load of clothes without staining anything. That was our last trip to the laundry mat.

aWe still had to fill the washing machine before putting any clothes in, though. Every now and then the water would run terribly muddy for a while on first use in the morning. Don explained that even though the water at the well head was clear, the pipes were not. Once the bacteria are eliminated, the natural erosive effect of water was removing the buildup from the pipes and casing resulting in sloughs of the reddish mud. These occurred almost every day for about two weeks after installing the BioShield. The time interval increased to once a week after two weeks then about once a month within three months. In the morning, I ran the water for three to four minutes to flush out any debris. As the time interval increased the flush time decreased. It was not long before this ritual came to an end. We were so happy with our tasteless, odorless water that a minimal flushing was not a bother. It has been a long time since we have had to flush the water. The last time we had to again flush the water through occurred when I forgot to refill the BioShield with the drinking water treatment chemical. A quick refill and life was good again. I now have a regular schedule to check it.
Although we had great confidence in our Australian water consultant, we decided to be certain that the chemical we were using was, indeed, safe to drink. Used properly in the BioShield it is very safe. If you have eaten any fresh fruit lately then you have probably eaten fruit sprayed with the same chemical to kill bacteria. NSF International has tested and certified the chemical, HaloSan, for disinfection and oxidation of water for potable applications. We now have the BioShield for sale in the United States. We have come a long way in our understanding of the real problem with our well water. The water we drink from our well is pristine; our guests don't complain about an odor when they wash their hands; the bath water is dirty AFTER you get out; the laundry is clean instead of stained; our heat pumps are reliable; and I have not pulled the well pump up in a very long time. You can have the same success with your well that we have had. Everyone deserves clean water.

 

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