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Water treatment equipment disinfection procedures & warnings: for water filters, activated charcoal systems, water softners and sulphur removal systems.
We repeat important well disinfection notes about adjusting the pH of well water & the pH of well disinfectant solution to assure adequate disinfection, & we repeat important safety warnings about handling chlorine or adding chlorine to water containing hydrogen sulfide H2S.
Page top sketch illustrating both deep and shallow water well construction and depths is provided courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates.
Special Well Chlorination Procedure for Water Filters, Water Softeners, and Water Heaters
I would like to know when I chlorinate my well should I bypass the water softener and any filter in the line.
Also why does it say to turn on just the cold water? - Jerry Highsmith
We recommend these added water filter, water softener, and hot water heater details that may be helpful when shocking or chlorinating a well.
Water filters & activated charcoal water treatment equipment bypass during well disinfection
Take out the water filter cartridge then close up the canister, but do not put it on bypass. Let the chlorinated water run through the canister to sterilize and clean it, then install a new filter after all chlorine-smelling water has been flushed from the system.
Watch out: if you fail to bypass activated charcoal type water treatment equipment you may have difficulty removing the chlorine or other disinfectant and its odors from the building water supply. And if the charcoal filter system has itself been exposed to contaminated water you will most likely need to replace the filter or media with new, fresh, sanitary material.
Water softener bypass during well shocking
Bypass the water softener for the same reason we explain below about water heaters, and with the same exception as below.
Water heater bypass during well disinfection
Bypass the water heater when chlorinating the well for this reason: if you put chlorine-treated water inside the water heater, because incoming water in the water heater tank keeps mixing with what's already in the tank, it is difficult to flush all of the chlorinated water back out of the water tank without running a very large volume of water through the system.
Watch out: Also heating water that contains a high level of chlorine might produce potentially dangerous chlorine gas coming out of a hot water faucet.
If your water heater piping does not make it easy to bypass the actual water heater while running chlorinated water through both cold and hot water piping, then you might want to just run cold water in the building.
When flushing chlorinated water out of a well, it's fine to run that water through both hot and cold water piping and fixtures if you can bypass your water heater tank itself. That helps sanitize all of the building piping. But if you cannot bypass your water heater, you can have trouble getting all of the chlorinated water out of the water heater tank unless you first run cold water until there is no chlorine or bleach odor, then stop and drain any chlorinated water from the water heater tank.
Exception - When to Chlorinate a Water Softener or Water Heater
You might want to run chlorinated water through a water heater tank or water softener tank if you suspect that those devices have been contaminated, such as by bacteria during area flooding, or in the case of a water heater, by bacteria that can form inside of a hot water tank. In that case, however, it may be easiest to simply drain the heater or softener tank completely, manually, after it has been treated (chlorinated) rather than trying to flush it out by running through the many times its actual water volume that would otherwise be required.
Watch out: be sure your water heater has been turned OFF and has cooled down to at least room temperature before trying to run chlorine through it. Heating water that contains a high level of chlorine might produce potentially dangerous chlorine gas coming out of a hot water faucet. More information is
at CHLORINE SAFETY WARNINGS.
It won't hurt the water heater or water softener equipment itself for a dilute amount of chlorine in water to remain inside it, (after all this equipment is used in some homes where a chlorine injection system constantly places a small amount of chlorine into the building water supply).
Watch out: But leaving too much chlorine in any water system can be dangerous: drinking concentrated chlorinated water could be sickening or even fatal, and less seriously, doing laundry with chlorinated water may bleach clothing by accident.
Watch out: In addition, for difficult well or equipment sterilization cases such as after area flooding or where there is a persistent bacteria source, pH adjustment of the disinfection solution may be necessary for the disinfectant to be effective,
Watch out: for hydrogen sulfide: if the water source contains notable levels of sulphur (rotten egg smell or hydrogen sulfide (H2S)) there are extra safety precautions needed. Details are at WELL DISINFECTION after a FLOOD
Well & Equipment Cleaning & Well Disinfection Procedures for Difficult Contamination Cases
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 ATSDR Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry, Toxic Substances Portal: Chlorine Toxicity, [PDF] November 2010, retrieved 8/27/2013, original source: www.atsdr.cdc.gov
[2a]Thanks to reader Jerry Highsmith for discussing well shocking procedures where a water filter or water softener are installed - August 2010
 "Bacteria in Drinking Water" - "Chlorine," Karen Mancl, water quality specialist, Agricultural Engineering, Ohio State University Extension. Mancl explains factors affecting the effectiveness of chlorine in water as a means to destroy bacteria and other microorganisms. OSU reports as follows:
Chlorine kills bacteria, including disease-causing organisms and the nuisance organism, iron bacteria. However, low levels of chlorine, normally used to disinfect water, are not an effective treatment for giardia cysts. A chlorine level of over 10 mg/1 must be maintained for at least 30 minutes to kill giardia cysts. -- http://ohioline.osu.edu/b795/index.html is the front page of this bulletin.
[5a] "Chemical Cleaning, Disinfection and Decontamination of Water Well" John Schnieders. Johnson Screens Inc. St. Paul, MN
[5b] Water Well Management Level 2 Training Module. Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration of Agriculture
and Agri-Food Canada, Alberta Environment, Alberta Water Well Drilling Association and Alberta Agriculture,
Food and Rural Development
 Water Wells that last for Generations. Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development; Alberta Environment; Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
 Water Well Management Level 2 Training Module. Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Alberta Environment, Alberta Water Well Drilling Association and Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development
 Chemical Cleaning, Disinfection and Decontamination of Water Wells. John Schnieders. Published by Johnson Screens Inc. St. Paul, MN
Ohio State University article on the concentration of chlorine necessary to act as an effective disinfectant, and the effects of the water's pH and temperature: See http://ohioline.osu.edu/b795/b795_7.html for details.
Water Quality Association
P.O. Box 606
4151 Naperville Road
Lisle, IL 60532
National Sanitation Foundation
P.O. Box 130140
789 N Dixboro Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48113-0140
(734) 769-8010, (800) NSF-MARK
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(to visit in person)
Office of Water Resource Center
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Ariel Rios Building
Washington, DC 20460
Phone: (202) 260-7786, email: email@example.com
The Safe Drinking Water Hotline
The hotline operates from 9:00 AM to
5:30 PM (EST)
The hotline can be accessed
on the Internet at
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The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones
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Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Crystal Clear Supply provides portable ceramic water filter purifiers and portable reverse osmosis water treatment equipment - see http://www.crystalclearsupply.com/category_s/7.htm
Handbook of Disinfectants and Antiseptics, Joseph M. Ascenzi (Editor), CRC, 1995, ISBN-10: 0824795245 ISBN-13: 978-0824795245 "The evaluation of chemical germicides predates the golden age of microbiology..." -
This well-focused, up-to-date reference details the current medical uses of antiseptics and disinfectants -- particularly in the control of hospital-acquired infections -- presenting methods for evaluating products to obtain regulatory approval and examining chemical, physical, and microbiological properties as well as the toxicology of the most widely used commercial chemicals.
Potable Aqua® emergency drinking water germicidal tablets are produced by the Wisconsin Pharmacal Co., Jackson WI 53037. 800-558-6614 pharmacalway.com
Principles and Practice of Disinfection, Preservation and Sterilization (Hardcover)
by A. D. Russell (Editor), W. B. Hugo (Editor), G. A. J. Ayliffe (Editor), Blackwell Science, 2004. ISBN-10: 1405101997, ISBN-13: 978-1405101998.
"This superb book is the best of its kind available and one that will undoubtedly be useful, if not essential, to workers in a variety of industries. Thirty-one distinguished specialists deal comprehensively with the subject matter indicated by the title ... The book is produced with care, is very readable with useful selected references at the end of each chapter and an excellent index. It is an essential source book for everyone interested in this field. For pharmacy undergraduates, it will complement the excellent text on pharmaceutical microbiology by two of the present editors."
The Pharmaceutical Journal: "This is an excellent book. It deals comprehensively and authoritatively with its subject with contributions from 31 distinguished specialists. There is a great deal to interest all those involved in hospital infection ... This book is exceptionally well laid out. There are well chosen references for each chapter and an excellent index. It is highly recommended." The Journal of Hospital Infection.: "The editors and authors must be congratulated for this excellent treatise on nonantibiotic antimicrobial measures in hospitals and industry ... The publication is highly recommended to hospital and research personnel, especially to clinical microbiologists, infection-control and environmental-safety specialists, pharmacists, and dieticians."
New England Journal of Medicine: City Hospital, Birmingham, UK. Covers the many methods of the elimination or prevention of microbial growth. Provides an historical overview, descriptions of the types of antimicrobial agents, factors affecting efficacy, evaluation methods, and types of resistance. Features sterilization methods, and more. Previous edition: c1999. DNLM: Sterilization--methods.
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