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Thread: High Ammonia in Well Water

  1. #1
    Nisai
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    High Ammonia in Well Water

    I recently put in a new well and am getting very high ammonia levels (1.7 ppm). It seems the water is contaminated by the septic systems in the area. I am using the water for flow thru on the pond. At the moment I have 25 lbs of zeolite grabbing much of the ammonia before it goes to my shower. I put bags of the zeolite in the "just in case" box, right behind the RDF. That is where I add the well water. I really would like to have a better and more reliable system to remove the excess ammonia.

    Does anyone have any experience with removing ammonia from the source water? I understand there are resins that can be used. I currently have a resign filter removing tannins from the water and could add another one.

    I saw on aquatic ecosystems a zeolite filter which I could use, but I would have to remove the filter and wash it in salt water for 8 hours to clean it, and i'm not sure how often that would be. That is what I am doing with the bags of zeolite. I drop them in a garbage can of salt water to recharge them. I have two sets so I can always keep one in the filter.
    I would like to be able to flow about a 1,000 gallons a day.
    Here is the link to the one on aes. Aquatic Eco-Systems: Aquaculture Supplies - Carbon Basket Filters
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails High Ammonia in Well Water-fcb200h_cmyk.jpg  

  2. #2
    Nisai MikeS's Avatar
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    Katie have you talked to your well man? Is it possible you need more well casing to keep ground water out of your well. This is something I would look into first before spending on an elaborate filtration system.

  3. #3
    Daihonmei
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    good idea. The problem with ammonia water is that you will also have high NitrAte from the source water also-- which in effect, takes away the pirme benefit of water changes which is dilution. You might also have a very high bacteria count in that water. If Mike's idea doesnt work, then you will need a surface cesspool/pond so that naturally found nitrifiers can process your source water. Then you will still have nitrAte issues which can be managed in different ways ( plants/resins etc). Hope Mike's idea works for you. JR

  4. #4
    Oyagoi dizzyfish's Avatar
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    I'm not sure how well casing would keep ground water from entering your well. Infiltration is happening over a large area and not just around the casing. I have well that has sulfur water and also manganese.... it comes out smelling of strong sulfur, a bit cloudy, and then turns black after it is pumped into a pond. The fresh pumped water will kill tadpoles. I have pond I pump it into (cesspool per JR) and the water begins to fix itself in about 10 days or so. It goes from black to grey and then eventually clears, and life begins to return. I think it might be best to age it a month or so before using in other ponds. Well casing and the labor to put it in aren't exactly cheap either. Depending on the size, you could probably have a pond dug for less.

  5. #5
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by dizzyfish View Post
    I'm not sure how well casing would keep ground water from entering your well. Infiltration is happening over a large area and not just around the casing. I have well that has sulfur water and also manganese.... it comes out smelling of strong sulfur, a bit cloudy, and then turns black after it is pumped into a pond. The fresh pumped water will kill tadpoles. I have pond I pump it into (cesspool per JR) and the water begins to fix itself in about 10 days or so. It goes from black to grey and then eventually clears, and life begins to return. I think it might be best to age it a month or so before using in other ponds. Well casing and the labor to put it in aren't exactly cheap either. Depending on the size, you could probably have a pond dug for less.
    I was thinking that Mike also was suggesting a deeper well ( more casing?). I'm not an expert on this subject but wouldn't a deeper well have the potential to be purer/cleaner? JR

  6. #6
    Oyagoi dizzyfish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    I was thinking that Mike also was suggesting a deeper well ( more casing?). I'm not an expert on this subject but wouldn't a deeper well have the potential to be purer/cleaner? JR
    Well if you have the money to do experimental drilling you might find something better down deeper. You might also hit oil or natural gas. My well is 145' and I spent $5,000 on drilling and casing to hit a strong water supply. Dennis Brown told me his well in Arkansas is 300' deep. Of course the cost to pump increases with depth. I would check with other well owners in the area and see how deep their wells are. Sulfur water is pretty much the rule around here, but I don't know anyone that has really deep wells.

  7. #7
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by dizzyfish View Post
    Well if you have the money to do experimental drilling you might find something better down deeper. You might also hit oil or natural gas. My well is 145' and I spent $5,000 on drilling and casing to hit a strong water supply. Dennis Brown told me his well in Arkansas is 300' deep. Of course the cost to pump increases with depth. I would check with other well owners in the area and see how deep their wells are. Sulfur water is pretty much the rule around here, but I don't know anyone that has really deep wells.

    , yep, good advise. The local well guys should know the story. I thought I was deep at 135! JR

  8. #8
    Oyagoi dizzyfish's Avatar
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    There really aren't many water well drillers left around here. The guy that drilled my well does more drilling for drainage(dry wells) than water wells. Most people are on either city or county water supply these days. Wells usually test high in bacteria count so it is easier to hook on to the supplied water. Someone who does drilling for geothermal heating/cooling might be the one to contact in your area. It is still pretty much trial and error as far as I can tell.

  9. #9
    Nisai
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    I can go 250' and get into the aquifer but I don't really want to drill another well. I hand read that the aquaculture industry uses zeolite and other stuff to remove ammonia. I am looking to see if anyone knows how they do that.

  10. #10
    MCA
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    Honmei MCA's Avatar
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    But once a resin gets something out of the water column.....the resin has to be cleaned and the backwash water goes somewhere.

    I remember back we lived in Plano TX the water was full of lime. So everyone put in water softeners. But all that high salinity back wash was killing the bacteria colonies at the sewage treatment plants. There was talk of banning water softeners just before we left.

    So think about what happens to the ammonia laden water that will come from the resign backwash. Maybe it is OK for surface plants as a nitrogen source. I leave that to others to discuss.
    Koi keeping is not a belief system; it is applied science with a touch of artistry.

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