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Current IssueApril 16, 2014
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Ask The Expert Question 1, July 2008
07/01/2008 
 
Question:

We have 20 years experience in the water treatment industry. We have never seen chemistry like this, nor have our suppliers. What advice can you give on this problem? (Editors note: The submitter provided a complete laboratory analysis to our Tech Reviewers.)

Tim Womack, Water Doctor

 

Answer: 

The water analysis looks typical of contamination from acid mine drainage (AMD), which is characterized by very low pH (2.8), high iron (200 mg/L) and high sulfate (1,200 mg/L). I don't see any result for hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Was it determined or did the water have a very distinctive rotten egg smell? The high arsenic (1.9 mg/L to 1,900 ppb) is characteristic in certain mountainous areas and areas having geothermal activity in New Mexico. An Internet search on acid mine drainage will provide explanations on what causes the low pH, high iron and other extreme contamination issues, as well as treatment options.

If this was an attempt to find acceptable well water, it appears that communicating with a local university geologist might be beneficial for determining if another drilling location could be found or an attempt at drilling at a different depth would provide any better results.

Gary Hatch, Ph.D., Director, R&D, Pentair Filtration, Inc.

I agree with Gary.They should seek another water source. This water would be very expensive to treat and would be very toxic if the treatment failed. It would need back up to the back up. If this is their only water source, we could suggest a treatment (but it will take a small chemical plant to do so).

C. F. Chubb Michaud, C.E., CWS-VI Systematix, Inc.

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