Turbidity & Sediment Belongs at the Beach – Not In Your Water!
If you draw your water from a well, lake, stream or pond there is a high possibility that you have experienced cloudiness in your water at one time or another. This is most liked due to your water having high levels of sediment and turbidity which is quite common in natural water sources that have not been filtered. Turbid water has more suspended solid matter, particles and sediment which can remain colloidal making water appear cloudy or foggy. While water turbidity is mostly considered a visual and aesthetic water concern, it should not be left untreated or it could lead to more troubling health and plumbing issues down the road.
What causes Turbidity?
Water turbidity consists of inorganic mineral matter which did not dissolve or organic matter which was collected as surface water flows through the environment. These solid matter particles come in different sizes and while some larger particles will settle to the bottom if the water is undisturbed, other smaller ones may settle very slowly or not at all. Instead they are suspended and scattered throughout the water absorbing light rays which is what gives the water a cloudy appearance.
Problems caused by turbidity
The main problem with water turbidity is that it is aesthetically unpleasing to the eye. Cloudy water just does not look clean and trustworthy, and while it may be perfectly safe and fine for basic home use, people just don’t want to have to wash or bathe in dirty looking water. Turbidity can also cause staining in sinks, fixtures and laundry, and inorganic turbidity can create physical wear and erosion on pipes and fittings. Microbial growth is another concern because suspended solids in water can protect and block out sterilizing UV rays from the sun or a UV light filter, thus providing protection and shelter for bacteria, viruses and microbes to thrive.
Whole house treatment options for turbidity
There are several types of systems that can be used for treating sediment and turbidity problems in the home. These whole house sediment removal systems fall under two primary category types which include micron cartridge filters and backwashing sediment filters.
- Micron cartridge filters are available in pleated and string wound designs and are available as 10” and 20” cartridges for Big Blue style whole house filters. These simple and compact sediment filters come in different micron ratings to treat particulate sizes ranging from 1 to 100 microns and are most effective for treating water with light turbidity. Pleated sediment filters are made of a durable and non-woven polyester media is resistant to both bacteria and chemical attack. The pleated design allows the cartridge to be flushed, cleaned and re-used. String Wound filters are manufactured from a durable polypropylene cord that is wound around a rigid polypropylene core. These types of cartridges are wound in a precise pattern around the core to provide greater surface area giving it high sediment-loading capacity and efficiency. Micron filter cartridges will typically last between 6 months to 2 years depending on level of turbidity.
- Backwashing sediment filter systems are heavy-duty 48” to 60” or larger, mineral tank style systems which uses an automatic control head valve that can be programmed to routinely backwash the system. Modern backwashing sediment filters use a natural mineral blend of zeolite to effectively remove suspended particles from water and are effective against high turbidity. Zeolite is an advanced media that utilize several mechanisms to treat turbidity including mechanical straining, sedimentation, flocculation, physical and electrostatic absorption and ion exchange. The adsorption properties of zeolite give it an advantage over traditional sediment filters which used a combination of sand, sediment and anthracite. Zeolite based backwashing filters can remove particulates down to 5 microns and regular backwashing will protect the media allowing it to last for 5-10 years making it extremely effective for whole house turbidity and sediment removal.