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Common Water Solutions

The following solutions should address the most common issues however feel free to use our "Ask An Expert" program for your inquiries and concerns.




Rotten Egg Smell

Sometimes well waters have dissolved hydrogen sulphide or methane gas.  


Manganese greensand filter up to 6 ppm H2S with pH not lower than 6.7.  Over 6 ppm H2S constant chlorination by filtration / dechlorination.


Open aeration followed by oxidizing-catalyst filter.


Note: The water should be tested at the source for H2S determination as the gas escapes rapidly.

Petroleum smell

Sometimes old underground fuel storage tanks or oil operations could impact groundwater. 


Locate and eliminate seepage/source and address.

Activated carbon will adsorb oil and gasoline (most hydrocarbons) on a short term basis.


Air-strip with (40:1 air/water ratio) followed by 2 ft3 carbon units in series.


Aromatic, fishy, earthy or woody smell

Surface waters could have a fresh taste or odour due to tannins or lignands in the water. 

Activated carbon type filter, or
Cartridge-activated carbon filter for drinking and cooking 

Sharp Metallic Smell

A sharp metallic taste in the water could mean that there are trace concentrations of iron. Iron in the water is not a health concern.


Water softener can remove 0.5 ppm or iron (Fe) for every grain/gal. of hardness up to 10 ppm at minimum pH of 6.7 (unaerated water).  Over 10 ppm Fe: chlorination with sufficient retention tank time for full oxidation followed by filtration and dechlorination. Pressure aeration plus filtration for up to 20 ppm Fe

Rust appearance

With higher than 0.3ppm iron in the water, staining of fixtures can occur. This is an aesthetic (visual) concern. 


Water softener can remove 0.5 ppm or iron (Fe) for every grain/gal. of hardness up to 10 ppm at minimum pH of 6.7 (unaerated water)

Over 10 ppm Fe: chlorination with sufficient retention tank time for full oxidation followed by filtration and dechlorination pressure aeration plus filtration for up to 20 ppm Fe.

Black staining


Manganese concentration of greater the 0.05 ppm can cause black staining of fixtures. This is an aesthetic (visual) concern.

In recent research (2013) Health Canada is exploring whether manganese should be a health based concern.



Manganese greensand or manganese zeolite-type catalyst-filter to limit of 6 ppm or 15 ppm, respectively (combined Fe and Mn), with pH not lower than 6.7 value.


Process used for iron removal usually will handle manganese


Manganese punicite* medium catalyst-filter with ultra-filtration-type membrane element.  For whole-house system, remove by absorption via special macroporous Type 1 anion exchange resin regenerated with NaC1. up to 3 ppm.


Above 3 ppm, constant chlorination with full retention time, followed by filtration and/or dechlorination.

Gelatinous slime

Well waters can often become infected with iron bacteria. While not a health concern, it can harbor pathogenic organisms - which are a health concern.


Shock the well to manage at the source and shock chlorinate the plumbing system in the home.

Destroy iron bacteria with a solution of hydrochloric acid, then constant chlorination, followed by activated carbon filtration or calcite filter.


Potassium permanganate chemical feed followed by MnZ/anthracite filter.

Murky Water


Turbidity can be caused by silt and clays in the water.  This is an aesthetic (visual) concern.


While this does not cause unsafe conditions in the water, high turbidity can cause an ultraviolet disinfection system to underperform or fail to do its intended task of keeping your inlet water disinfected.

For mud, clay, and sediment - use a calcite or pumicite filter, up to 50 ppm.  

For sand, grit, or clay - use a hydrocyclone, sand trap, and/or install new well screen

Bubbles / Cloudy Water


Bubbles are dissolved gasses in the water that can cause the water to appear cloudy.

This is an aesthetic (visual) concern, but have the water tested to ensure that the gas is not harmful.


A vented holding tank with the proper retention time would suffice.

In some jurisdictions the tank has to be vented to the outside of the building.

Salinity Taste

Well water near the ocean may have the groundwater mixed with sea water. The salty taste can make the water undesirable to drink.  


There is no commercial residential treatment for sodium over 1,800 ppm.  Deionize drinking water only with disposable mixed bed-anion/cation resin; or

Reverse osmosis for drinking and cooking water only; or

Home distillation system for drinking water.

Medicine Taste


Some water sources may have some detectable or perceivable tastes.  This may be an aesthetic concern.


Single faucet activated carbon filter or whole-house tank-type activated absorption filter. 

Reverse osmosis for drinking and cooking water only

Chemical Taste

 Sometimes pesticides may get into surface or groundwater sources. More importantly these would be mixed with nitrates and other harmful chemicals.


Activated carbon filter will absorb limited amount.

Must continue to monitor the product water closely

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