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Archive for September, 2021

Water Filter Solutions: Tannins in Water

Posted by Rayne Water

Funky, tangy, even a bit sour? While that could describe an interesting craft beer, these aren’t the flavors anyone is hoping for in their drinking water. If you’re tasting something slightly foul, as well as noticing yellow tinting to your H20, you’re likely dealing with a particular variation of water contamination.

To put it simply, it’s likely that you have tannins in your home’s water.

Don’t fret, tannin contamination is a common and solvable problem. In this article, we will establish what tannins are, how to test for them, and what kind of filtration options are available to assure your water is clean, clear, and crisp. If you’re looking for a solution for your tannin problem, read on.

What Are Tannins?

Before we can seek a solution to your home’s water contamination issues, it’s important to understand what tannins are and where they come from.

Musty, earthy, and organic, tannins are naturally occurring decomposing materials—think peaty soils and decaying plant matter—that have been dissolved into water. 

To get a little more technical, tannins are derived from phenolic (AKA tannic) acids. These acids are found in trees, flowers, and fruits and wind up in the soil, then seep into groundwater through the decomposition process.

You’ve probably encountered tannins outside of your tap water when:

As much as you might admire tannins in their natural habitat or in a different sort of beverage, tannins in water are typically bad news for anyone looking to enjoy the simple pleasure of clear glass. 

What Tannins Do To Water

After getting familiar with tannins, you may be unsure what this kind of contamination is actually doing to your drinking water. You can think of tannins in your water the way you might think about a steeping teabag. As the tea steeps in the hot water, it becomes stronger and more flavorful. It works just the same for tannins.

Tannin contamination works on a sliding scale, from highly contaminated to barely noticeable levels of tannins in your water supply. Chances are, if you’re tasting tannins, you’re dealing with at least a moderate level of contamination.

Besides the aforementioned taste, the earliest signs of tannin contamination include:

While tannins may put a damper on your drinking water, they can cause a host of other problems throughout your household. Tannins can make everyday household chores more difficult than they should be.

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Health Effects

Natural and organic is good, right? Not all of nature is great for humans—poison ivy, volcanos, mosquitos—but while tannins aren’t inherently harmful to your health, there are possible risks associated with them.

There has been scientific research conducted relating to the possible negative health side-effects of tannins, including possible carcinogenic properties, but as of now, there’s no conclusive evidence.3  

Ultimately, the risks associated with tannin-contaminated water, as well as other factors make filtration solutions even more appealing. Finally, what’s best for your health is also the best-tasting solution.

Testing for Tannins

Most frequently, you can assume that your water is contaminated by tannins by the yellow water tint and peculiar taste. Few other water issues produce these effects, though it is possible to confuse tannin contamination with another type of contamination—whether from a different organic compound, heavy metals, or bacteria.

To be certain that you’re dealing with tannins in your water, follow these guidelines:

It may be superfluous to run subsequent tests after recognizing you have a contamination problem. Often the first step is to dive directly into tannin filter solutions. Though, as we’ve mentioned, tannin contamination can also mean bacterial contamination, so it is recommended that you test for this more serious form of contamination before proceeding to filtration.

It helps to know the exact problem you’re dealing with in order to find the best solution for better water.

Tannin Filtration Options

After establishing the precise contamination problems—whether strictly from tannins or a combination of water adulterants—the path to clean, delicious water leads directly to water filtration.

You’re most likely already familiar with filtration to some degree, perhaps from a pitcher-based water filter, or an attachable filter on your sink. These are considered point-of-use filtration systems, and while efficient for minor filtration needs, if you’re dealing with tannins in your drinking water, you’ll need a point-of-entry filtration option.

Point-of-entry filtration means the filter is attached to the source of the surface water supply, effectively filtering all the water within your home, as opposed to a single faucet. Point-of-entry filtration can vary in size and style but the most common options for a tannin filter system include:

While the circumstances and requirements of filtration are based on your specific needs, rest assured that there are several methods to guarantee clean water in your home. There’s no reason to let tannins spoil the experience of a seriously refreshing glass of water.

Experience Tannin-Free Water With Rayne Water

With all this information about tannins, you might feel excited at the prospect of finally enjoying your drinking water the way it’s supposed to be enjoyed. If you’re ready to start finding the filtration solutions for your future, look no further than Rayne Water.

At Rayne Water, we’ve worked for years to provide unparalleled filtration options for residential and commercial use. Whether you’re dealing with tannin contamination in your home or office or sulfur smell in water, we have the technical expertise, dedicated staff, and filtration systems to fit all your needs.

Visit Rayne Water today and find out about the benefits of truly pure water.

 

Sources: 

  1. Springer. Bacterial contamination and health risks of drinking water from the municipal non-government managed water treatment plants. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10661-018-7054-z
  2. Mayo Clinic. Water: how much should you drink every day. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256#:~:text=The%20U.S.%20National%20Academies%20of,fluids%20a%20day%20for%20women 
  3. Nation Library of Medicine. Tannins and human health: a review. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9759559/ 
  4. Water System Council. Tannins and groundwater. https://www.watersystemscouncil.org/download/wellcare_information_sheets/potential_groundwater_contaminant_information_sheets/96111501_Tannins.pdf 

 

How To Get Rid of Sulfur Smell in Water

Posted by Rayne Water

 

*Reviewed by Ken Christopher, Senior Vice President at Rayne Dealership Corporation

That “rotten egg” odor coming from your tap water can really put a damper on, well, everything—from pasta nights to morning showers.

Luckily, while the sulfur smell in well water is an unpleasant odor, it is treatable. In most cases, the smell comes from hydrogen sulfide, a sulfur compound gas made from sulfur bacteria. In this guide, we’ll outline how to diagnose your foul water smell, improve water quality, and rid your house of contamination.

Step #1: Diagnose the Problem

Before you get your tool belt out from the far corner of the coat closet, you must first find out where the stench is coming from. In general, there are two ways to diagnose and figure out how to get rid of the sulfur smell in water: 

The solution you choose will depend largely on where the problem is occurring and how much mg/L of hydrogen sulfide is in the sulfur water. While the smell is often an indicator of the presence of hydrogen sulfide, you can also test levels by:

Alternatively, the issue could also be due to iron bacteria—although it’s less common. This type of bacteria appears on surface waters and deposits “rusty” bacterial cells that can stick to plumbing.

Step #2 Identify if the Smell is Coming From the Water Heater

The foul odor may be emanating from your hot water heater since many types of bacteria thrive in warmer temperatures. Usually, an anode rod works within the water tank to eliminate impurities. However, over time it may become corroded and stop working, leading to sulfur-like smells.

As such, you’ll want to sanitize and inspect the heater to prevent further contamination if you notice a sulfur-like smell coming from the tank.

How to Sanitize the Tank

Sulfur-reducing bacteria thrive in hot water environments like a hot water heater. When these types of bacteria consume sulfur, they can produce high levels of hydrogen sulfide, producing a rotten egg smell. 

Once these bacteria are established in the tank, you’ll have to sanitize the tank to remove them:

Quick Tip: Servicing your hot water heater on your own is not recommended as it may be dangerous, violate the warranty, or make the problem worse.

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How to Inspect an Anode Rod for Corrosion

To stave off corrosion, most hot water tanks are equipped with at least one magnesium anode rod on the inside. This rod, aptly known as the “sacrificial anode,” pulls corrosive ion deposits out of the water, keeping them away from the inner surface of the tank. 

However, the rod is not impervious to damage and eventually will corrode beyond the point of functionality, down to a skinny wire. In this corroded state, the rod’s interactions with the sulfates in the water form hydrogen sulfide gas, causing an unpleasant sulfur odor

Whether or not this is a result of an exhausted anode rod, is something you’ll have to inspect for yourself or with the help of a professional by following these steps:

Step #3: Treat the Water Source

If you’ve inspected your hot water tank with no success or both your cold and hot water have that rotten egg smell, then it’s time to look into water treatment at the source: the well. The sulfur smell in well water can be eradicated with numerous treatment methods.

Quick Tip: Sulfur bacteria is a stubborn nuisance to deep water containers. In preparation for treatment of the contaminated water, it is recommended that you give the inside of your well a thorough scrubbing with a well-cleaning kit. 

Option #1: Chlorination or Peroxide Shock

Implementing a chlorination or peroxide shock will disinfect the tank by killing the bacteria present. Both chlorine and peroxide are good options. However, a peroxide treatment will more effectively stave off any unpleasant stenches. 

Additionally, when using chlorine, you’ll most likely need to regularly replenish the tank and consider installing an active carbon filter to remove any excess chlorine still in the well.

This temporary solution will last anywhere from one to two months. Although if it works, you’ll know that hydrogen sulfide is the culprit. 

Option #2: Continuous Chlorination and Water Filtration

Chlorine can remove medium to high levels (amounts higher than 6 mg/L) of hydrogen sulfide through oxidation. Using a feed pump, chlorine can be added to your water continuously to rid it of hydrogen sulfide. 

Rather than a one-time shock, the feed-pump method keeps your well continuously sanitized. 

Through oxidation, the chlorine converts (soluble) hydrogen sulfite into (insoluble) sulfur, at which point a water filter can easily sieve it out of the stream before getting into your pipes and home. 

Bonus Points: Chlorine also keeps your water supply equipment nice and clean.

Option #3: Potassium Permanganate

Similar to chlorination, potassium permanganate cleans the tank by making contaminants insoluble. These include:

The solids are then easily sifted out before ever having the chance to stink up your home.

When implementing potassium permanganate, make sure you replenish the well continuously and perform routine cleaning to backwash the filtration system.

Warning: Potassium permanganate is a poisonous compound and a major skin irritant. When using it, follow the handling instructions carefully and store it in a safe place where little ones and pets can’t get to it.

Option #4: Aeration

Sometimes your water system just needs a little bit of fresh air—if the amount of sulfur in your water is 2 mg/L or lower, then aeration could be the best option for you. 

Sulfur bacteria thrive in oxygen-deprived environments. The aeration method uses an aerator to inject oxygen into your water supply, forcefully displacing hydrogen sulfide gas and creating an oxygen-rich environment that is less hospitable to sulfur bacteria. 

Quick Tip: When nearby the aeration site, you’ll still be able to smell a sulfur stench. However, ventilation may help reduce the problem.

Option #5: Ion exchange

Using a charged resin, ion exchange is a way of pulling hydrogen sulfide out of the water in exchange for chloride. A salt solution replenishes the resin’s charge after depletion. While the process of an ion exchange water filter  is similar to a water softener, it’s not the same.

Quick Tip: Not all resin can withstand sulfides, so it’s important to consult a professional to choose the right option for you. 

Option #6: Ozone

A relatively effective, efficient, and safe choice for oxidizing hydrogen sulfide is ozone. No additional chemicals or filtration is required. 

Instead, ozone is generated in a container and injected into the water source. The oxidizing effects of the ozone turn hydrogen sulfide into filterable, insoluble sulfur while killing:

Option #7: Activated Carbon Filters

Often used in conjunction with one of the other water filtration methods and solutions mentioned, carbon filters are often installed under sinks to treat drinking and cooking water that has small amounts of particles that need to be removed—say, less than 1 mg/L.

The activated carbon adsorbs the hydrogen sulfide after it’s insoluble. On its own, this is an economical choice for people dealing with small amounts of hydrogen sulfide.2 

Quick Tip: This method requires routine replacements of carbon filters, which have varied and unpredictable lifespans. 

Step #4: Determine if Your Water is Safe to Drink

The smell and taste of hydrogen sulfide-affected water can be so offensive that many people consider it undrinkable. While the odor might make you think it’s poisonous or toxic, it’s not. 

While hydrogen sulfide is lethal in large, concentrated amounts, there is no concern with regard to the amount found in water systems.  

Furthermore, the EPA categorizes water contaminated by hydrogen sulfide as a secondary, or merely aesthetic, concern. For reference, the EPA has two standards for water, primary and secondary:

Get Back Into the Flow of Things with Rayne Water

Foul-smelling water can disrupt the natural flow of things within your household, but with careful inspection and precision, your water can smell rain-fresh in no time.

If you want to keep your water clean, recruit the experts at Rayne Water.

We offer groundwater and well inspections, so you can stop pinching your nose and start enjoying your life. Wondering why your tap water is yellow or brown? There might be tannins in your water. From sulfur to limescale, Rayne Water is your solution.

Sources: 

  1. Kloeckner Metals Corporation. Aluminum Oxidation: Is Aluminum Corrosion-resistant? https://www.kloecknermetals.com/blog/aluminum-oxidation-is-aluminum-corrosion-resistant/
  2. Wellowner.org. Hydrogen Sulfide.https://wellowner.org/resources/water-quality/contaminants/hydrogen-sulfide/
  3. United States Environmental Protection Agency. Secondary Drinking Water Standards: Guidance for Nuisance Chemicals. https://www.epa.gov/sdwa/secondary-drinking-water-standards-guidance-nuisance-chemicals

Expert Reviewer – Ken Christopher