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Importance of Filtering Water

  1. Can a Water Softener Treat Iron?

    Our experts can help you determine the correct system, so please consult us before ordering.  The limiting factors in choosing the proper filtration media include the amount of dissolved oxygen, pH level, oxidation-reduction potential (ORP), water temperature, and carbon dioxide (CO2).  Let WECO help you find the proper system to best meet your needs.

    How much iron is too much in my water?

    Water sample analysis should always report the combination of all forms of iron present in the sample.  A high concentration of all forms of iron lead to an unacceptable characteristic in water that makes it unsuitable for drinking, washing dishes, bathing, and laundry.

    High levels of iron in your water – a total iron concentration of 0.3 PPM or higher -- can stain kitchen and bathroom fixtures, dishes, cookware, laundry, and masonry surfaces.

    Domestic uses of water allow iron concentrations of 0.1 parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per liter (mg/L); however, several industrial applications call for a total absence of iron concentration in water that is used for process work.


    So, can a water softener alone treat iron?

    Theoretically, if the water has sufficient levels of calcium and magnesium ions, yes; however, iron reduction through softening is an old and largely inefficient technique that involves using and wasting salt that finds its way into groundwater.  This is one reason why softeners are increasingly being banned from use.

    According to guidelines from the Water Quality Association, a water softener can remove iron from water with a minimum pH of 6.7 (unaerated water) with an efficiency of 0.5 PPM of iron (Fe) for every grain per gallon (GPG) of hardness, up to 10 ppm.  However, our WECO experts recommend that you do not use softeners for iron reduction.  The salt generated from softening makes its way into groundwater supplies, which becomes difficult for municipalities to treat in the wastewater.  By increasing efficiencies to reasonable levels and not using extremely wasteful designs, such as using a softener for iron reduction, we can reduce our reliance on water softeners and help wastewater treatment a more manageable process.

    The principle of ion exchange can be used to treat water containing high levels of dissolved iron (water clear when drawn) without softeners.  According to the ion exchange principle, calcium and magnesium ions can be exchanged for dissolved iron.

    A co-current regenerating cation exchange water softener can be utilized to treat dissolved iron concentrations of 1 ppm or lower. Treatment of dissolved iron concentrations of above 1 ppm should involve oxidizing technologies to maintain softener efficiency.

    To successfully remove dissolved iron utilizing ion exchange methods, use the following cardinal rules:

    1. Eliminate any contact with air.
    2. Regenerate the ion exchange softener vigorously and often before the actual softening capacity of the softener is exhausted.

    The following reaction governs the removal of iron and/or manganese are during softener regeneration [from E. Nordell, Water Treatment for Industry]:

    R 2 Fe + 2NaCI -----> 2RNa + FeCl2


    R 2 Mn + 2NaCI -----> 2RNa + MnCl2

    R = Cation Exchange Resin



    What is Iron Bacteria?

    Like many elements, iron can exist in a few chemical forms. Fe(II) and Fe(III) are two common states for iron: Fe(II), or water-soluble ferrous iron, and Fe(III), or ferric iron, which is insoluble in sea water.    As their name implies, iron bacteria are microorganisms that have developed specialized machinery to thrive off of ferric iron.  Iron bacteria are microorganisms that use the oxidation of ferrous iron to ferric iron to “fix” dissolved carbon dioxide into organic molecules that they use to stay alive.  Iron bacteria can thrive even at very low concentrations of dissolved iron.  Iron bacteria, which belong to genuses such as Crenothrix, Leptothrix, and Gallionella, only need a continuous supply of Fe(III) and oxygen to metabolize ferric iron into their cell structures, and to deposit gelatinous ferric hydroxide iron compounds.

    Iron bacteria growth results in the formation of a gelatinous sludge that can cause pipe encrustation and produce foul-tasting drinking water. Telltale signs of iron bacteria include the presence of a jelly-like mass and a surface that reflects an iridescent (rainbow) slick.  Iron bacteria is one of the most difficult forms of iron to remove and control.


    What is Colloidal Iron?


    Colloidal iron can be visually detected in a water sample, as can ferric iron and organic ally-bound iron.  However, unlike the others, colloidal iron stays in suspension, lending a red-pink, turbid hue to the water sample. Colloidal iron is very highly dispersed and has a very low specific gravity almost equal to that of water. The suspended particles of iron appear to be floating, and sometimes are bound to silica. The colloidal particles can have a slight negative charge. It may take a water sample containing colloidal iron 48 hours for the iron to begin accumulating at the bottom of the container. In municipal or industrial water treatment plants, colloidal iron is treated with the addition of aluminum sulfate (alum) or another coagulant.  The iron binds to the coagulant and partially precipitates out; it can be removed from the water through a granular medium filter system.


    How can excess iron be removed from my water?

    Many years ago, Birm was a go-to media for iron removal. Katalox Light (KL) are other media used for iron removal.  Every media has its pros and cons. KL media has a slightly higher backwash rate requirement than Birm, and tends to elevate the pH significantly on occasion. But, KL can handle far higher iron, manganese and H2S levels than Birm.  Birm is highly restrictive in its application and oxidant use.

    Please note that, like every other manganese dioxide ore based media, both KL and Birm have very definite limitations. Dissolved oxygen, pH, ORP, water temperature, carbon dioxide, and other factors all have to be taken into consideration in the iron removal process.  Even then, it can be hit or miss.

    KDF-85 filtration media is rated to treat iron and H2S (concentrations up to 5 ppm), but it is not a good choice, especially for treating higher levels of iron. KDF is rated for a higher effective flow rate than KL. However, KDF-85 is also considerably more expensive and the backwash rates simply make it a poor choice for iron reduction.

    A final method for iron removal is air injection.  The air injection method is a simple and reliable method of removing iron. Air is simply drawn in to the water every time the pump cycles. This air enters a tank which keeps a large air pocket that the water cascades through to further oxygenate the water. Excess air is purged out of the top of the tank. If air alone is not sufficient, a simple hydrogen peroxide injection system can be added later, if needed.  However, most of the time, air is adequate.



    1. “Iron Water.” Water Quality Association, Knowledge Base Administration,
    2. “Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers.” Terry Love Plumbing & Remodel DIY & Professional Forum,



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  2. Laboratory Water Testing

    Municipal water supplies are tested at the treatment facility to maintain the mandated water quality standards set by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, if you own or manage a private well, you should already know that there is no federal or state oversight of your water supply. If you buy or sell the property there may be a requirement to have the well tested. You are responsible for the quality of your well water. All testing, conditioning and filtration is your responsibility.

    How frequently should I test?

    EPA recommends you test your well water supply every year for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids and pH levels, especially if you have a new well, or have replaced or repaired pipes, pumps or the well casing.

    EPA | When to Test Water

    How do I collect a water sample?

    Testing laboratories supply their own sample containers and will ship you their sample collection kit once you purchase their service. Use the containers provided and carefully follow the instructions given for collecting, preserving and handling water samples. Samples for coliform bacteria testing must be collected using sterile containers and under sterile conditions. Some procedures require that water runs from an outside tap for several minutes before filling the sample containers. Laboratories may sometimes send a trained technician to collect the sample or to analyze the sample directly in your home. Ask if this service is available, since you may obtain better samples and more reliable test results.

    Sample Kits from National Testing Laboratories, Ltd.

    National Testing Lab Water Sample Kit

    Water Analysis Results

    Analysis from the lab will compare tested contaminant levels present in water against EPA Primary and Secondary Drinking Water Standards. Check if total concentrations of cations and anions balance. If they do not balance, there are substances dissolved in water that havent been analysed.

    If total dissolved solids (TDS) concentration is higher than anion or cation concentration, water sample contains dissolved substances not included in the report.

    Sample Water Analysis


    1. (2005). Home Water Testing. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 Apr. 2018].
    2. "WaterCheck™ Lite." Watercheck. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2018.
    3. Water Quality Association ANAN Kowledgebase Administration. Web. 15 Apr. 2018.                                                                                                                                                                                                        

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  3. Benefits of Alkaline Water

    If you’re health-conscious you’ve heard about the benefits of drinking alkaline water.  Independent research is beginning to verify a link between drinking alkaline water and health benefits. At Montana State University, Dr. Dan Heil discovered that drinking alkaline water is beneficial to our health. Dr. Heil conducted an experiment comparing blood characteristics of people who drank alkaline water versus a group that consumed non-alkaline water. The test group that consumed alkaline drinking water had measurable increases in urine and blood pH during the second and third week of the experiment. Dr. Heil also found that the alkaline test group had higher levels of hydration. These positive changes reversed after the group started drinking non-alkaline water during the fourth week. The health benefits were observed only when alkaline water was consumed regularly. Our bodies try to maintain a neutral pH because it makes biochemical reactions run smoothly. However, our diet and certain diseases can tilt the pH balance to the acidic range. It was reported in the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis (2012), that alkaline water helped reverse ultraviolet radiation damage to the skin. It also improved the immune response and even made controlling of diabetes easier. The benefits of drinking alkaline water continue to be confirmed by scientific experiments. The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2016) reported that drinking alkaline water after hard work or exercise rehydrated the blood better than regular water. The test measured blood viscosity as a way of measuring rehydration. Drinking alkaline water improved recovery and rehydration significantly better than non-alkaline water.

    How does alkaline water improve health?

    The human body functions properly with a neutral blood pH.  Finely-tuned biochemical reactions are pH-dependent. pH regulation is a critical, self-regulating mechanism our bodies work at every second of every day. For example, we expel carbon dioxide to reduce the acidification of our blood. Alkaline water benefits out body by neutralizing acids that are linked to premature aging, acne troubles and skin damage due to exposure to the sun. Alkaline water appears to reduce harmful free radicals and inhibit the aging process. Many people claim they have better skin tone and a more-healthy look to their face.  Drinking alkaline water appears to aid in the break-down certain fat cells, assisting with weight loss. Although more research is needed, tests seem to show the anti-oxidant properties of alkaline water may even decrease the chances of certain cancers. Japanese researchers, in the journal Trends in Food Science & Technology (2012), believe that alkaline water reverses the negative “reactive oxygen species” associated with cancerous cells.  Other tests indicate alkaline water helps in maintaining natural lubricants needed to keep muscles and joints working smoothly.


    How to make alkaline water

    Making alkaline drinking water is easy with WECO reverse osmosis water filtration systems. WECO alkaline reverse osmosis systems include a special acid-neutralizing cartridge will provide a consistent, reliable source of purified, healthy alkaline drinking water for you home, business or anywhere refreshing alkaline water is desired.



    The WECO HYDRA-75ALK Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filtration System with pH Neutralizer Cartridge removes a variety of water contaminants including rust, sediment and sand along with taste and odor problems caused by chlorine disinfectants. Organic chemicals like solvents, gasoline derivatives and carcinogenic disinfection byproducts are adsorbed by the activated carbon solid block cartridge. The reverse osmosis filter strips out heavy metals including cadmium, lead and copper along with nitrate and fluoride. The reverse osmosis process lowers TDS and slightly lowers the pH. The pH neutralizer cartridge automatically raises the pH and adds calcium to the purified water. A final activated carbon polishing filter ensures the water is clean, clear and refreshing. The filtration system comes complete with pure water dispensing faucet and an under-counter water storage tank.


    If you have a well, are concerned about parasites and bacteria contamination or want the most complete under-counter RO water purification system, the WECO VGRO-75ALK High Efficiency Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filtration System with pH Neutralizer Filter is right for you! This RO system removes up to 99% of water contamination. The VGRO-75ALK removes particulates like grit, mineral oxides, and insect fragments along with chlorine disinfectants. A second 0.5-micron Pentek® CBC-10 carbon block filter further removes chloramine, bad tastes and odors, pesticides and carcinogenic impurities. The reverse osmosis system removes salts, heavy metals, nitrate, fluoride and lead. The pH neutralizer cartridge automatically raises the pH and adds calcium to the purified water. A granular activated polishing post-filter ensures great-tasting water. The last stage is ultraviolet (UV) disinfection with a Polaris Scientific UVA-1C disinfector. The UV light kills and inactivates bacteria, parasites, algae and other microbial contamination. The filtration system comes complete with pure water dispensing faucet and an under-counter water storage tank.


    The WECO TINY-150ALK Compact Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System with pH Neutralizer Filter is designed to fit into tight spaces such as under the sink, in RVs, campers and other spaces that won’t accommodate a full-size water purification system. This four-stage water filtration systems uses the same high-efficiency water purification technology as the WECO HYDRA-75ALK, but in a compact configuration. The 30-micron polypropylene pre-filter removes sediment, rust particles, sand and other microscopic debris that can contaminate the water supply. The 5-micron solid-block activated carbon block cartridge eliminates chlorine, chloramine, bad tastes and odors, chemicals and carcinogenic disinfection byproducts. The encapsulated reverse osmosis filter uses an ultra-efficient membrane with a 1:1 ratio of waste to pure water production. The membrane removes metals like cadmium, lead, zinc and copper. Nitrate, sodium and fluoride are stripped out, reducing the TDS and improving the water quality. The GAC post filter scavenges out gasses and tastes for great-tasting water.


    For more information about WECO filtration systems or if you would like to discuss your water quality issues, please contact one of our Certified Water Specialists.

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  4. The Importance of Water Filtration in Your Home

    Just about everyone is talking about the quality of their drinking water. But what is “good” drinking water? We hear about contaminated water supplies, chemical spills, bad tastes and odors but don’t understand what it all means. Unless you’re a water expert, it can be hard to understand what defines water quality. Not to worry! We’ll break it down into an easy to understand guide that will make you a well-informed consumer of drinking water.

    Let’s start by defining your water source. If you have a well your water is being pumped from an individual well located on your property. There is no federal or state oversight of your water supply. If you buy or sell the property there may be a requirement to have the well tested. You are responsible for the quality of your well water. All testing, conditioning and filtration is your responsibility.

    Municipal water sources are under the oversight of federal and state regulations. The water supply is tested at the treatment facility to maintain the mandated water quality standards. As we’ve discussed in another article, the United States Environmental Protection Agency sets the acceptable levels of certain “primary contaminants” because they are a potential health concern and there is a strong chance that the contaminants will be found in the water supply at levels that will affect public health. The EPA delegates the responsibilities for maintaining these levels to the individual states. Your state can choose to adopt the EPA levels or enforce more stringent levels if they wish. The general categories of primary contaminants include:

    • Disinfectants (chlorine compounds)
    • Disinfectant Byproducts (carcinogenic compounds)
    • Inorganic chemicals (lead, copper, arsenic, etc.)
    • Radionuclides
    • Micro organisms

    There’s a secondary group of contaminants that cause aesthetic problems like mineral scale (hardness), tastes, odors, laundry staining and other annoyances. These are not regulated by the federal or local agencies but can cause many unpleasant water conditions for homeowners. If your water is regulated, you will receive a yearly Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) from your local water supplier. The report must be mailed by July 1st each year. The report will provide a general overview of the water quality delivered by your water system. The report will list the regulated contaminants that were detected in the water and the level at which they were found during the preceding calendar year. The Consumer Confidence Report is for treated water only. If you receive a CCR but are using a well, the report has no validity regarding your well water quality.


    Do I need to filter my water?

    We’ve learned that municipal water is regularly tested for specific health concerns and wells must be tested by the well owner.  Even if your water meets the federal and state regulations, it often contains substances and characteristics that cause unpleasant tastes, odors and undesirable side effects related to drinking, cooking, bathing and in the laundry. Nearly every water source can be improved with the right water filtration system. WECO water filtration engineers have designed an array of high-quality water filters ranging from small faucet filter to large industrial reverse osmosis systems. For residential applications we have a series of water filtration systems that are effective and efficient, meeting the needs of any water filtration need. Here are a few of the most popular WECO filters and how they can improve your water quality.

    WECO UXC-0948 High Efficiency Water Softener

    Hard water, high calcium & magnesium, is common with well and municipal water sources. Although hard water is not associated with health concerns, it causes numerous problems around the home.  Hard water requires you to use more soap and detergents for cleaning, laundry and dish washing. Calcium reacts with soap, causing a waxy build-up in the bath tub and shower. When hard water is heated, it produces white mineral deposits on glasses and dishes. Mineral scale also forms inside water heaters, reducing efficiency, increasing energy costs and causing early failure of the water tank. The WECO UXC-0948 water softener eliminates hardness problems throughout the entire home. Your skin and hair will be silky smooth. Dishes and glassware will be spot-free. Cleaning chores will be easier and you’ll use less soap and cleaners too.


    WECO VGRO-75UV Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filtration System with UV Disinfection

    The VGRO-75UV reverse osmosis filtration system is a state-of-the-art drinking water purification system. This compact filtration system uses the same water purification technologies used to purify water in nuclear submarines. The VGRO-75UV removes particles of grit, sand, fragments of insects and other solids that contaminate drinking water. Activated carbon filtration eliminates bad tastes and odors from chlorine, chloramine and natural organics that cause off-flavors. Even pesticides and solvents are removed! The reverse osmosis process removes nitrate, heavy metals and even mercury. The purified water passes through an ultraviolet disinfection unit that kills and inactivates bacteria, parasites, and other microbes that infiltrate well and municipal water systems. If you want the absolute best-tasting pure water in your home, the VGRO-75UV is for you!


    WECO CALC-0948 Backwashing Filter with Calcite for pH Neutralization

    Many wells suffer from acidic water. As groundwater passes through certain types of rock formations, it can become acidic. This causes the water to become very corrosive to metals. Acidic water will dissolve away the metals in faucets, releasing copper, lead, cadmium, and zinc into the water. It will also dissolve copper pipes, leading to blue stains in the sink, tub and toilet. This corrosive water will also reduce the lifespan of water heaters, dishwashers, and washing machines. The CALC-0948 backwashing filter neutralizes acidic water as it enters the home, protecting every sink, toilet, bathtub and appliance in the home. The natural calcite filter media eliminates water cloudiness, red iron stains, blue copper stains and stops acid water damage throughout the entire home.


     WECO A300E-0948 Backwashing Filter with A300E Ion-Exchange Resin for Nitrate Removal

    Nitrate contamination is a nationwide concern. Nitrate in drinking water poses a special risk to infants under six months of age. Nitrate prevents the infant's blood from carrying oxygen. Death can result if not treated promptly. Many adults also want to limit nitrate in their diet due to possible health effects associated with nitrate consumption. Removing nitrate from well and municipal water supplies is easy with a WECO A300E-0948 Backwashing Filter with A300E Ion-Exchange Resin. The automatic backwashing filter contains a special ion-exchange resin that selectively removes nitrate from your drinking water. This is a whole house filter that will provide every faucet throughout your home with nitrate-free water.


    WECO designs and manufactures a wide array of water filtration systems. We can specify a solution to your individual water purification needs. Please contact our technical service department to discuss your water purification needs.






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