Primarily, acidic water occurs naturally; when rain falls, the water is soft and slightly acidic; however, when rainwater absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide and other airborne pollutants emitted from mining spoils and decomposition of plant materials, it becomes acidic. Typically, water with a PH level of 6.5 and below is acidic, while water with a PH level above 7.5 is considered alkaline.
It is crucial to mention that acidic water is very corrosive; as such, it can cause detrimental damages to your plumbing and fixtures. And as a result, you could incur substantial repair costs.
Worse still, acidic water also percolates heavy metals from eroding pipes, exposing your water to harmful contaminants. Acidic water is a severe water quality challenge across the world. Here we shall discuss ways of fixing acidic well water. So, How to fix acidic well water, here are several methods you can use.
Use of calcite
The most common way of fixing acidic water is by use of a whole-house acid neutralizer. Majority of acid neutralizers typically use calcite to raise the pH of the acidic well water before it gets into your household plumbing and causes havoc on your pipes and fixtures
Generally, calcite is a natural mineral rock that’s rich in calcium carbonate and very high in alkalinity. To neutralize acidic well water, install neutralizing tanks full of calcite at the entry of your water supply. And when acidic well water enters the tank, it gets into contact with pH-adjusting media. You’ll remember that water is a universal solvent; as such, when it gets in contact with the calcite media, it will begin to dissolve it. Thus, this will result in the introduction of calcium and alkalinity to the water, thereby raising pH level and neutralizing the acidity.
This neutralizer is not only inexpensive but also is self-limiting. What this means is that calcite elevates the acidic water to neutral and form the anti-corrosive status, and it doesn’t run the risk of overcorrection.
It is essential to note that calcite also has fundamental limitations, nonetheless. Its effectiveness is heavily dependent on the amount of contact time the acidic water has with the media.
If the acidic water is run through the tank at a hasty pace, the pH adjustment will be minimal too. Similarly, due to its self-limiting properties, calcite can only effectively raise pH roughly one point.
Use of magnesium oxide method
Unlike calcite, which works well with the acidity of 6 PH level, magnesium oxide, on the other hand, can neutralize acidity level of roughly 5.5. Magnesium oxide corrects pH by neutralizing the free carbon dioxide in acidic water.
While a calcite and corosex combination can raise pH around a point and a half, unlike calcite, corosex can rapidly overcorrect if you add too much of its quantity, nonetheless.
The manufacturer’s recommendation is to create a hybrid combination of about 80-90% calcite and 10-20% magnesium oxide.
On the other hand, too much magnesium oxide can produce side effects, unfortunately. Just like milk of magnesia, excess magnesium oxide can produce a purging effect. For positive results use of corosex is highly recommended
Use of caustic soda and soda ash
Generally, acidic water with a low pH level of 5 and high 4 poses a unique challenge.
Notably, with extremely acidic well water, an acid neutralizer tank system with calcite or corosex is no longer a viable solution.
Such acidic water requires a chemical injection system to comfortably and effectively raise pH to the neutral zone.
Chemical injection systems use a chemical pH adjuster known as soda ash or caustic soda. Ideally, the systems use peristaltic pump technology to inject the water with a dissolved mixture of the soda ash before it gets into your home water supply and causes the undesirable effects of corrosion.
It is important to note that chemical injection systems demand high maintenance and dedicated attention. Essentially, if your water is super acidic, it is only prudent to protect your health and your home.
In summary, if your water’s pH is as low as four, caustic soda is the only suitable acid neutralizer. It contains an alkalinity level of 14 the highest actually, hence it is the only solution to neutralize the acidity out of so low a range.
How the acid neutralization works
The acid neutralizers expose acidic water to neutralizers media by using two different methods.
In a back-washing unit, the tank has a control valve and a mineral tank.
Normally, you would fill the mineral tank is about halfway up with the calcite and magnesium oxide. As the water gets through the tank, it filters down through the media and to a distributor container and then flows out of a riser tube and into your home water supply system.
Mainly, water will pass through the path of least resistance, so diagonal channels form in the media as water flows in the same direction.
What this means is that the same path of media gets exposed to the same acidic water each time you use the system; for this reason, the majority of the media in the tank may not make contact with the water.
Fortunately, the system’s control valve will occasionally initiate a backwash to redistribute the media to counteract this challenge.
So, during the system’s backwash, water gets into the tank in the opposite direction of flow to raise and evenly redistribute the media bed. After this process, water then exits the tank as wastewater, and your system is ready to process acidic water again.
It is important to note that every backwashing cycle will send roughly 30 to 40 gallons of wastewater.
During this method, the water flows down through the central distributing tube and flows through the bottom of the media bed and then flows up through the media before leaving the neutralizer and flowing out to the entrance of your household water supply.
You’ll note that up-flow neutralizers do not require backwashing because the media bed is never compacted, and therefore no sediment is eliminated.
Mainly, up-flow neutralizers have no automatic backwash control valve; for this reason, they’ll cost you less money in comparison to backwash neutralizers. As such, if your water is of excellent quality with no sediment or iron and the flow rate is continuous, then the up-flow neutralizer is a suitable method.
Overall, both the up-flow and backwash neutralizing methods are effective. However, the periodic backwash neutralizing method is much easier to maintain and tends to work better with common acidic well water treatment systems.
Additionally, the backwash neutralizing method not only neutralizes the water, but it also acts as a whole house sediment filter. Most importantly, calcite media gets cleaned during the automatic backwash to prevent rust particles and other contaminants from polluting or coating the media.