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                               Iron Removal Beds

iron removal beds

More water softeners are used to remove iron from household water supplies than any other devices or systems. Many of these installations are successful and consistently remove both hardness and iron. At other installations, intermittent leakage of iron through the softener occurs, but the total water quality improvement is so great that the users are reasonably satisfied. In still other cases, softeners fail to do a satisfactory job, passing iron continuously or in “slugs”, or gradually losing capacity due to fouling of the softener bed. Thus, we have several degrees of success with softeners in iron removal.

Iron Removal Methods

Relatively high concentrations of inorganic iron, whether ferrous or ferric (dissolved or precipitated), may be removed with iron filters. They are similar in appearance and size to conventional water softeners but contain beds of media which have mild oxidizing power. As the iron-bearing water is passed through the bed, any soluble ferrous iron is converted to the insoluble ferric state and then filtered from the water. Any previously precipitated iron is removed by simple mechanical filtration.

Several different filter media may be used in these iron filters, including manganese greensand, Birm, MTM, multi-media, sand, and other synthetic materials. In most cases, the higher oxides of manganese produce the desired oxidizing action.

Periodic backwashing is necessary to remove the precipitated iron from the bed, and less frequently, regeneration may be necessary to restore the oxidizing power of the filter media. With most media, this is accomplished by passing a solution of potassium permanganate through the bed and then rinsing, a process mechanically similar to the regeneration of a water softener. Usually about four ounces of potassium permanganate is used for each cubic foot of filter media.

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