Turbidity Problems? Choosing a Water Filter For Sediment Removal

Filters that remove sediment from drinking water

You don't have to live with bad water. Learn which water filter is best for sediment.

If you get your water from a well and live in an area where groundwater contains a lot of sand or silt, for example near the coast, water turbidity can be a problem. Turbidity is common in areas with excessive sand and silt in the groundwater.

Let's explore the causes for water turbidity and how you can remove particulate matter from your homes water supply using various home water filter treatment systems.

What is Turbidity?

Turbidity is a measure of suspended solids that may be present in well water. Suspended solids are any materials that are larger than 2 microns found in the water column. Anything smaller than 2 microns is considered a dissolved solid as it is not visible to the naked eye. Most suspended solids are inorganic such as silt and sand, although bacteria and algae can contribute to solids concentrations.

Suspended solids can include anything drifting or floating in the water from sediment and silt to sand, plankton or algae. Organic material such as from decaying plants and animals can contribute. Even some chemical precipitates can become suspended solids. Total suspended solids affect water clarity. They are more of a nuisance than a health risk, but depending upon the materials, turbidity can affect the taste, appearance, and odor of your water supply.

Settleable” solids such as sand, gravel, fine clay or silt can sometimes be stirred up as aquifers refill after storms, or other natural or man made events, such as construction on a nearby property or an algae bloom. When these settleable solids move along the bottom of aquifers by a strong flow, it is known as “bedload transport” and can create turbidity. Turbidity measurements are often used as an indicator of overall water quality and are based on clarity and total suspended solids present.

Water Filter Options For Treating Water Turbidity

In most cases, turbidity is not a health risk and is easily treatable using water filtration. There are two types of water treatment systems available that can treat turbidity.

Point-of-Use Water Treatment

Point-of-use systems are single course water treatment systems like water filter pitchers or reverse osmosis systems that offer a separate water source, usually positioned in the kitchen near the sink. These systems treat water at a single source for cooking and consumption.

Point-of-entry systems treat your entire water supply and are positioned where your water enters your home's plumbing. All of the water throughout the house is treated at the source so cooking, cleaning and drinking water is all purified and available at any source in the home.

Whole House Water Treatment

Whole house water filtration is an affordable way to treat turbidity. A cartridge water filter system is low cost, easy to install, uses no electricity, and generates no waste water unlike some other options.

Cartridge filters can clog after some time and can cause a drop in water pressure. Fortunately, replacement is easy and some pleated cartridge systems offer rinse and reuse filters for larger particles that are easy to maintain.

Many cartridge systems will use two or more filters in series, each with smaller membranes to filter water in several stages. Cartridge water filters for sediment removal come in many different sizes and types, but in general are one of three types: Surface Filter Cartridges, Depth Filter Cartridges, and refillable Media Filter Cartridges.

Surface Filter Cartridges

Filtration using surface filter cartridges takes place on the surface of a filter membrane generally made of polypropylene, nylon and Teflon. The cartridge is pleated to increase surface area. Contaminants are trapped on the surface and eventually form a layer which aids in filtration. Surface filter cartridges can be washed off and re-used when water pressure drops. Filtration rating for pleated filters can be anywhere from 50 microns down to .04 micron absolute which is generally used in semiconductor or pharmaceutical water filtration.

Depth Filter Cartridges

Depth filter cartridges are often wound string, spun, or melt blown cartridges that trap multiple sized particles. Larger particles are trapped on the surface while smaller particles are trapped below the surface closer to the center core. Depth filters remove more sediment and hold more contaminants in general without losing water pressure like surface filters.

Refillable Cartridges

Another type of cartridge gaining in popularity is the refillable cartridge. This can be filled with various media like activated carbon, softener, calcite, nitrate resin or other media. Most often used with activated carbon it can significantly lower your costs when compared to replacement cartridges. When it's time, simply unscrew the top, pour out the spent carbon and refill.

Water turbidity is a treatable problem. With an affordable whole house water filter system, you can remove suspended solids and other contaminants. Systems are available that use multiple filtration stages to remove organic and inorganic matter from your water. At Skillings and Sons we've are experts at helping our Massachusetts and New Hampshire clients with all of their water treatment needs. If you're having issues with turbidity or other contaminants in your well water, give us a call and let us show you your treatment options!