Potential Solutions for Dealing with High Iron Content in Filter Backwash Water of a Municipal Water Treatment System

Author(s): Mealins, E.; Tagert, M.

A small drinking water system in central Mississippi uses traditional processes to purify and filter water at their five different water treatment plants. The ground water that the system pumps from the well has a naturally high iron content. When the water goes through the treatment process, the iron flocculates and is eventually captured by large filters. The filters are backwashed regularly, and the backwash discharge is pumped to an onsite basin (an excavated retention pond) in a corner of the property. Currently, the basin is a relatively open system, and it occasionally overfills and spills off of the property. While not harmful to human health at current levels, the area is not aesthetically pleasing during the time the filters are backwashed and shortly thereafter. A design solution for this problem is needed that will effectively keep all of the backwash discharge on site in order to prevent future spillovers. The iron and water may be separated so that the iron can be excavated and used for different potential markets, while the water can be reused for other eco-friendly purposes such as watering the grass on the property. Several potential solution methods are being investigated and will be presented.

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