Well Water help

I'm looking for help solving water problems. I live in Southern New Jersey and have a private well. The well is 60 feet deep with a 4 inch steel shaft.
Recently our neutralizer went bad (the company tha has been servicing it says it needs replacing). They suggested installing a salt based softener.
Our main water problems are acidity and iron. Secondarily hardness. I have been looking around for various salt free and chemical free solutions and really have not found much.
Along with our iron our well was tested positive for iron bacteria. The test was performed by a company selling water treatment equipment. And based on what I have been reading about iron bacteria we have symptons (red slime in our toilet tanks). But the water runs clear from the tap. But you can taste a slight iron taste.
I have read about shock chlorinating the well. And was ready to do it because it seamed like the only solution then I read things saying not to do it because it could actually make the problem worse! I really don't want to use chlorine anyway.
Raw water characteristices: pH 5 Alkalinity 40 ppm Chlorine 0 ppm Hardness 3 gpg iron 3ppm TDS 68 ppm nitrate 2ppm Nitride 0ppm copper 0 ppm mananese 0 ppm
I don't know a level of iron bacteria just that it is present.
As far as systems I have been considering here are the three that I have found which seem to fit my needs.
1) www.raindancewatersystems.com - iron-max plus system. Includes chemical injection to inject chlorine (to deal with iron bacteria) and potassium carbonate to adjust pH.
2) www.waterproblems.net - neutralizer + iron ox product. Would need to deal with iron bacteria seperatly. I saw mention of a chlorine pellet system that mounts on well.
3) www.waterdepotinc.com - neutralizer + chemical free iron removal system. Again I would need to deal with iron bacteria seperatly.
Does anyone have any experience with these systems. Or suggestions for others that may be options.
I kind of like option 1 because our old neutralizer had a tendency to fill with iron. And with the feed pump concept it seems that wouldn't be an issue.
I also wonder if leaving the well alone is better than chlorinating. Just chlorinate once the water is in the house to kill iron bacteria. Then remove iron from the water. Again if someone knows of a system that can deal with iron bacteria and doesn't need to use chlorine - I'd be much happier.
I also think that I should get some sort of carbon filter after the iron filter to then remove any chlorine that is in the water. Don't want to injest that!
Thanks for any help. Dave Sugar snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net
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Wait for Gary's answer. He seems to know his water stuff. Might take him a day or two to find your message.
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A neutralizer is a device that goes in the water system. Sort of like a softener. But is makes the water more neutral (in terms of acid). Neutral is a pH of 7. Acid has pH lower than 7 and alkaline has pH above 7.
In my case the water coming out of the ground has pH of 5 (acid). And the neutralizer (when it was working) bring the pH back to 7 so it doesn't corrode the pipes and such.
Hope the explanation is clear.
Dave Sugar snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net
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A neutralizer is a device that goes in the water system. Sort of like a softener. But is makes the water more neutral (in terms of acid). Neutral is a pH of 7. Acid has pH lower than 7 and alkaline has pH above 7.
In my case the water coming out of the ground has pH of 5 (acid). And the neutralizer (when it was working) bring the pH back to 7 so it doesn't corrode the pipes and such.
Hope the explanation is clear.
Dave Sugar snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net
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They didn't offer to replace the mineral or repair the control valve? If not why not, it isn't hard to do if you know how. And it doesn't cost much for the minerals. But a softener doesn't buffer acidity so a softener can't replace yours. Although there is one brand that uses zeolite which will raise pH some but near as much as you need.

The salt free stuff usually doesn't work anyway. There is no chemical free acid neutralizers or softeners. The things that are advertised as salt free are anti scale and descaling devices, not softeners.

Has the IRB actually caused your equipment any problems?

Chlorinating/shocking the well can cause very dirty water for a few days or longer. It can also cause certain types of bacteria to form slime that chlorine can't penetrate.

Then it wasn't backwashing at the right gpm or long enough. You won't like the solution feeder after you've had one awhile. They are difficult to get set right and you'll get tired of mixing the solution. As a dealer I don't like them at all. In some cases if you have a problem with the strength etc. you may have to drain the retention tank and start over.

If the IRB isn't shown to have caused the AN filter a problem, don't worry about the IRB. And if it gets worse then shock the well.

Chlorine with your pH will not be a good oxidizer. Chlorine's oxidation ability is poor at pH below about 7.0. So you'd have to raise the pH first and then add chlorine to be able to use it to remove your iron. And then, regular carbon is not good as a turbidity filter media to remove your 3 ppm of iron after it's converted to ferric iron (rust). With low pH, iron is best removed by ion exchange. So if you went with a softener to remove the iron and then a solution feeder to raise the pH.... you'd still have a solution feeder to baby sit.
I'd suggest repairing or replacing the present AN filter with mixed bed sacrificial mineral and the na softener sized correctly to remove the additional hardness the AN filter adds and the iron that will be left over form the AN filter treatment. Raising the pH with the AN filter will cause some of the iron to convert in the filter. That's why it's critical to have enough water at the right pressure to successfully backwash that filter.
If you are interested in installing the equipment yourself, or getting a buddy to help or hiring someone to install it for you, I can do a lot better (hundreds better) than the prices those web sites offer. I offer Fleck or Autotrol control valves and have been doing water treatment for 15 years here in central PA. E-mail works.

Gary Quality Water Associates
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