Should You Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Replace Bleach in Your Well?

As a private well owner, you’re likely to be aware of the importance of ensuring your water supply is free of bacteria. While many well owners use bleach, there are some concerns about the toxicity of bleach and whether hydrogen peroxide would make an effective substitute. So, here we will explore the topic to help guide you through the process of switching bleach for hydrogen peroxide.

Why Hydrogen Peroxide?

Whether you’re looking to disinfect your water, destroy hydrogen sulfide odors or oxidize tannins and iron, hydrogen peroxide makes a great bleach replacement. Unlike standard chlorine bleach or sodium hypochlorite, hydrogen peroxide does not add any sodium or trace contaminants to your water. The peroxide breaks down into particles of oxygen and water to leave your water looking great and smelling fresh. When combined with a backwash catalytic carbon filter, water can be left free of odors, iron, sediment, manganese and other trace residues.

While peroxide tends to be more expensive compared to chlorine, for the typical residential well owner, the actual dollar amounts tend to be small.

The Hydrogen Peroxide Disinfection Process

Peroxide is injected in milligrams per liter or parts per million. The amount needed will depend on your water’s “hydrogen peroxide demand.” This demand is based on the levels of contaminants in your water that will combine with the peroxide after injection and the contact time has elapsed.

After the combination, contaminants such as manganese, iron, bacteria and some “free” hydrogen peroxide will remain. The ideal scenario is to have a small level of free peroxide up to 1.0 ppm before filtration.

To achieve this precise level, Peristaltic pumps are recommended. These pumps offer fantastic ease of use, reliability, and adjustability for hydrogen peroxide injection.

The Correct Hydrogen Peroxide Concentrations

Chlorine bleach is approximately 5% chlorine, while some bleach products are 10 to 12%. Most experts recommend a 7% hydrogen peroxide strength as a substitute for bleach.

If you’re switching from 5% chlorine in your bleach to 7% peroxide, you’ll need to turn your metering pump control knob down or dilute your peroxide to achieve the same effects as chlorine. While higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide are available, they are more hazardous to use, and you may find them expensive and difficult to ship. It is important to note that hydrogen peroxide acts faster, so you may need to use than the equivalent strength of chlorine bleach. Should You Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Replace Bleach in Your Well

Equipment Changes

If you are considering switching to peroxide, you will need to ensure that your existing metering pump is compatible. You will need to have a peristaltic pump. Remember that the correct hydrogen peroxide dosage will depend on your water contaminant concentration rather than the volume of water inside your system, so it may be worth getting an up to date water test.

If you would like further guidance about switching to hydrogen peroxide, you should speak to your water treatment professional. An experienced specialist can not only test your water, but guide you through equipment calibrations and the correct peroxide concentrations for your water conditions.

By Mark Williams (NicMar President Mark Williams holds degrees in Applied Science and Industrial Thermodynamics, along with Agricultural Mechanization and Systems Engineering from Ohio State University.  He also holds the highest possible industry ranking, being WQA (Water Quality Association) LEVEL 6 Certified.)

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