We installed an artesian well and we had some surprises. We asked a few places around and they all told me that we needed 4 different systems to solve our water problem. I am ready to accept this fact but before having our basement transformed to a factory I just wanted to confirm that this is the only solution.

Here is the result of my analysis.

The problems are:

  • Barium $6.9 \:\mathrm{mg/L}$ (2nd analysis revealed same results)
  • Apparent Color 17.5 UCA
  • Iron $0.47 \:\mathrm{mg/L}$
  • Total sulfur $0.07 \:\mathrm{mg/L}$

Also the water is hard ($210 \:\mathrm{mg} \ce{CaCO3}/\rm L$) which is not recommended

My question is, do I really need 4 different systems to treat my water?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It seems that way for me. You have to have adsorbtion treatment for two very different cations, one anion and something to deal with color. And even then I'd prefer to use something else as source of drinking water. Without proper equipment you will not know when your treaters will fail. $\endgroup$
    – permeakra
    Mar 3, 2013 at 15:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The suggestion of 4 is not ridiculous, but the water softener may leach out some of the barium as well. $\endgroup$
    – Lighthart
    Mar 5, 2013 at 18:37
  • $\begingroup$ Are you actually planning to make this drinkable, or is it for the shower/ dishwasher/washing machine? $\endgroup$
    – Karl
    May 3, 2016 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ to make it drinkable $\endgroup$
    – mateoc
    May 6, 2016 at 14:43

1 Answer 1


You shouldn't need 4. The only dangerous thing is the barium, and permeakra is right that you should keep an eye on the equipment so that it doesn't silently fail on you. You should check perhaps once a month. It's only ~3.5 times the EPA limit, so a failure won't be immediately be a hazard (unless the sequestered barium is released all at once, but that seems unlikely).

The other 3 problems and the hardness are, at those levels in the water, are simply nuisances. So they will discolor your water, produce a weak sulfurous odor, and eventually clog the pipes, but they will not harm anyone. If you fixed the iron and sulfur, that would probably improve the color, so only 3 systems are needed. And you don't have to worry about the system failing silently since you will see it.

Check these statements before making a decision, this is too important to trust only one source!

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the info, but we have actually made our choice. Here is what we have bought. An iron/sulfur removal machine followed by a water softener, followed by a 5 micron filter, followed by a UV lamp. I did a lot of researched (maybe I am wrong but I did try!) and it seemed to handle our needs. We have an alarm on the UV lamp that rings every year to remind us to change the lamp but I will still test our water for Barium and Bacteria every 6 months. Does that make sense? Thanks $\endgroup$
    – mateoc
    Jul 22, 2013 at 15:53

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