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Water Quality/Using Well water for Irrigation


Hi Steve,

I am looking into using well water for irrigation at my condo complex.  our peak use is 32,000 gallons per day during the summer time.  We are currently using city water, and it is costing us an arm and a leg.

I had the water analyzed, and it has sodium and chloride in it.  I am worried about the sodium and chloride having a negative impact on our grass and trees.  

What's the best way to filter this water to get the sodium and chloride out?  what type of machine should we look at and how much does it cost?  

Here is the rest of report.  Let me know if you see any other issue with the data that could cause a problem.  (e.g. staining or clogged sprinklers heads, etc).  

Sodium      -   212 mg/L
Calcium     -    32 mg/L
Magnesium   -    31 mg/L
Potassium   -     2 mg/L
Ammonium    -     0 mg/L
Chloride    -   253 mg/L
Sulfate     -    60 mg/L
Bicarbonate -   291 mg/L
Carbonate   -    17 mg/L
Nitrate     -     0 mg/L
Phosphate   -     3 mg/L

pH     -     7.7
pHc    -     6.46
ECw    -     1.44 dS/m
TDS    -   922 mg/L
SARadj -     6.88
SAR    -     6.4

Copper     - 0.05 mg/L
Zinc       - 0.05 mg/L
Manganese  - 0.34 mg/L
Iron       - 0.44 mg/L
Boron      - 0.38 mg/L
Fluoride   - 0.53 mg/L
Aluminum   - 0.44 mg/L
Molybdenum - 0.01 mg/L


Hi Joe,

I don't see any problems using the well water for irrigation as is.  Your well water is better than a lot of city water in other parts of the country.  In fact it may be as good as your city water - it would be interesting to compare.  Do you have an analysis of your city water.  Chances are they may be getting the city water from the same aquifer that your well water is coming from.

Certainly the sodium and chloride levels are within levels that will cause no problems for irrigation.  Both are within the EPA guidelines for drinking water!  Here are the guidelines:

Should you decide, for some reason that you still wanted to remove the chloride and sodium I can tell you that it would be cheaper to continue to use the city water.  Removing those 2 minerals would require either a demineralizer or a reverse osmosis unit.  Both of these are very expensive to purchase and to operate, especially at your usage of 32mgpd.

Let me know if  you have any questions.

Environmental Engineer
General Contractor

Water Quality

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Steve Young


I will answer questions on residential water treatment, i.e. use of softeners, filters, reverse osmosis systems, disinfection, iron and/or sediment removal and other issues facing the homeowner. I have worked extensively with well water systems.


I have worked in the water treatment area for many years as a consultant and as a professional environmental engineer in the private industry sector. I have designed reverse osmosis, deionization, and water softening systems. I have also done work in water quality and stream and river remediation as it relates to the Clean Water Act.

I am currently serving as an Expert for Home Improvement, Travel (New Mexico) and Travel (North Carolina);

BS Environmental Eng.

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