Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical most people know as a disinfectant. For well water treatment, it has many advantages over some other disinfectants, which can be ineffective or even toxic. By learning to use hydrogen peroxide, you can enjoy quality water without the inconvenience of other chemicals.
Dangers of Chlorine
Chlorine is the standard chemical for disinfecting water supplies because it is inexpensive. But recently health concerns have arisen over the formation of chlorinated hydrocarbons. These are created when chlorine reacts with organic material. According to Doulton, which manufactures water filters, "Risks for certain types of cancer are now being correlated to the use of chlorinated drinking water."
Properties of Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide holds an advantage over chlorine as a well water disinfectant due to its chemical makeup. It disinfects through oxidation, splitting into oxygen and water. In the case of well water treatment, there is often bacteria that cannot be eliminated by chlorine. According to Essential Water Solutions, "As effective as chlorine is as a disinfecting agent, it's only marginally effective in reducing the odors from sulfur or reducing iron bacteria, iron or manganese."
Treating Well Water
Obtain 4 to 7 gallons of 35 percent hydrogen peroxide, a chemical face mask and gloves from a local hardware store. Remember that hydrogen peroxide is an extremely powerful oxidant that can burn your skin and can cause blindness. Pour the hydrogen peroxide solution into the well. Use as much hydrogen peroxide as necessary, depending on the severity of the problem. The worse the infection or odor, the more you need to use.
Running the Water Through the House
Run one faucet at a time in your house until the treated water reaches the sink. Determine the presence of hydrogen peroxide using a piece of meat or organic material such as wood. It will begin to fizz once the water with hydrogen peroxide present reaches it. Allow the hydrogen peroxide to clean the well and pipes for 20 hours, and then run the faucets in the same fashion mentioned above until the meat no longer oxidizes. Flush the pipes with fresh water, and your well water is ready for usage.
Determining Treatment Effectiveness
Hydrogen peroxide is used to treat smell, taste and appearance issues. A difference in the taste, appearance or aroma of the water will indicate that the treatment was effective. If the problem persists, it could be a different problem or it may be necessary to use more hydrogen peroxide.
- Clean Air Pure Water: Instructions for Treating Your Well With Hydrogen Peroxide
- Essential Water Solutions Incorporated: Hydrogen Peroxide: A Real Treat for Well Water
- USPeroxide: Municipal Drinking Water Treatment
- Doulton: Chlorine - A Special Problem for Drinking Water
- H2O-4U: Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2), The Amazing Secrets That They Dont Want You to Know
Samuel Sohlden began his freelance writing career in 2007. His work appears on various websites, with articles focusing on science and health. In 2010 he attended the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, Calif. Sohlden is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from the University of Cincinnati.