High Boron and Chloride in Irrigation Well

oskiJune 26, 2009

I just had my well water tested by a well respected lab. The Chloride came in at 450 ppm (same as mg/L) and Boron at 16 ppm (mg/L). This causes a myriad of problems for my plants and trees so I am back on domestic water for the irrigation. Two questions:

1. Does anyone know of a good source for Chloride and Boron resitant Plants and trees?

2. Does anyone know of a good system (filter or reverse osmosis) for a residential irrigation well? We do not use the well water for drinking.

Any info would be helpful. Thank you.

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hi oski,

A real shame. Maybe an activated charcoal filter would decrease the concentration of Boron but I don't know by how much. Chlorides could be precipitated out but may cause other problems and still need to be filtered which reduces flow. Does your soil have a high concentration of Boron and chloride salt. A good drainage system under your garden would keep the salts from building up in the soil if you flood irrigated. It looks like container gardening or square foot gardening with imported soil and city water is the way to go or at the least expensive. House water is not that much more expensive than well water especially in your case. Google has loads of info on treating water though. Good luck. Aloha.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 9:19PM
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Thanks lehua13. There is a lot of clay in our area so drainage is not great. The chloride is so high that I am not sure that drainage would help much. I have brought in top soil and treated the soil while mixing it in with amendments. I really need to reduce the Boron and Chloride in the well water. Domestic water here is very expensive at over $3 per 750 gallons. I use about 1,500 gallons a day in landscape irrigation during the summer. The well is in and works great (over 20 gpm). I have a sand seperator and simple filter but neither of those reduce Boron or chloride. Reverse Osmosis would work great but I am having a hard time finding any informaiton on the type or cost of an RO system for a residenital well. I have heard that the on-going cost of RO is very expensive and could be more than the domestic water cost. I am trying to find a more simple and less expensive way to reduce the Chloride and Boron. I have been trying Google but have not found anything yet. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 1:15PM
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I read that activate charcoal might work reducing boron. I don't know the cost or the amount you can actually buy. A relatively small flow through filter with AC in it or over it like a fish pond filter might work. You would have to experiment. What ever you do, it would take a large tank where you do you water treatment process. You could precipitate out the chlorides with a flocculent(don't know what to use) and remove it out of the tank at the bottom but disposal would be an expense. This might be cheaper than the RO operation. Maybe $3 per 750 gallons starts to sound cheap. What about collecting rain water in a large under ground tank from you roof(cistern catchment system). You could relocate your well pump to that. The cistern water could be used to dilute the well water as well to bring down the concentration. Good luck. Aloha

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 5:42PM
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Thank you for your follow up. I am still doing my homework and will see if I can find a system to reduce the Boron and Chloride to acceptable levels. I have thought about a tank but I really do not have the room above ground and an underground tank of any size is very expensive. If I find something I will let you know.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 2:05PM
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Did you ever figure out your well situation, or did you just decide to go with domestic water?

We'rein a similar situation - not quite as high salt, but much higher boron (fluctuates between ~32ppm and ~50ppm, depending on how much rain fell recently). We're currently looking at RO systems as well as pH modifications to change the boron form from boric acid to borate, which is charged and thus tends to go out the waste water rather than permeate through.

Anyways, just wondering if you ever figured it out or not... two years later :)

- Paul

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 2:09PM
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Paul...now 10 months since your follow up and three years since my original post. I have been using regular domestic water at great cost during the summer. i am still researching how to remove boron and the news is not good. It seems that sung polymers in a large tank works the best. the problem is that I think the water has to sit something like 24 hours for the boron to go away so you need a day or so of irrigation water in a single tank. For me that is a large tank...2000 gallons and I do not have the space for that. I am still working on it and found an environmental engineer who is looking with me just as a challenge. If I find anything I will let you know and if you run across anything send it my way. best of luck.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 12:32AM
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