Treating Your Water


No matter what your source of water supply is, there are two phases for water treatment, which are as follows:

1) Water Testing

2) Water Treatment

1. Water Testing


Well water requires full chemical and bacterial evaluation to check for unknown contaminants prior to choosing the treatment equipment to ensure their correct selection. The following steps should be taken:


  • Ensure the water test laboratory you select is INAB (Irish National Accreditation Board) approved.

  • Ensure the laboratory is EU compliant and is using Parametric Value or PV on analyses and not the old Maximum Admissible Concentration or MAC units. ?If on site dip stick test kits are used for a preliminary indication of water quality, make sure these tests are later backed up by professional INAB testing for accurate and consistent values.

  • Consult directly with the accredited laboratory to ensure accurate, impartial, professional and verifiable tests are carried out and avoid any possible conflict of interest with equipment suppliers.

  • Costs will vary depending on your requirements, however for a standard drinking water test you should budget in the region of €100.00 to €200.00 plus additional costs if you request the testing laboratory to send out a technician to take the samples.


2. Water Treatment

Treating well water is all about selecting the most experienced professionals who will carry out the treatment installation correctly and supply you with the right equipment for your needs. Having received the water analysis results from the accredited, independent laboratory you should now consult with a number of water treatment specialists to get an idea of what is involved together with costs, call out fees, servicing, equipment specification and warranties.

Common Problems and Treatment Solutions

  • Iron and Manganese. Iron and manganese removal filters are popular in well water treatment and there are several types depending on the overall water chemistry, pH conditions, lime levels etc.

  • Hardness/Lime. Hard water is generally found in most borehole water wells. A water softener or bacteriostatic well water softener is usually chosen to deal with high lime levels found in wells.

  • Odours. Odour filtration systems deal with hydrogen sulphide (rotten egg odour), ammonia, musty organic odours of bog water to the faecal or raw sewage smell of bacterially polluted waters.

  • Heavy Grit, Sand or Turbidity. Heavy grit, sand or turbidity (finely suspended silt or colloidal silicas) also have their specialist treatment applications and need to be precisely evaluated.

  • Colour/Tannins. Colour/tannins are found in well water, seasonally, throughout the year especially after heavy rainfall. Tannins are the product of organic run off from plants, trees and vegetation that find their way into surface waters and then into ground water. Colour in water or true colour found on laboratory water reports is a measurement of the clear to translucent look that tannins give water (a yellowy brown tint). Carbon treatment systems are recommended to keep water clear of tannins and allow ultraviolet systems to perform their job correctly.

  • Bacteria. Bacteria is generally found in well water and occurs intermittently throughout the year depending on rainfall. The bacteria in the water can be disinfected by the use of ultra violet sterilisation. It is advised that ultra violet sterilisation is used after some form of softening or primary treatment of iron or other contamination, so as to keep the ultra violet inner quartz sleeve free from obstruction.

Additional Water Treatment

Reverse osmosis deals with the final concentrations of toxic heavy metals, nitrates, nitrites, sodium and other dissolved parameters harmful for drinking water use.

A reverse osmosis filter should only be used after well water has been properly treated for primary filtration of all the high levels of nuisance parameters like iron, manganese, hardness, grit, silt, turbidity, bacteria etc.

Approximate Costs

To cover the cost for installing a Water Treatment System you should budget as follows:

  • Water Softening should cost in the region of €800.00 to €1,250.00

  • Water Filtration should cost in the region of €500.00 to €750.00

  • Water Sterilisation should cost in the region of €650.00 to €1,500.00


The forgoing is a brief and general overview of what is involved in water testing and water treatment and is for general knowledge purposes only. On no account should water be consumed prior to being properly treated following testing by an approved test laboratory.

Further Information

For detailed technical procedures on Testing Water Quality – Chemical and Microbiological Sampling/Analysis click here and go to Section 4 page 21

Appointing the Water Treatment Specialist


Contact a number of Water Treatment Specialists in your area to ensure they would be interested in quoting you for the work. (You can find these by referring to the Suppliers and Services part of this Web Site)

If they are in a position to quote for the work you should forward them the laboratory analysis and recommendations together with a cover letter outlining the work you wish them to quote for, which should include quotation return dates and project commencement and completion dates. (You can find detailed information on appointing Subcontractors by referring to the Tendering your Build section in the Manage My Build part of this Web Site)

You should endeavour to obtain three to four quotations.

On receipt of the quotations, checks should be carried out to:

  • Ensure that they are fully covered by Employers Liability, Public Liability and All Risks Insurance and that you are completely indemnified against any claims. You should have your Insurance Broker check that these insurance policies are suitable for your requirements and that they are in order.

  • Ensure that they have included for all work as outlined in your tender enquiry.

  • Ensure that there are no arithmetical errors in their quotations.

  • Ensure that you are comparing like with like. This may take some time as the equipment being offered will probably be from different manufacturers and may have different performance values and specifications. Check the costs associated with call out fees, servicing, equipment specification and warranties.

  • Ensure that the lowest quotation is not so low as to cause concern that the quality of the installation may be compromised. Check the equipment and installation comply with all relevant regulations and guidelines.

Things to look out for:

  • Obtain a commencement and completion date for the works.

  • Ensure the Treatment Specialist has included for all testing, disinfecting and commissioning on completion.

  • Ensure you get a copy of the test results and that they are forwarded to the relevant authorities


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