Iron clogging drip irrigation : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I have iron in my irrigation water, it clogs my drip emitters. I have 3600 emitters, it is expensive and time consuming to replace, any ideas?



How about a dose of muriatic acid? Put some into the lines, just enough to get it through to all emitters, then shut the system down while the acid works. Start it back up and flush the acid by running plenty of water through it. This will also dilute it around the plants. A dose of chlorine may be needed on occasion as well, to kill off any algae.

-- greenbeanman (, May 29, 2000.

Richard, you do have a problem. Best guess is that you have iron rich soil, therefore iron rich water inhabited by iron eating bacteria. Don't know of anyway to kill them, they're just there. The bacteria are digesting disolved iron and basically pooping iron scale deposits. Have you checked with an agricultural spray supplier for fine stainless steel screens? You're probably getting a lot of scale in your pipes which is breaking loose and heading for the emitters. It would work best if you could insert the strainers at the head of each grouping of emitters. You'll spend some time cleaning screens, but that should be easier than replacing emitters.

If your pipes are corroded and the true source of the iron, replacing them, possibly with PVC, would help. But it is more likely you've got the nitrifying bacteria. A sand filter isn't labor-free, and you're risking adding sand to your emitters.

The only other thing I can think of is to have a settling tank and irrigate from that instead of directly from your water source. But such a tank would take a fair amount of room and money to install, and it wouldn't solve your problem. You'd have to deal with cleaning the tank, and it is tough to guess how much would actually settle out before you needed to pump out for irrigating.

Any hope of catching and using rain water? Even if you couldn't irrigate solely with rain water, diluting the iron water would lengthen the time it takes to clog your emitters. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (, May 29, 2000.

can you just put a filter on?

-- stan (, May 29, 2000.

I have tried filters, acid, chlorine, my water demands are about 15,000 - 50,000 gals per week, so rain catching is not enough. We are in a drought, a severe one. My sweet corn is not yet knee high and is putting on ears.

-- Richard Arnold (, May 29, 2000.

Ok, that is a lot of water and I don't know if this will help with that kind of demand. At best you will have to increase the volume of the devices this solution requires. I have a iron rich sulpher well and this is what we did(stole it from national geological society webpage). Our well is pumped into the top of a old hot water heater which areates the water--than pumped into the main line which has a one gallon iron filter. This removed all the orange color and sulpher smell. Maybe more filters in series ? My second thought was a backflush system used daily ?

-- Joel Rosen (, June 04, 2000.

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