Question: Our irrigation system is on a timer and when the sprinkler system runs through all the zones it leaves “rust stains” on our sidewalk and the side of our house.
Is there any type of simple irrigation water treatment we can add to our sprinkler system to stop or reduce the rust? Karin, Oviedo, Florida
Answer: The rust from your irrigation water is usually caused by iron in the water. I’m familiar with the problem as I have the same “rust water” issue.
The problem can be solved or greatly reduced with the installation of an irrigation water treatment system that will inject a chemical to “bind” the iron in the water.
In our area of Florida these irrigation or sprinkler treatment systems can be purchased and installed for an initial cost of about $150. Above the initial cost there is the ongoing cost for chemicals which run us at the moment about $20-25 per month. Most hardware stores have them.
Treating the Irrigation Water
The treatment “setup” is simple. The water is first analyzed to find out how much iron is in the water and how much chemical is needed to “cure” the problem.
A plastic tank is installed near the irrigation pump – ours is 30 gallons. This tank will hold the chemical which comes in 1 gallon plastic containers (Rid-O-Rust) and mixed at the rate of 1 gallon of Rid-O-Rust to 30 gallons of water.
A small meter is placed between the tank and the irrigation pump along with a pipe connecting the tank to the suction side of the sprinkler pump.
As the irrigation system pushes water to each zone and sprinkler, the chemical is “pulled” from the tank and through the meter, treating the water as it moves through the underground pipes and out through the sprinklers.
Treating the irrigation water is a breeze with this design and layout, which is clean, simple and automatic. No clogging of sprinklers, nothing to make repairs on, no filters to worry about.
We even add liquid fertilizer to the treatment system so the iron is handled and the lawn and landscape gets fertilized with a small amount of fertilizer with every watering. In fact, it is one of the first additions we added to our home.
The only real “maintenance” is keeping the tank filled with water and chemical which is a – once every 4-6 week process that takes about 10 minutes. Highly worth it compared to the rust on the house, and the thought of painting as the only other “removal” option.