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Water wells are used as a water source for livestock, houses, farms and gardens. They are a great
way to provide a much-needed resource without the higher costs of public water utilities, but they
are not without their own issues. Well screens within the pump area slowly build up with mineral
deposits from the water and slow or stop the flow of water. To clear this up, you will need to use
muriatic acid to dissolve the deposits.

Things You'll Need

 Muriatic acid

 Measuring cup

 Go to the well pump and find the priming plug port just before the pump inlet.

 Measure out a small amount of muriatic acid and pour it down the plug port. The acid eats
away at the buildup that is clogging the well screen. Muriatic acid comes in granules for
easy application and fewer chemical fumes. A minimal amount of approximately 1/4 to 1
cup is generally all you need. If this doesn't work, you can always add a little more in a
second application.

 Wait approximately one hour to allow the chemical to work. In granule form, it is slow to
release. Test the water flow to see if it has improved. If not, continued to test it off and on
over the next few hours. You should notice better water flow. If not, then apply 1/4 cup
more of the muriatic acid granules to the plug port and wait a while longer.

Tips & Warnings

 Wear gloves and eye protection when working with muriatic acid.

 Liquid muriatic acid is not advisable to use in wells due to its lack of inhibitors and extreme
reaction to certain mineral deposits. It can be highly toxic and lethal. Granular acid is
better because it has a slower reaction rate, which reduces the toxicity levels.
The chemical of choice for most small diameter wells is chlorine. It has the advantage of being
readily available, inexpensive, and is generally accepted by health officials for use in potable water
supplies. For general disinfection purposes following routine well and piping construction, repair,
or pump installation, a 50 mg/L dose of free chlorine is recommended. For treatment of severe
iron bacteria problems concentrations as high as 500 to 2,000 mg/L are used.

However, chlorine treatment of iron bacteria problems may not be effective without subsequent
agitation of the well water. Turbulent flow causes greater surface area exposure of slime growths
to the chlorine solution and assists in dislodging obstructions.

For more information on how to shock chlorinate a well, consult our fact sheet Shock Chlorination
of Wells and Springs or contract with a professional well driller.

Since precipitation of iron in the bacteria biomatting contributes to clogging of flow spaces,
rehabilitation results are usually improved when acid treatments are alternated with bactericide

However, chlorine and acid must never be in the well at the same time.

Acids have been the used for decadesin the treatment of wells. Strong acids are used more
frequently than any other type of chemical for well rehabilitation. Hydrochloric Acid [HCL], (also
known as muriatic acid, same acid however!). Most effective for removing mineral scale but
dangerous to handle, and gives off toxic, potentially lethal, fumes. This acid, HCL, is most
commonly ordered with an inhibitor that minimizes the acid’s corrosive effect on any metal casing,
pump components and screen. It is usually introduced into the well through a tremie in a volume
appropriate for the well area and surrounding formation area to be treated. Some form of
mechanical surging needs to be employed to better expose the acid to the incrustation area
ensuring maximum removal. Surge blocks or jetting tools are used for this purpose. The amount of
time that the acid is allowed to remain in the well varies. The contact time may vary from a few
hours to 15 hours after the acid solution has been introduced and agitated. The well water PH is
measured as an indication that the acid has reacted with the encrustation to the degree that the
acidity of the solution had been lost and all possible reaction has been completed for this session.
When the well PH has reached 6.5-7, the well is agitated again the solution pumped to waste in
an approved manner. Acids may be used with benefit in both screen wells and rock wells. It is
not uncommon after a successful acid tr eatment for the well’s capacity to increase beyond its
initial capacity at construction. Other acid forms used: Although HCL (hydrochloric or muriatic
acid) has the longest history of use as a well cleaner, other acid forms are also used. Sulfamic acid
is not as aggressive as HCL, but is available as a powder so it is easier to transport and handle.
Also it gives off less concentrated toxic fumes than does HCL. Inhibiti ng agents, as mentioned
previously, which limit the acid’s attack on casing, pump and screen metallic parts are often
mixed with sulfamic acid. The acid pellets can be placed directly in the well without the hazards of
mixing on the surface. Sulfamic acid should not be confused with sulfuric acid, a highly aggressive
acid seldom used in well rehabilitation. As with HCL, sulfamic acid

is agitated to increase its contact with the encrusted area. Although HCL (hydrochloric or muriatic
acid) has the longest history of use as a well cleaner, other acid forms are also used.