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Intec-America FAQ

Water Pollutants

What is biofilm?

Biofilms are the slimy layer of amalgamated bacteria, fungi, and algae that form on wet surfaces.  Water sources available to livestock have been identified as important biosecurity and agroterrorism concerns because of the presence of biofilms.  Many foodborne pathogens, in particular campylobacter, salmonella, E. coli, pseudomonas, and staphylococcus, can be spread to the flock from the poultry water.  Protective measures of water quality assurance programs need to be in place in order to reduce vulnerability to microbial infection.  Common disinfectants are not effective in eliminating biofilm.  To penetrate and remove them, the product must be able to hydrolyze the biofilm to separate and destroy it.

What is scale and how is it caused?

Scale forms when hard water (containing a large amount of minerals such as calcium and magnesium) attaches to the plumbing.  Mineral scale clogs plumbing and regulators, decreases pressure, and causes sticking or leaking for nipple drinkers. Most disinfectants simply pass over the cracks and crevices, and the microorganisms continue to flourish.  We recommend our pretreated water solutions (i.e. water filtration or softened water) to avoid high replacement costs and reduce or prevent future problems. 

How do I remove scale?

The biofilm must be removed before adding an acid to dissolve mineral scale.  An acid cannot fully penetrate and will not hydrolyze the biofilm.  Our EPA-registered product can remove the biofilm before scale can be dissolved.  We recommend that the influent pH of the water also be considered as water with a natural pH of 8.5 requires the use of more acid than water at 7.2.

Do I have hard water?

Extremely hard water may shorten the life of plumbing and lessen the effectiveness of certain cleaning agents. Because of the problems associated with hard water (including laundry damage, soap residue after bathing, and pipework clogging), we encourage you to test your water.   For municipal water, call your local water provider.  They can tell you the average hardness and iron levels.  If you have a private well, you can send us a water sample and we will test it for FREE and review your options.  Please visit our selection of water softening products.


Is there iron in my water?

Iron is known to leach into water supplies throughout the United States from rock and soil formations.  A yellow to reddish discoloration can appear in water, even in very low concentrations, and begin the staining and scale process.  This may depend on the pH, taste, and odor problems.  Five types of iron can be found in portable water. 

How do I remove iron from my water?

The five types of iron found in portable water have different iron removal methods.  Heme iron, the iron found in organics, cannot be removed by softening resins.  Most common in surface water and shallow wells, a filtration media must be used to remove the oxidized iron and the residual of chlorine.  For iron bacteria, which has a reddish color and foul odor, ozonation is the recommended solution for the problem.  For ferric iron, also known as red water iron, we recommend filtration.  Ferrous iron, or clear water iron, may be removed by a softening resin with a positive charge.  If you have more questions about identifying iron, we would be happy to assist you and recommend products accordingly.

How do I eliminate hydrogen sulfide?

This gas produces an offensive “rotten egg” or “sulfur water” odor and taste in the water that is quite distinct.  If you suspect that your water contains hydrogen sulfide, we recommend utilizing an oxidizing media filter or chemical feed pump with an oxidant and retention tank for effective removal. 

What is nitrate and what does it do?

Nitrate is often found in drinking water supplies.  While nontoxic, bacteria in the well or stomach may reduce it to nitrate (NO2).  Nitrite passing into the bloodstream can reduce the blood’s ability to transport oxygen, causing oxygen deficiency anemia.  We MUST keep nitrates under control in our private wells – for human drinking as well as poultry.


Chlorinated Pools and Salt Water Pools

Do chlorinated pools maintain themselves?

Contrary to popular belief, the answer is no.  The lines of chlorinated pools remain susceptible to biofilm formation.  Regardless of the water quality or water source, we highly encourage that the water lines be cleaned between flocks. 


Are salt water pools better than chlorinated pools?

People incorrectly assume that salt water pools are less expensive and maintenance than chlorinated pools.  Actually, you might as well use bleach, which is also sodium hypochlorite!  Science aside, you essentially make the chlorine yourself with a salt water chlorinator for a saltwater pool.  Unfortunately, many complain that they cannot get the desired chlorine level.  Furthermore, if phosphates are present in the water, they are food for algae.  When this happens, your pool simply will not catch up and build a reserve of chlorine in the water.  We suggest that pool owners test the pH and alkalinity with frequency – it is best to run between 7.4 and 7.6 when using chlorine.  With ionization technology, you can avoid the complications of salt water pools and the chlorine hazards of both and enjoy a chlorine-free pool.

Why is my ladder corroding? 

The deck anchors are usually cast aluminum with a stainless steel ladder.  When pool owners over-chlorinate, the salt water will corrode equipment, the pool surface, lighting fixtures, and ladders over time. We advise sealing coping and hosing it down with fresh water daily if you use a salt water system.

What size chlorinator should I buy?

When buying a chlorinator, oversize the unit for your pool as a rule of thumb.  You are better off having a chlorinator that is too large rather than too small.  The larger chlorinator can be turned back or run for less time, while the small unit will mean algae problems.  Many do not realize that a salt water generator must be cleaned regularly.

How can chlorine affect my health?

Although chlorine disinfects drinking water, it also reacts with other particles to form disinfection byproducts.  The most common of these are trihalomethanes, classified by the EPA as probable carcinogens.  Many believe that chlorine is the original Persistent Organic Pollutant.  This concern has been warranting more public attention because organochlorines have been linked to immune system suppression, falling sperm counts and infertility, and learning disabilities in children.  The U.S. Council of Environmental Quality studied the risks of drinking chlorinated water and found that chlorinated water drinkers had a 93% higher cancer risk than those who drank non-chlorinated water.  Numerous studies, facts, and figures support the notion that chlorine is a health hazard.

Isn’t chlorine required by health regulations?

Yes.  Chlorine is required by health regulations to be present in all public drinking water supplies.  It is up to the individual to remove the chlorine by “point of entry systems” at the home and “point of use systems” elsewhere when possible.  While acknowledging that chlorine has many valuable uses, our products provide an inexpensive resolution for this growing health risk. 

If chemicals are so harmful, how should I clean my water?

Copper ionization is a safe and effective technology and is the ONLY healthy option for pools, spas, and drinking water.  Intec was the first company to commercialize this technology and has been providing it for over 30 years.  For more information, see our Chlorine Free Pools and Chemical Free Pools page.

Intec Disinfecting Systems

Is Copper Ionization safe?

Although lethal to bacteria and algae, a multitude of scientific tests show the effectiveness of copper systems over chlorine.  Experiments at the University of Arizona suggest that such mineral ions and trace chlorine are 1,000 times more effective against algae than chlorine alone!

Is ionization all that you need for your water?

Copper ionization completely purifies water.  Copper kills algae and bacteria at a wide range pH level.  Maintain a proper pH balance in your pool.  A light flocking agent or oxidant may be necessary as filtration aid to remove body oils, suntan lotion, or hair. 

What are the operational costs of ionization?

In most cases, the electrodes will last two to five years and are relatively inexpensive to replace.  Electrical consumption equates to only a few dollars yearly.  We do highly suggest that you test the pH level every few days to ensure proper water balance and test for copper residuals weekly.  Test for calcium hardness bi-yearly.

What is ozonation? 

Ozone has received a lot of attention recently because it is highly effective for all groups of organisms, particularly viruses and bacteria.  Also, it can treat high volumes of water.  One disadvantage of ozone is the excessive production of bromates (potential carcinogens) if the water contains bromide.  It also has a reduced efficacy in cold water.  Ozonation also does not provide a persistent residual disinfection capability, may require high capital investments, and has relatively high operating and maintenance costs.  In some instances, we utilize ozonation as a disinfection system.

What is Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection? 

UV disinfection is becoming more popular and economical than ever before.  UV light is a point-of-contact disinfection system that is highly effective in the inactivation of protozoa and does not require the addition of any chemicals.  It does this without altering the chemistry, taste, and quality of the water.  Turbidity, however, does affect the quality of disinfection because of what is known as the shadowing effect.  Like ozone, UV has no residual disinfection capacity. In some instances, we implement UV disinfection.

Is there a single disinfection method that works 100% of the time?

Not to date.  Many water treatment facilities are now using multi-barrier approaches to disinfection.  Most still utilize chlorine as their primary disinfectant and then use additives to reduce the harmful byproducts.  The industry focus does not need to be on the reduction of these byproducts, but instead, should be on eliminating the dangerous chemicals entirely.  At Intec, we have a research team working at the forefront of these issues as we strive for improved treatment technologies.  With the thousands of satisfied clients we’ve served around the country, you can be assured that our technology will work for you.

Maintaining your pH

Why is pH so important?

When considering treating their water for impurities/contaminants such as iron, manganese, TDS, arsenic, nitrates, microorganisms, etc., first take the water’s pH into consideration. It is possible that one must adjust the pH before treatment. Many filter medias and softening resins utilized in the removal of impurities are optimized only within a certain pH range. Water treatment systems operating outside of that pH range may produce less than desirable results. Some disinfectants, especially chlorine or bleach, will not effectively kill microorganisms outside its recommended pH levels.

Can I adjust the pH of my water?

The pH may be increased by passing the low pH water through a bed of chemically reactive media (Neutralizing Filter). The pH may also be increased or lowered by feeding a liquid neutralizing solution into the stream of water (Chemical Injector). It is imperative that you consult with a water treatment specialist on methods of adjusting pH. Fortunately, adjusting pH is neither expensive nor overly time consuming.

Why should I utilize acidification?

Acidic water tends to keep minerals in a solution which helps with scaling issues in plumbing. It is also a less inhabitable environment for microorganisms (this should not by any means be considered as a disinfectant).  Acidification during feed withdrawal has shown a reduction of salmonella in the crop and ceca or broilers. More research needs to be conducted on this area and a comparison of various disinfectants introduced at various pH levels to determine optimal water quality guidelines.

What happens if my pH is imbalanced? 

All cellular activity in the body is affected by an imbalanced pH. This imbalance leads to the progression of most degenerative diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, kidney stones, arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and heart disease. Body pH can also be at the root of many common symptoms such as digestive problems, heartburn, headaches, fatigue, constipation and sleeplessness, just to mention a few. The importance of water pH is generally overlooked, misapplied and misunderstood in the poultry industry in particular. Check out our acid neutralizing products.

What is the ideal pH for drinking water in broilers and breeder hens?

In humans, research has shown that the consumption of slightly alkaline water is healthier. Past field research on broilers indicated that drinking water with a pH lower than 6 can impair broiler performance. Other research has suggested that broilers drinking water with a pH between 5.5 and 6.0 improved feed conversion. It was recently reported that acidification of water less than 7.0 had no statistical improvement for feed conversion. To our knowledge, no research has provided indisputable evidence as to the answer of this question.   

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