Water Filtration: What it Means to Your Irrigation System

Flip Law - Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Water quality is one of the most important factors when considering an irrigation system.  Poor water quality can be attributed to several factors.  Among them are organic and inorganic solids.  These solids may be suspended or dissolved or a combination of both.  The primary problem caused by these contaminates is plugging or clogging of orifices, particularly in drip or micro irrigation systems.  The solution to this problem is the installation of a water filtration system.

There are several options to choose from when considering a water filtration system for use with an irrigation system.  The type of water filtration system you chose is dependant on your water source and initial water quality.  The three filtration methods commonly used with irrigation systems are screen filters, disc filters and sand media filters.  Screen filters, as their name implies, use a screen to collect contaminates.  The screens are usually made of a stainless steel mesh, but are also available in plastic as well. Disc filter use a series of discs with grooves that are stacked and compressed on a spine, with the grooves on each disc running opposite the adjacent disc.  As the water moves through the disc system, contaminates are trapped and removed.  Sand media filters use a bed of sand to collect contaminants.  Sand media filters are cleaned by backwashing.  Backwashing forces clean water back through the media bed thereby dislodging the contaminants and piping them to waste.

To function properly, all filtration systems need to be cleaned frequently.
  The poorer the water quality the more often the filter element will need to be cleaned.  Automating the cleaning process is the best way to ensure that it is done when needed.  Most automated filter cleaning processes use differential pressure to determine when the filter is dirty and requires cleaning.

Each water filtration method has its pros and cons and the best system for any specific situation depends on a variety of factors, including the initial water quality and the use of the water after filtration.  Keep in mind that filtration is a critical component of any drip or micro irrigation system and is not the place to skimp on costs.  Using a poorly designed or undersized filtration system can render you irrigation system useless if it allows plugging or clogging of emitters.

W. P. Law, Inc. is one of the Southeast's leading suppliers of fluid handling equipment for farmers, contractors and industries. Founded in 1970 in Lexington, South Carolina, the company has six locations throughout the state. W. P. Law, Inc.'s reputation is built upon the experience and expertise to find economical solutions to customer’s needs. The company is currently providing a free residential irrigation design redeemable at any W. P. Law, Inc. branch. For more information, visit or call toll-free 877-835-0893


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