About Birm Media
What is Birm Filter Media?
Birm media is a granular filter media trademarked by Clack Corporation. Physically, Birm media is essentially a mixture of Manganese and sand. This media is one of the most common filter medias used in iron filter systems which reduce/remove iron, Manganese and Hydrogen Sulfides (Rotten Egg Odours and Sulfur) depending on the water parameters.
How Does a Birm Filter Work?
The birm media acts as an insoluble catalysts to enhance the reaction between dissolved oxygen and the iron compounds. This means that the media aides in converting ferrous (“clear water” iron) to ferric iron which can be easily filtered out by birm media in most cases. Birm is usually in a mixed bed iron filter containing Carbon or Catalytic Carbon to aide in the removal H2S and Manganese.
Manufacturer Operating Parameters & Birm Media Specifications
- pH Range: 6.8-9.0 for Iron Reduction / 8.0-9.0 for Manganese Reduction
- Dissolved Oxygen Content minimum of 15% of the iron and 29% of the manganese content
- Free Chlorine: Less than 0.5 ppm
- Hydrogen Sulfide should be removed prior to contact with birm media
Oxidization & Air Injectors
In the majority of case, the water needs to be oxidized in order for birm to properly filter iron from your water. This can be done with a built in air injector in the iron filter’s control valve. This air injector will pull in air as the unit is backwashed and/or rinsed through a venturi effect. This is the most economical and efficient way to oxidize the water as it requires no extra parts or additional equipment to purchase.
Older iron filters may have a venturi valve plumbed in before the pressure take as to allow the water to be constantly injected with air when you call for water. This set up is more or less outdated as it requires extra parts, hard to regulate, injects too much air, may damage the pressure tank. Finally, An electrical air pump may be plumbed in upstream of the iron filter. The systems vary in complexity with some having timers, aeration controls etc. Air pumps are more for severe cases and commercial or industrial applications.
In very few cases, Birm can be installed in an automatic backwashing filter without the need for oxidization (air pumps, air injectors etc). These cases are rare and usually occurr in shallow wells, smaller than 50 feet where the dissolved oxygen content is higher than 15% of the iron. Birm media cannot be used with chlorination, hydrogen peroxide injection etc.
Birm Filter Maintenance
Birm Filter Media itself does not require much maintenance. Birm media is not regenerated with any chemicals or regenerant like a lot of the other comparitive medias. The media does require a backwash in order to remove the oxidized ferric iron and any other debris. You can buy birm media from Aquapura since we are a Clack Birm Media supplier.
How does Aquapura Use Birm Media
We use Birm media in our Iron Filter Air Injection systems such as the Purifiner PDAF-1054 Iron Filter . We combine the media with a bag of activated carbon and gravel. This allows us to carry a system which successfully filters out iron, manganese and even hydrogen sulfide thus eliminating iron stains, iron smells and tastes, rotten egg odours and delivering clearer water.
A birm/carbon media system is our best seller for filtering iron and rotten egg odours as it will work in 90% of iron filtration applications. We tend to get about 7-15 years out of Birm media when installed as an iron filter. With elevated levels of Hydrogen Sulfide, we will use catalytic carbon media as it has better catalytic properties which aide in the filtration of filtering H2S.
Birm Filter Media Replacement
Compared to Greensand
We find that a combination of birm and carbon media is an excellent alternative to using Greensand media or Greensand Plus media to reduce iron and manganese in most cases. The main reason is that Greensand filters use an compound known as potassium permanganate to regenerate. This compound is becomming more expensive and less common to find in retail and commercial stores. Potassium Permanganate is also harder to work with as it can stain clothes, tools and is a paint to remove from the skin in concentrated form. We find that a Greensand iron filter does have it’s place in the world of water treatment , but in most cases a simple air injector system with a combination of birm and carbon will do a similar, if not better job at filtering iron, manganese and H2S, without the high consumable cost of potassium permanganate.