Iron is the most abundant mineral present in the earth’s crust and eventually, it makes way into your well water. High iron content in water is one of the most frustrating problems for homeowners with wells. From brown coloured water to bright orange staining in toilets and bathtubs, its impact can be seen, smelled, tasted, and felt.
High iron in water stains laundry, toilets, bathtubs, sinks, and your plumbing fixtures by leaving yellowish-brown spots. Vivid orange streaks will appear in your toilet bowl. Bright red and yellow trails will appear around the rim of your sinks and surrounding the drains.
Even in low concentration, iron leaves the water with a metallic aftertaste and smell, which ruins the experience. Any beverage made with iron-rich water also bears the same metallic and bitter taste.
Not to forget, as iron residues flow through your pipes, it can accumulate to clog your plumbing resulting in reduced water pressure and diminished performance from your water-using appliances. The effects can be felt through repair and replacement costs of pumps, pipes, appliances, fixtures, and sprinklers.
Iron is an essential trace element and is necessary for the proper functioning of the human body. The US Environmental Protection Agency considers iron in well water as a secondary contaminant, which means it does not have a direct impact on health.
However, iron toxicity is a possibility when ingesting iron at concentrations higher than 10 ppm and is usually associated with abdominal pain and headaches. High concentrations of manganese ingested over the long term have been shown to cause toxicity to nervous systems in humans. Pregnant women, children, and the elderly are most at risk for a high intake of manganese.
To remove iron from water, the water treatment company must have a thorough understanding of what the iron is in. The first step in removing iron from your water is a detailed water test that will identify the type of iron, concentration, and the pH of water.
Three different types of iron can be present in your well water.
Ferric Iron: It is insoluble and imparts a brownish-orange colouration to your water. It is easier to identify and much easier to remove by the use of a filtration system. It is mostly found in shallow wells.
Ferrous Iron: Unlike ferric iron, ferrous iron is completely soluble in water and invisible to your eye. When the water is exposed to air, it oxidizes and leaves visible brown staining. At low levels, a water softener easily removes ferrous iron from water. However, higher levels of ferrous iron must be oxidized to ferric iron and then remove from water.
Iron bacteria are microorganisms that feed on ferrous iron within the water and leave behind slimy orange sludge in tanks and pipes. In most cases, the elimination of ferrous iron solves this problem as it essentially removes their source of food. In extreme cases, shock chlorination may be needed to disinfect both the water and the well itself.
There may be some temporary fixes for iron stains but there’s one permanent solution: professional water treatment. Watercare specializes in well water treatment and over the years helps many homeowners treat iron and manganese problems in their well water. We use high-quality filtration media such as Katalox, Lanxess, Birm, Crystal Rite, and Manganese Greensand that have proven to eliminate iron and manganese from water.
Our water treatment experts advise detailed water analysis that tests water not only for iron but for other contaminants that may be causing you trouble. We can carry out the tests for you and hand over it to independent laboratories for analysis. Based on your test results, we can recommend a solution that would remove any contaminant present in your water and make your life easier.
In situations where you may be eligible to receive a water treatment grant, we would be more than happy to explain your options and save you money.