After hardness and hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell) in well water,
iron is the most common water problem dealt with by homeowners with well water.
An iron problem is characterized by the red-brown staining of bathroom fixtures
Iron is typically present in well water in three common forms. While there
are other forms of iron in well water, they are typically much less common than
the three listed below.
Bacterial Iron in Well Water
Iron bacteria are usually identified by slime in places such as toilet
reservoirs or by the presence of a slimy mass fouling softeners or filters.
- Ferric Iron in Well Water
Also known as red water iron, ferric iron in well water is essentially
clear water iron that has been exposed to oxygen – usually from the air,
thereby oxidizing. Carbon dioxide leaves the water and the oxygen
combines with the iron to form ferric ions (Fe+++). This gives the water
a red rust coloring.
Ferrous Iron in Well Water
Often called Clear-water iron because it is clear when poured, this substance is found in water that
contains no oxygen. Typically, it comes from deeper wells and groundwater
sources. Carbon dioxide acts on iron in the ground to form soluble ferrous
bicarbonate. In water this forms ferrous ions (Fe++).
Unfortunately, iron is also difficult to treat to a satisfactory level.
This difficulty is due to the fact that iron can be found in well water in
several forms, each of which may require a different water treatment for
removal or control. Other factors, like the pH level of the well water,
will also affect how successful a well water treatment approach will be.
However, once the well water conditions are known, choosing the best iron
removal method or treatment is straightforward.
iron nor manganese in water presents a health hazard. However, their presence
in water may cause taste, staining and accumulation problems.Because
iron and manganese are chemically similar, they cause similar problems. Iron
will cause reddish-brown staining of laundry, porcelain, dishes, utensils and
even glassware. Manganese acts in a similar way but causes a brownish-black
stain. Soaps and detergents do not remove these stains, and the use of chlorine
bleach and alkaline builders (such as sodium carbonate) can actually intensify
and manganese deposits will build up in pipelines, pressure tanks, water
heaters, appliances, water softeners and water filters. This reduces the available quantity and pressure
of the water supply. Iron and manganese accumulations become an economic
problem when water supply or water softening/treatment equipment must be replaced. Also,
pumping water through constricted pipes or heating water with heating rods
coated with iron or manganese minerals increase energy costs.
How to tell if you have iron!
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