Being the fourth most prevalent mineral on the planet's surface, iron can easily contaminate household water when supplied directly from wells.

Unfortunately, even a small amount of iron in water can make life challenging.

That's why, today, we'll teach you about removing iron from well water. Here, we'll explore all of the numerous types of irons found in well water, their effects on everyday life, and how to treat and eliminate them effectively.

Let's get started.

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Ways Iron Gets Into Water

When it rains, the rainwater dissolves into the crust, which is the outermost layer of the earth's surface, as soon as it reaches the ground.

Upon penetration, the iron deposits on the earth's crust combine with the water and accumulate with the surface water. And, as a result, iron-contaminated water collects in wells and is later transferred on to homes.

Now, the amount of iron in well water fluctuates based on the area's environmental formations. In the case of well water in America, the iron content is usually between 0.3 ppm (parts per million) and 10 ppm (parts per million).

Ways Iron Affects Water

If you already have iron-contaminated water, you should be aware that even as low 0.3 ppm (parts per million) of iron might cause problems. The following are some of the most prevalent scenarios:

  • Scenario 1: Changes in taste and smell of the water and emitting a bad metallic stench

  • Scenario 2: Discolouring of skin, hair, and clothing

  • Scenario 3: Damages plumbing system and water supply equipment

  • Scenario 4: Stains on floors, bathtubs, and sinks

As stated previously, the iron concentration ranges from 0.3 ppm (parts per million) to 10 ppm (parts per million) depending on the geographical location.

Even if you had the lowest level of iron in your house, it would still be considerable enough to damage the washrooms and induce skin and clothing discoloration. To put it another way, it doesn't require all that much iron to cause real problems.

Whilst the presence of iron in water is not a serious health risk, it gives water and food a metallic taste and smell, making them unappetizing.

In order to prevent any of these potential problems associated with iron contaminated water, people usually try to remove it from the water.

Ways To Detect Iron

If you suspect that your water is tainted with iron, you are almost certainly correct. This is due to the fact that the effects of iron in water are immediately evident. Here are three easy ways to know for sure if your water has iron content present in it.

  • Taste & Odour - The first and most simple way to detect iron present in water is to smell or taste the water. If you haven't observed anything unusual about your water, your water flow is fine. However, if you are still not sure, smell it to see if it has an unpleasant metallic flavor. The smell of iron is quite strong and impossible to ignore.

  • Stains - In addition to leaving a terrible aftertaste, iron in water produces staining and discoloration due to the orange-colored residue left behind by the metal. Your water is definitely tainted with iron if you observe orange, brown, or similar colored stains on your skin, clothes, or washing areas.

  • Blockages - And, the final way to know if your water has iron present in it, you will have to check for any kind of obstructions in your plumbing fixtures. If you feel any kind of obstruction in the water flow of your dishwasher, tap, or any other fixture, it is extremely probable that the iron is blocking the appliance.

Types Of Iron Found In Water

Now that you've learned about the causes and effects of iron in water, as well as how to identify its presence, we will go through the different types of iron found in water. Primarily, there are four different types, as briefly explained below.

  • Ferrous Iron - A transparent form of iron is one of the most common kinds of iron found in water. This iron, known scientifically as ferrous iron, is soluble and dissolves in water in the same manner as sugar does. Because of its solubility, it cannot be filtered out, just like sugar.

    Because this type of iron is clear and invisible to the naked eye, detecting its existence before it's too late is challenging. When orange stains appear below the water line, and water remains stationary for an extended period of time in some regions, you will observe the changes.

    The reason for this eventual staining is that ferrous iron has a natural propensity to oxidize when exposed to air.

  • Ferric Iron - Ferric iron is the second type of iron present in well water, and it turns the water totally orange. This type of iron looks a lot like ordinary rusting common in well water, and it comes in the form of extremely little particles. Unlike the first type of iron, Ferric iron is solid.

    As a result, it can and should be filtered out at all times. The filtering procedure is simple. It may be filtered out the same way you have every other particle from your water.

    Ferric irons are susceptible to oxidation as well. When these irons come into contact with the air, they leave stains on bathroom and kitchen fixtures.

  • Organic Iron - Another type of iron commonly detected in well water is bacterial iron. Bacterial iron refers to a form of sticky bacteria that thrives on the iron in groundwater.

    In this case, the pump that controls the flow of water from the well introduces this organic iron into the house's water supply system. You'll notice a cloudy appearance in your water if it's tainted with organic or bacterial iron. Filling a glass with it and placing it in front of a light source is an easy way to identify the presence of organic iron.

    Organic iron can be detected by a murky deposit inside the glass. When combined with chlorine-based bleach, this iron creates the worst possible combination. If you use this type of bleach, make sure to remove the iron from the water before washing your clothes.

  • Colloidal Iron - The final type of iron is a lot like the second type, Ferric Iron, in terms of appearance. It gives an orange look to the water. However, it does not deposit at the base when left stagnant for a long time. Sometimes when the iron oxidizes, it forms tiny particles that are about 0.1 to 0.001 micron in diameter.

Ways For Removing Each Kind Of Iron

Seeing as you now know the many types of iron that can be present in water, here are a few strategies to get rid of them.

For Ferrous Iron: Water Softeners & Iron Filters

Let's start with the first type of iron we discussed above, ferrous "clear water" iron. We'll go through the two most efficient ways to get rid of clear water iron, also known as ferrous iron, in this section.

  • Water Softeners - Water softeners are the most common and, comparatively, more effective technique of accomplishing this.

    If your water contains a low proportion of iron, you should use the most prevalent technique of employing water softeners. Water softeners, according to industry experts, can remove up to 10 ppm of iron. However, the recommended limit for such softeners is up to 5 ppm.

    Water softeners are not intended for this use; they are intended to remove hard components such as calcium and magnesium from hard water. When the water is hard, these softeners function best for iron removal.

    However, iron can clog the softener after prolonged usage; therefore it must be backwashed from the softener compound on a regular basis.

  • Iron Filters - For the greatest results, utilize iron filters if your water source contains a higher quantity of iron. Manganese greensand filters, for instance, can easily remove up to 10 ppm iron concentration.

For Ferric Iron: Aeration, Iron & Other Filters

When it comes to Ferric Iron, there are a few different ways of removal. You can pick one of the following ways depending on your level of iron concentration.

  • Aeration System - If your water supply contains a lot of iron, you can start with aeration or chemical oxidation. Aeration is the process of introducing air into iron-contaminated water, while oxidation is the process of introducing chlorine in the form of hypochlorites of calcium or sodium.

    The next step is to filter out the iron. If your iron level is more than 10 ppm, this is the best method.

  • Iron Filters - Iron filters are a standard way of removing iron from ferrous and ferric irons. Iron filters, such as manganese greensand filters, are frequently used to remediate orange water iron. And when your iron content is less than 10 ppm, this is the best option.

  • Other Filters - Other methods, such as carbon filters, sediment filters, and water softeners, can eliminate unwanted traces of iron, but the iron will clog the system quickly.

For Organic Iron: Chemical Oxidation

Organic iron, unlike other types of iron, poses a number of water treatment issues. The oxidation of iron is slowed and sometimes prevented by organic iron. As a result, past treatments such as aeration systems, water softeners, and iron filters do not work as effectively.

  • Chemical Oxidation - Chemically induced oxidation and subsequently filtering the iron from the well water are the best ways to cure this bacterial iron.

For Colloidal Iron: Ultra-Filtration System

Colloidal iron found in well water is usually very tiny in size. The most traditional filters are deemed ineffective by such ultra-fine molecules.

  • Ultra-Filtration System - Because of its minuscule size, you'll require an ultra-filtration system that is expertly designed to filter ultra and nanoparticles. These ultra-filtration devices include everything from 0.5-micron filtration systems to massive filtration systems that can eliminate up to 0.20-micron particles.

    Since these devices are made to filter out even the tiniest particles, they are significantly more successful at removing these specific types of iron.

For All: Distillation

We now have a specific chemical procedure for removing all of the different types of irons.

  • Distillation - This is a straightforward method for purifying any chemical by cooling or heating it. All types of iron content can be removed with this chemical approach, ensuring a supply of clean water all across the household.

Final Words

Now that you've gone through this extensive article about different ways of removing iron from well water, you should be able to find a remedy for the iron contamination in your water.

Let me know in the comments if you need any further help.