Is your well water rusty and orange with a metallic smell or taste? That is a clear telltale sign that the water is contaminated with iron. This happens when iron seeps through the soil or when your plumbing has corroded. Iron contamination in well water can be very annoying as it can damage your property. It can leave stains on your laundry, clog your home appliances and accessories, as well as affect the quality of food that you eat.
Before you lose hope and abandon your iron-contaminated water source, take a look at these possible solutions to your dilemma.
Identifying Iron in Well Water
Before checking out the different methods to remove iron, it is best to start by being more familiar with the type of iron contaminants found in the water. This way, you will be able to select the appropriate iron removal method for your specific situation. There are three types of iron found in well water. They are ferric iron, ferrous iron, and iron bacteria. Ferric iron is the easiest to identify among the three because it is characterized by a distinct reddish to orange hue. Ferrous iron, on the other hand, is known as clear-water iron as it is invisible to the naked eye, and iron bacteria thrive where iron is present. You can use home water test kits to verify the presence of contamination after running a visual test. You can also have samples of your well water sent to a local lab for testing.
Iron-contaminated water is considered hard water. Water softeners are designed to remove minerals, including ferrous iron. However, if the presence of iron in water is too high, a simple water softener is not the best choice. Standard water softeners are not filtration devices and cannot fully treat high levels of iron in your water. The pH level of water is also an indicator of when or when not to use a water softener. If the pH level of water is too high, water softeners will not work.
Aeration of Water
Aeration of water is the method of adding oxygen to the water so you can oxidize the iron. This non-chemical treatment is done by using air injectors. It works by introducing an oxidizer to the water and induce the precipitation of iron. It is known for effectively precipitating dissolved iron. However, there is still a possibility that not all iron will oxidize during this process. It can even clog the filter and damage the air injector. If you intend to completely remove iron, then aeration is not the answer.
Oxidation Iron Filter
For immediate oxidation, a dedicated oxidation iron filter is recommended. Iron filters look like your average water softener except that it uses oxidizing filter media to remove iron from well water. As what you will learn more here, there are different conditions for an iron filter to work effectively. You have to know what type of iron you’re dealing with, to know which type of filter you need. But if your well water contains organic matter, an iron filter alone will not be able to purify that. Make sure to remember that an iron filter does not kill iron bacteria at all. A chemical treatment is required in that case.
The presence of iron in well water promotes the growth of iron bacteria. To effectively remove the bacteria, oxidation can be done by adding chlorine or potassium permanganate in well water. After chemical oxidation, it should be followed by a water filter treatment to remove chlorine or potassium permanganate from the well water. However, if the concentration of iron is too high, then chemical oxidation might not give you all the answers.
Different Solution for Different Types of Iron
For a minimal amount of the excess ferrous solution, a regular water softener is recommended. A specialized iron filter on the other hand, is recommended for well water with iron contamination of seven to fifteen ppm. In cases with more than ten ppm concentration, oxidation with filtrations is suggested. A severe case of iron contamination of around thirty ppm can easily be handled with an air injector.
Ultimately, the best way to remove iron from well water should be based on your needs, skill set, and budget. You also have to take into consideration the PH level of the water as well as the level of iron content and the type of iron contaminants. Whatever method you choose, taking a step-in combating iron contamination is highly important. This not only guarantees the health and safety of your family and yourself, but it also helps you avoid the risks of property damage.