How To Remove Iron From Well Water: The Complete Guide

Find out the types of iron you can find in well water, and how to deal with each of them

In well water, iron is the most commonly detected contaminant, so you might need to learn how to remove iron from well water.

People who live in rural areas suffer from the adverse effects of its presence. Iron leaves its residue and can clog your drain, leave stains on your utensils, and can develop an unpleasant metallic taste.

There are many ways to eliminate the traces of iron from water to make it drinkable again. However, not all of them are 100% effective and reliable.

We must first dig deeper and identify the root cause of this problem before fully resolving it.

Iron In Well Water: How Does It Get There?

Generally, iron enters your well water by soaking up from the earth’s surface. Earth’s crust is largely composed of iron, resulting in a widespread problem for well owners everywhere.

As heavy rainfall percolates to the soil, it dissolves iron, ushering its deposits into underground aquifers. Iron enters well water sources through melting snow, which seeps through the ground into the water system. The presence of iron in well water is inevitable, regardless of how diligently homeowners keep their wells.

Iron is one of the earth’s most prevalent minerals, making it a common element throughout the planet. Ferric, ferrous, and bacterial forms of iron exist in wells.

There are different ways to filter iron depending on its manifestation.

Types of Iron Found & Ways How to Remove Iron from Well Water

Water is potentially contaminated with three different forms of iron, including Ferric Iron, Ferrous Iron, and Bacterial Iron. A thorough and accurate understanding of the type of iron in your well is essential to removing iron from it.

A variety of solutions are required for the different forms of iron present in water. It is imperative to know what type of iron is present to remove it.

You will learn what standards your water meets and determine the best course of action by doing a water test. You can also use iron test strips to estimate the levels of iron in your well in parts-per-million.

Bacterial Iron

It is not surprising that well water contains some of the nastiest and thickest forms of iron: bacterial iron. Improper maintenance of a well can lead to the formation of red sludge that can contaminate the water.

Removing Instruction: Shock Chlorination

It takes a lot of effort to remove bacterial iron from your well, but the effort is worth it to get rid of the slimy, invasive contamination.

In shock chlorination, highly concentrated chlorine is introduced to a well (around 200ppm) to disinfect its water and its physical contents thoroughly.

It is necessary to shock chlorination of the well directly from the surface to the depth of the well for successful results.

It is best to shock the well to eliminate the bacteria to filter the remaining iron with a softener, oxidizer, or sediment filter.

Ferrous Iron

The iron present in ferrous iron is soluble in water, which means that it has been completely dissolved. Despite its dull appearance, ferrous iron looks crystal clear when placed in a glass.

Once exposed to atmospheric conditions and oxidized, ferrous does not immediately show up as a residue, but once it starts to form ferric precipitates.

Removing Instruction:

  • Water Softeners

Water softeners are a handy and cheapest way to remove iron from well water effectively. In water softeners, hardness minerals are removed from water through ion exchange, a process in which positively charged minerals are exchanged for sodium ions.

Due to iron’s positively charged ion, it will be drawn to the resin beads and exchanged for a sodium ion.

  • Birm

Birm is an oxidizing media that can easily remove iron from well water. It works well in water with higher PH levels by oxidizing ferrous iron and removing it effectively.

  • Manganese Greensand

Unlike brim, Manganese greensand is a chemical oxidizing agent that converts ferrous into ferric and removes it from water.

Ferric Iron

On the other hand, Ferric is an insoluble form of iron. If the water in your well is red or orange, it indicates the presence of ferric iron.

Removing Instruction: Sediments Filters

Using a sub-micron-rated sediment filter, the iron residue that has accumulated in the water can be removed. Solid particles cannot enter household plumbing through sediment filters because the water can flow freely through them.

The sediment filters in your house are excellent at keeping your water clean and pollutant-free. The sediment filter you use must have a micron rating small enough to capture the iron.

Several well-owners prefer natural cotton string wound sediment filters in their well water to remove ferric iron. The solution is suitable for well water with low iron levels since all iron is in ferric form.

If your well also has ferrous iron in addition to ferric iron, a sediment filter will not be able to solve your stained toilets or metallic tasting water.

What Next

Having iron on well water is common, and there are different types of iron, that will have different ways to deal with it.

By now, you should have a good understanding of the types of iron you can find in your well water, and which solutions are possible for your case.