Iron is one of the most troublesome elements in water supplies. Making up at least 5 percent of the earth's crust, iron is one of the earth's most plentiful resources. Rainwater as it infiltrates the soil and underlying geologic formations dissolves iron, causing it to seep into aquifers that serve as sources of groundwater for wells. Although present in drinking water, iron is seldom found at concentrations greater than 10 milligrams per liter (mg/l) or 10 parts per million. However, as little as 0.3 mg/l can cause water to turn a reddish brown color. We experience red, brown, or yellow staining of laundry, glassware, dishes and household fixtures such as bathtubs and sinks. The water may also have a metallic taste and an offensive odor. Water system piping and fixtures can also become restricted or clogged.
There are two types of iron in general:
1. Soluble: "Clear water" iron, is the most common form and the one that creates the most complaints by water users.
2. Insoluble: When insoluble iron, or "red water" iron is poured into a glass, it appears rusty or has a red or yellow color.
Treat your water:
Once you determine whether you have "clear water", "red water", "organic" or "bacterial" iron in your water, you can take steps to correct the problem. Keep in mind that no one treatment method will work for every type of iron problem. A complete water test to determine the extent of your iron problem and possible treatment solutions should include tests for iron concentration, iron bacteria, pH, alkalinity, and hardness. If you receive your water from a public water system and experience red water problems, it is important to contact a utility official to determine whether the red water is from the public system or your home's plumbing or piping. Before going further ask yourselves question like:
1. What form of iron do I have in my water system?
2. According to the water test results, will the water treatment unit remove the total iron concentration? (Total iron includes both soluble and insoluble iron.)
3. Will the treatment unit treat the water at the flow rate required for my water system?
4. Will the pH have to be adjusted prior to a particular treatment?
5. Would the construction of a new well or the reconstruction of an existing well be more cost effective than a long-term iron removal treatment process?
Now you can choose from various methods from Aeration Filtration, Water Softener, Manganese Greensand, Catalytic Filtration "BIRM" Ozonation, Ion Exchange, Sequestering and Chlorination.
Iron is common household water contaminants with no known direct health effects at levels found in water. Their presence may cause staining and offensive tastes and odors. Remember, the type of water you have will determine what type of treatment is possible. No one treatment technique works for every iron problem. In some cases, well construction or reconstruction may be more cost effective than treatment.