If you’re supplied with water from your own well, you can experience water that has a strange color from time to time. This often manifests as staining on plumbing fixtures and water using appliances. It can also impart a pale coloration in your drinking water that makes it unpalatable to drink. Let’s take a closer look at five common well water stain colors and what they mean.

  1. Pink Stains

If you have pink stains, they typically appear in and/or around the toilet bowl. When the water turns pink, it’s a sign that the water has a very low concentration of chlorine. This phenomenon can be found in both well water and public water supplies. The problem is not caused by the water; the coloration is formed by airborne bacteria, and the best way to deal with it is to clean the toilet regularly using bleach.

  1. Red Stains

If the stains are a darker red or rust color, they are a sure sign that there is a high concentration of iron in the water supply. Iron is a very common element that’s found naturally in the earth, and it’s present in groundwater supplies all over the world. The EPA has set a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 0.3mg/L or 0.3 parts per million. If the concentration level of iron exceeds the MCL, the drinking water will taste bitter and rusty, and there will be staining on laundry and plumbing fixtures. Dissolved iron in well water looks clear, but when it’s exposed to oxidants or oxygen, it becomes oxidized, and this changes the color. An iron analysis can determine the concentration of iron in your well water supply.

  1. Blue Stains

Blue staining is often first noticed in tubs, shower stalls, and on plumbing fixtures. Later, you may notice that your laundry has been affected, and your drinking water may have a bitter taste. Blue stains are usually caused by corrosion in copper pipes, and you may notice the appearance of pinhole leaks. The copper corrosion can be caused by water that has a low pH value making it acidic. A water analysis can help to determine the chemistry of your water supply and discover if it’s corrosive.

  1. Black Stains

Black staining can be caused when iron has combined with sulfates, and this results in iron sulfides in your water supply. This is often accompanied by a strong smell of sulfur when you run your faucets. A water analysis will detect the presence of manganese, iron, sulfates, and hydrogen sulfide that can all contribute to this drop in water quality.

  1. Brown Stains

These often look like light brown tea stains, they are caused by manganese, and this is naturally present in groundwater supplies. Manganese isn’t toxic, but it can cause stomach issues if the levels rise above 0.05 parts per million. The drinking water may taste sour, and it often has a greasy texture that most people find unpalatable. To determine the source of the problem water testing is required for the presence of dissolved manganese and iron and tannins from decayed plant material.

If you’re concerned about the quality of your well water contact a local WQA certified water treatment specialist for advice. Water testing can determine the composition of your water, and this will help you to make informed decisions on your water treatment options.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.