If you’ve noticed staining on your laundry, rusty looking water from your taps, and a strange metallic taste, you may have a high level of iron in your water. Iron is a naturally occurring metal. It is found in soil and water all over the world. But, if you have too much iron, it can create a number of problems that make your water hard to use. Although water isn’t a threat to health, it will make water unpalatable, create stains on your plumbing fixtures and even damage your pipes.
Iron is a Nutrient
This is true, but the iron in water isn’t the primary source of iron that we need to stay healthy. We get more than 95% of our daily iron intake from food and a very tiny remainder from water that should contain trace amounts of iron. So, there are no health benefits to be enjoyed by ignoring the situation.
Water Softeners Remove Iron
This is not true; a standard water softener only removes calcium and magnesium, which causes your water to feel hard. Again, these are naturally occurring, but when the levels become too high, the water is difficult to use. Hard water can damage your water using appliances and plumbing systems.
Insoluble Ferric Iron
This is also known as Fe+3; you can see it in the water, it will not dissolve, and it often looks like flecks of rust. If you see a lot of red discoloration, it is probably ferric iron. Some people may know this by another name, “red-water iron”. This type of iron can be removed with a potassium permanganate filtration media, but many people prefer a synthetic zeolite because it’s not a caustic chemical.
Soluble Ferric Iron
This is known as Fe+2, this iron will fully dissolve in water, and you cannot see it unless you leave water out in a glass for a while. Eventually, you may notice some tiny red particles caused by the exposure to oxygen. The best way to treat Fe+2 is to use oxidation to create a particle that can be removed with filtration. A dedicated iron filter has an air chamber where the ferrous iron is transformed into particulates that can be removed from the water.
Organically Bound Iron
If the iron has combined with other organic materials in the groundwater, such as leaves, roots, vegetation, and more, tannins are created. This makes the water brown like a cup of tea, but the water will have a musty organic taste, and brown stains are created. The positively charged ions found in iron bond with the negative charge in the organic materials. This makes it hard to remove this type of dissolved iron without a dedicated iron filtration system.
Certain bacteria actually feed on dissolved iron, and this can be seen as brown slim where the iron has oxidized. This isn’t harmful to health, but iron bacteria create stains and a foul smell that most people can’t tolerate for long. Another problem with iron bacteria is that it can damage your water softener leading to a repair or earlier than expected replacement. Iron bacteria can be removed with an ozone or chlorine generator to kill the bacteria and prevent a buildup.
If you’re tired of scrubbing stubborn iron stains and you want to taste your favorite beverage again, call your local certified water treatment specialist today.
By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.