We don’t seem to hear much news about the levels of iron in our drinking water and how it gets there. This is an issue that we should all be concerned about; iron in small quantities doesn’t represent much of a health concern, but when ingested in larger amounts it can be harmful. If you have iron in your water supply, you may be interested to learn how it got there and what you can do about it. 

The Cause of Iron in Your Water Supply: mini-flood-1516297

Most of us, receive our water that originated underground prior to reaching our faucets. The water has percolated through successive layers of rock, soil, and sediment. During this journey, various minerals are dissolved in the water and change its composition. Any water that originates from springs or deep wells are usually the sources of high mineral content in your water, and this includes iron. 

How Can You Verify the Presence of Iron? 

Many people believe that the presence of iron would be indicated by a reddish tint in the water. Although iron can affect the color of your water, this is not always the case. Even high levels of iron could be present, and the water would appear to be colorless. This would change if the water were exposed to oxygen, a reaction would occur, and the iron will change color. This oxidation gives the water a rusty color, and if used for laundry the clothes may be covered with reddish brown stains. Another clue could be found in the toilet tank. Iron is a waste product for some bacteria that could be living in your pipes or soil pipe. Any evidence of reddish brown slimy secretions indicates that your water may contain high levels of iron. Finally, even if there is no color difference, you may be able to taste the presence of high levels of iron in your water. The taste will be bittersweet and metallic, but to be sure you need to have your water tested by a laboratory. 

Can Elevated Levels of Iron Affect Your Health? 

The EPA classes iron as a nuisance with regard to exposure via drinking water. They have established clear guidelines to regulate the acceptable levels of iron that are allowed in public water supplies. Despite this, it should be noted that the consumption of large quantities of water, containing high quantities of iron, can lead to hemochromatosis, which is also known as iron overload. This condition could cause health effects, such as joint pain, weight loss, and chronic fatigue. If the issue is not addressed, more serious health problems could develop, including heart disease, organ damage and liver problems. 

If you want to learn more about filtration systems that can handle elevated levels or iron, contact your local water treatment professional. There are many filtration systems available on the market that can handle a wide variety of water quality issues, including a high level of iron. A WQA certified professional can advise you on your water quality issues and the systems that would work well to address them, so they exceed water industry standards.

With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative.  Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices. EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery businesses in the state.