IRON water in Nebraska
While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not classify elevated concentrations of iron in drinking water to be a health hazard and higher levels of iron are a common issue in Nebraska water , it can cause other problems around the home. Iron in water supplies can leave water tasting, well metallic and colored usually brown, yellow or red (rust.) Excess level of iron can also cause clothing, fixtures or even skin to become stained. This can be particularly problematic in bathrooms or kitchens with light colored fixtures. Although the iron discoloration does not cause the aggressive damage seen with other minerals, this staining is a nuisance and can compromise the aesthetic appearance of your home.
In addition to the obvious staining of clothing, sinks, tubs etc., excess iron over time, the immediate issues are usually related to the water tasting odd. This metallic tang can affect how food prepared using water (tea and coffee for one are awful with iron water.) Many homeowners with an excessive iron water problem find that clothing washed in the home can become tinted brown, yellow or red, which obviously causes damage. Often these stains cannot be simply rinsed out, as the water source itself is the problem. If you have a pool filled with contaminated water, swimmers may find that their skin, nails and hair can also become tinted and stained.
How Does one Correct an Iron Water Problem?
There are a number of ways to correct the issue. If you are on a public water supply, you will need to have some tests performed to establish the iron levels in your water. This data can then be presented to your local municipal authority to have them verify and correct the issue.
However, if your water is on a private well water system, you will need to fix the issue yourself. There are a number of ways to correct an iron water problem. Initially, you should speak to your neighbors on the shared system to determine if they are also having the same issues.
While many consider using chemical products like Chlorine, Hydrogen Peroxide or Potassium Permanganate to correct an excess iron issue in their water supply, there are other, more eco conscious and safe approach is to use an iron removal filter. One of the new approaches includes using Air as an oxidant (but in the presence of IRON bacteria that will make the problem far WORSE, so makes sure to have a professional determine this in advance).
The other technology is corona discharge ozone, which allows iron to be converted into rust particles, which can be filtered out of the water before it is used. This eliminates the potential need to use chemical feed pumps for bacteria and the mixing of chemicals. This more environmentally sensitive option is also usually safe for septic systems. Ozone is actually a stronger oxidizer than chlorine (by 1 and a half times) and many times faster, it also readily changes iron to rust particles that are filtered out and converts the “rotten egg” odor into harmless sulfur that are also filtered.
Although excess iron in your water supply may not seem like a big deal, if you have it… you know it’s a PAIN. Not only will its proper elimination ensure that your clothing and bathroom fixtures do not become stained, but you can have the assurance that your water is safe to drink.
About The Author, Terry Reeh, Partner EcoWater Systems of Nebraska:
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. In addition to running the day-to-day operations of EcoWater Systems of Nebraska, one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery enterprises in the state, 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.