Reducing Iron In Well Water

Iron is a common element in the earth's crust that sometimes ends up in your well. As water percolates through the soil and rock, it carries iron into the groundwater. Corroding iron pipes can also leach iron into a household water supply.

Monty Dozier is an ag regional program director with the Texas Agrilife Extension Service. He says it's usually very obvious when there's iron in the well water.

"You can suspect it if you've got a metallic kind of taste, an odor, or typically we'll see a color change to the water. If it's an iron situation, you'll see a brownish to red tint, and you'll see those stains show up," he says. "Typically people see it on their dishes, the fixtures around the house, or a lot of times we'll see it as they've watered the yard on the concrete."

Dozier says there aren't any major health issues from drinking the water. It's more of an annoyance. But if you want to get rid of iron, one option is to drill a new well in another location or drill deeper into your existing well. If you choose to treat the water, have it tested to determine the concentration of iron. This will indicate the best treatment method.

"You can have an oxidizing filter that is for concentrations up to 15 milligrams per liter, again, your water test will report that for you. Another thing is to aerate and filtrate, you can also apply pressure-type aerators to do whole-house type water systems," says Dozier.

Contact your extension office, health department, or utility to get information on testing.