Many Minnesota homes run off of well water systems — and if your home is one of them, listen up!
While private wells allow homeowners, like yourself, to avoid the issues raised by chlorinated drinking systems, well water systems are certainly not a cure-all solution for perfect water. In fact, one of the major issues that well water households encounter is an alarming amount of iron found in their water and deposited within their plumbing. Why does this matter? Iron can clog wells, plug up sprinklers and ruin plumbing and water-using appliances.
Here’s What You Need to Know About Iron Contamination:
There are three major forms of iron that present issues in well water systems: ferrous iron, ferric iron, and organic iron. Here are ways to detect and deal with these three forms of iron in a well water system.
Ferrous Iron a.k.a. Clear-Water Iron
Detection: Ferrous iron is slightly more difficult to detect than ferric iron because it doesn’t immediately show when you are running your water. Ferrous iron shows when water has been left out (in glasses that were left filled overnight, etc.) or in water that has not been used for a while. If you leave a glass of water in the sink overnight or leave home for a few days and have water that comes out a brown or reddish color, you most likely have ferrous iron in your well.
Solution: Most ferrous iron can be taken out by a water softener. However, over time, the iron will plug up the softener, forcing you to clean out the system by backwashing the resin. If the water hardness is low and the iron content is high, or if the water system allows contact with air, such as occurs in an air-charged “galvanized” pressure tank, a softener will not work well.
Ferric Iron a.k.a. Red-Water Iron
Detection: Ferric iron shows up immediately when you turn on the tap. The water will run a red, yellow, or orange color right out of the spigot.
Solution: Filtration is key in dealing with ferric iron. Iron filters are the most common treatment choice, followed by aeration (injecting air) or chemical oxidations — which are typically used if the iron levels are above 10 mg/L.
Organic Iron and Tannins
Detection: Tannins are natural irons made by vegetation that stain water a tea-color. In fact, when tea or coffee is made with tannin water, a black residue forms. Organic iron, on the other hand, is a compound made when an organic acid mixes with iron. These usually occur in shallow wells or wells affected by surface water.
Solution: For some, chemical oxidation followed by filtration may be an option.
If you suspect that iron is wreaking havoc on your home’s plumbing, it’s may be time to call in the pros. Our water experts can provide a complimentary water analysis, in order to determine which type of iron your home has and devise the best possible plan for water conditioning and treatment.