How Do You Remove Iron From Water?

Water that seeps through soil and rock with high concentrations of iron can pick up oxidized iron particles that become suspended in suspension, staining plumbing fixtures and giving the water a red or brown hue. This phenomenon, known as “bacterial iron,” requires very specific treatments such as chemical injection and contact time in order to eradicate.

One common strategy involves placing a bed of manganese greensand between wells with low to moderate iron concentrations and filters in order to provide both an oxidizing environment and filter function for water with such concentrations. Unfortunately, however, this method may not work effectively with higher iron concentrations.


Iron is a common issue facing well water owners, and untreated iron levels can clog your pipes and cause numerous other plumbing issues in your household, such as low water pressure, rusty fixtures, discolored toilets/tubs/showers, foul odors and reddish-brown staining on household appliances/laundry/dishes.

One of the best and cost-efficient ways to remove iron from your water supply is through chlorine treatment. Chlorine has long been recognized as an efficient means of water purification; it cleanses unwanted particles while inducing oxidation processes to separate them from your drinking supply. However, it should be kept in mind that chlorine is an extremely powerful chemical which may become hazardous if it comes in contact with skin or organs.

Before diving into how chlorine can help remove iron from your water supply, it’s essential that we understand how it initially entered. Iron generally enters well water through its distribution systems in its soluble state and is easily dissolvable and transported through to homes via distribution networks.

Ferric iron forms when iron combines with water molecules and forms complexes with other particles found in water, binding together and leaving behind hard, reddish-brown stains that are difficult to filter out of drinking water supplies.

An effective solution to reduce ferric iron levels in your water is by installing a water treatment system featuring an oxidizing filter such as manganese greensand or birm, which convert soluble iron into ferric iron that won’t enter plumbing lines. Such filters often come equipped with calcite to raise pH levels for even greater effectiveness of their oxidizing media and help them work more efficiently.

Another option for iron bacteria removal in swimming pools is using a chlorine injection system. Chlorine acts as a strong oxidizer, dissolving proteins bind to iron that are bound in your water’s proteins – this process, known as oxidation, can be used to help remove iron bacteria when your pool water remains relatively clean compared to when established bacteria settle into slimy layers that make treatment impossible. However, only successful when your pool remains relatively clean so disinfectants have enough chance of reaching any slimy accumulations on the bottom!

Sediment Filters

Iron is one of the most frequently found contaminants in well water. While not considered harmful to consume directly, its presence can cause significant damage to plumbing systems and appliances in your home – leading to costly rusting issues for appliances, fixtures and equipment that cost thousands to fix. Therefore, to avoid such costly situations it’s advisable that any dissolved iron be removed from your water source as soon as possible.

To determine the level of dissolved iron in your water, at-home testing kits offer convenient ways to quickly identify how much there is. Once completed, they’ll give an indication of just how much dissolved iron exists in your supply, helping you select an appropriate filter or treatment method to address this problem.

Your well water contains two forms of iron: soluble clear-water iron and insoluble red-water iron. While sediment filters can remove soluble clear-water iron, in order to filter insoluble red-water iron you must convert its form ferric iron in order to filter it away from your drinking water.

If your water contains high concentrations of dissolved iron, an oxidizer such as manganese greensand can be used to convert it to ferric iron which can then be easily extracted using a standard iron filter system. These systems are highly effective and relatively cost effective to run.

These systems can also help remove impurities such as manganese and bacteria; however, they aren’t as efficient in extracting organically bound iron than more sophisticated systems such as chemical or air injection oxidation.

To determine the optimal iron removal solution for you, it is important to consider various factors, including your budget and amount of dissolved iron present in your solution. It may be worthwhile investing more upfront in an easy and low maintenance iron removal system like chemical or air injection oxidation rather than opting for less costly cartridge-based systems with regularly needing filter replacements.

Water Softeners

Water softeners are effective tools for eliminating calcium and magnesium hardness from water supplies, but they’re less adept at eliminating iron. Iron can stain tubs and sinks or leave reddish-brown residue that clogs pipes; additionally, its presence can foul a water softener’s resin bed and compromise its operation; to keep your softener running efficiently you should add iron out or use special rust remover salts to keep its resin bed free of corrosion-inducing iron deposits.

Water softeners can only effectively treat soluble ferrous iron (Fe+2) that has fully dissipated in your household water supply, which oxidizes ceramics, clothing and toilets, leaving behind an unpleasant rusty taste in its wake. You can test for such iron with easy at-home kits that take only minutes to read them out.

Iron can do more than leave behind unsightly stains and rusty tastes; it can also wreak havoc with plumbing systems and appliances, leading to blocked waterlines, reduced household pressure, altered taste of tea and coffee and an unpleasant residue on faucets, fixtures and pipes.

Water softeners work by exchanging the iron found in your water for sodium through an exchange process known as regeneration. To restore a softener to its former glory, however, requires pouring gallons of salt to replace its resin that has become saturated with iron–an inefficient process that can become costly if your home water supply contains high concentrations of iron.

At Kinetico’s twin-resin tank system, Kinetico offers an effective iron removal system with superior regeneration efficiencies compared to single tank softeners as well as superior resin cleaning abilities. Furthermore, Hague Quality Water of Maryland offers an innovative oxidation iron removal solution designed specifically to provide your house with clean water quality — their Hague Filtration System treats four types of iron: soluble ferrous ferric bacteria and iron algae in addition to providing optimal softener water quality for you and your household.

Chemical Oxidation

Iron and manganese can often be found in ground water. Although considered secondary contaminants and thus do not pose health hazards to humans, they do stain surfaces such as pipes, fixtures, laundry, dishes silverware clothing that come into contact with them such as pipes fixtures fixtures laundry dishes silverware clothing as well as react with tannins in coffee tea and some alcoholic beverages producing black sludge which affects both taste and appearance.

To remove these substances, the oxidation or chemical change process must take place. There are various systems available that can do this effectively; which one you use depends on factors like contamination level and other elements like pH levels, hardness levels and temperature conditions.

One of the most commonly employed strategies is an oxidizing filter. This system contains a filter media bed coated with catalytic material such as Greensand Plus or manufactured zeolite with manganese oxide coating; when water enters this bed it comes into contact with strong oxidizing agents like chlorine which oxidizes iron and manganese from solution, precipitating out when sufficient levels have accumulated to filter them out of solution and ultimately out of solution altogether.

Others types of oxidation systems use potassium permanganate, which is more cost effective than chlorine and works well in water with lower pH levels. When the oxidizing agents form small rust particles they’re captured by filtration and eventually by an additional sediment filter to catch any remaining smaller particles.

Another effective method for reducing dissolved iron is injecting polyphosphate chemical, which works to bind with any dissolved iron and prevent its transport through water. While this approach can work quickly to lower iron and manganese levels, careful water testing must first take place to establish how much polyphosphate should be administered; injection should then occur using a chemical injection pump as close to where your pressure tank or hot water heater discharges water as possible.