How to Remove Iron from Well Water

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You go to your sink and see a red stain. You then look at your toilet, shower, or your clothes and notice red or brown stains. Your water has a metallic taste and odor.  What could be the problem? These might be an indicator of the presence of iron in your well water.

You might then be wondering how to remove iron from well water. Then, keep reading this article to find out the various types of iron and how you can remove them.

Is it Safe to Drink Water Containing Iron?

If there is iron in your well water, then you might be wondering if there is any danger imposed by drinking such water. The good news is that if there are low levels of iron in your drinking water, you won’t experience any adverse health effects.

How to Remove Iron from Well Water

Iron is considered a secondary contaminant that is not dangerous if consumed. Furthermore, iron is beneficial since it helps in the production of red blood cells. Additionally, it helps transport oxygen in your system.

Therefore, a regulated amount of iron intake is not dangerous to your health. However, if your drinking water contains concentrated amounts of iron, it could be toxic. It can give room for conditions that allow the growth of harmful pathogenic bacteria.

How to Remove Iron from Well Water?

When thinking of removing iron from your well water, you might as well opt to use either a water softener or the best iron filter for well water. However, it is wise to first know and understand the type of iron present in your well water so that you know the best method to apply in removing it.

Therefore, this might call for you to conduct a water test to determine the condition of the water in your well. Additionally, if you use iron test strips, you will know the amount and type of iron in them. Furthermore, having a laboratory analysis of the results can help determine the degree of the problem and the proper treatment to remove the iron.

The following are the various types of iron present in well water and how you can remove them;

  1. Ferrous Iron

If your well water has this type of iron, then it is completely dissolved in the water. Suppose you take a glass of well water containing ferrous iron, it will seem crystal clear but the moment it is subjected to atmospheric conditions, it will oxidize and become a precipitate.

This means that the moment ferrous iron comes in contact with air, it readily oxidizes. Also, it is most common in deep wells that are not exposed to much sunlight making the iron not oxidize.

Therefore, knowing that your water contains ferrous iron may not be easy until you notice red stains as the residue is left in your toilet bowls once the water evaporates.

How to Remove Ferrous Iron From Well Water

  • Water softeners

If the amount of ferrous iron in the water is low, you can use water softeners with ion exchange columns. Water softeners help in the removal of minerals causing water hardness and the iron present in the hard water. For iron to be efficiently removed from the hard water, the ratio of water hardness to iron for the process of ion exchange should be adequate.

On the other hand, if you want to remove iron from soft water, you might as well use an oxidizing filter to reduce the amount of iron in your water. Importantly, you need to frequently flush your water softening system if you are using it to remove the iron from the well water.

  • Birm

You can use this oxidizing agent to remove iron from the well water. If the water has a high Ph level, Birm can be the best oxidizer you can opt for. Also, you can combine it with calcite in your system to increase the Ph of water. In this way, Birm oxidizes and removes the ferrous iron from the well water.

iron in well water

  1. Red (Ferric) Iron

This is iron which has its minerals not dissolved completely in the water. An indicator of this insoluble iron in your well is having bright orange or red-colored water. It occurs when ferrous iron gets oxidized. The ferric iron can clog water filters, and pipes after a while.

How to Remove Ferric Iron From Well Water

If you want to remove Ferric iron from your well water, you can use sediment filters.  The ferric iron needs to be filtered because it occurs as a solid. Using a sediment filter is most efficient if the concentration of the ferric iron in your well water is low.

  1. Bacterial Iron

This is the worst form of iron that can be contained in your well. Such occurs when bacteria present in the well bond with iron. The sign of bacterial iron is a bright red sludge in toilet bowls or tanks. If your well is poorly maintained or serviced, it might have this iron. Its effects are sticking in pipes, clogging of good pumps, and ruining of water softeners.

How to Remove Bacterial Iron From Well Water

You can remove bacterial iron from your well water through shock chlorination. This process is cumbersome and labor-intensive but worth the struggle. It introduces a high concentration of chlorine to your well and gets rid of the iron that is bonded to the well.

This is done to disinfect the water and well. Therefore, to thoroughly remove the bacterial iron, you can introduce shock chlorination to every part of the well. When you are done with the process, you can remove the remaining iron with a water softener or an oxidizer. Additionally, you can install a chlorination system after the retention tank.


The sight of stained materials in your household due to the presence of iron in your well water is not pleasing. Also, the bad taste and odor that come with it are not interesting either.

Therefore, it is important to find an effective way of removing the various types of iron from well water. Moreover, installing a water filtration system in your house could also do you some good.

Jeremy Lee is a researcher and part-time blogger who has a passion to discover cutting-edge technologies related to water filtration. He knows the importance of purified water in our lives and started this blog aiming to provide the best product reviews, buying guides, and other useful information related to water. When not working, he loves to spend time with his beloved wife and two kids.