How Do You Remove Iron From Water?

High iron is nasty and terrible for homeowners. Concentrated iron deposition not only damages the house pipeline system and fixtures but also forms bacterial growth in the toilet tank. Water with excessive iron stains cloth, corrode plumbing fixtures and also taste rusty sometimes. Surface water generally does not contain a high amount of dissolved iron basically found in well water.

The USA is largely affected by hard water issues. Many regions of the country are dealing with hard water problems caused due to excessive minerals deposition. The Central US regions like Missouri, Kanas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas noted the complaints regarding high iron content. Also, Minnesota is affected by iron and manganese ions. Iron and manganese both occur naturally in groundwater. They do not cause health issue by the way but damages household a lot.

According to Safe Water Drinking Acts secondary standards for drinking water containing iron is 0.3ppm. If the water contains more than a given scale the operator should be asked to implement effective hydrant flushing program to make it usable.

This article will help you to get all necessary data regarding iron and its removal process. Read this useful information here for more details.

Iron Properties:

Iron is trouble when present in smaller quantities when it is in the high amount it is dreadful. Just 0.3ppm is enough to root rust in the bathroom and kitchen sink. Anything 0.3ppm lowers the efficiency of industrial units.

Iron is symbolized as Fe. They are categorized as

  • Ferrous Iron Fe+ +
  • Ferric Iron Fe+ ++

The natural state of iron in underground water in Ferric state is in the form of ferrous salts. Ferrous salts are highly soluble in nature which completely dissolves in the water. It shows no evidence and cannot be scrutinized by naked eyes. When exposed to oxygen it gets converted in ferric state. A reaction with alkaline water forms ferric hydroxide.

Bacteria and Iron:

Iron promotes bacterial growth in water. When iron is dissolved in water the bacteria’s obtain energy from the chemical reaction that takes places when water comes in contact with oxygen. These bacteria form a thick slime growth on walls, pipes, and well. They look rusty and corroded due to iron oxidation. Variations can cause these slimes to separate from pipe walls and mix in water making it dirty.

Iron growth can be controlled by the chlorination process. Water containing iron when chlorinated forms ferric state which causes rust. This is why chlorine water supply does the same job and rust is mixed with water making it dirty and consumer complains about it.

Well, iron bacteria use an only small amount of iron when it is in the ferric state as compared to ferrous. An iron bacterium can be found wherever the source of iron is present. The presence of one bacterium is enough to start an infestation in well or groundwater.

Iron Controlling or Removing Methods:

Methods to control iron in distribution system acquires arranging of different alternative water sources by adding phosphate or different alternatives like oxidation and filtration.

Alternate Sources:

In many situations abandoning a well and drilling a new one recommended. Also blending well water containing high concentrated minerals with low concentrated water can work too.

Phosphate Treatment:

Phosphate can be added to the elevated iron concentrated water system. This is effective when contains less than 0.3ppm. Phosphate helps in slowing the precipitation process of iron oxidation which reduces the scaling in pipes. This is called sequestration. Pyrophosphate, Tripolyphosphate, and Metaphosphate are effective agents. However the best is sodium phosphate in low amounts. This can only be executed by a skilled professional or technician.

Ion Exchange Removal

Ion exchange process is also favorable for iron removal (home water softening). The water is passed through resin beds directly without oxygen exposure by this dense resin beds attracts iron and other salts and exchange with sodium ions which water drains out of the system. If oxygen is present resin gets fouled due to iron deposition. This process is inexpensive and resin could be cleaned later for another cycle. This is only recommended for home water treatment, not for municipal treatments.


Removing of iron and other minerals from drinking water can be done via filtration. These can get removed via water softening but iron and manganese generally get removed via filtration after oxidation. Two types of filters are famous in this concern i.e. gravity and pressure filters.

The operator should frequently check water quality and collect a sample when water passes through filters. If no iron is present then the filtration process is working well. If iron is found oxidation is not completed. This needs adjustments accordingly.


These were the processes that are implanted in home and Municipal Corporation for removal of iron fillers from the water. However, there are many other methods that are demeanor in this regard which depends on the concentration of iron ions present in water.

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