There is nothing quite like a tall, cold glass of pure, refreshing water! Unfortunately, well water in many of the areas surrounding Boise tends to taste like… you have a bloody lip. Yuck.
When various attempts to reduce iron in well water prove unsuccessful, the problem leaves people frustrated enough to either sell their house of even drill a new well. Let’s explore how iron enters wells in the areas outside of Boise and the means of eliminating iron from residents’ water supplies.
How Iron Gets into Well Water
Iron has two means of infiltrating well water: seepage and corrosion.
Water in the form of rain or melted snow travels from the ground’s surface and through the soil to become part of a water supply. If the soil contains iron, the iron can dissolve into the wandering water and travel with it. Consider excessive amounts of tag-along iron as unwelcome extra baggage accumulated on water’s journey.
Exposure to a combination of water and oxygen causes iron to deteriorate; the casings and pipes of a well water supply have a passing acquaintance with both factors. If the casings and pipes contain iron, the acquaintance leads to this deterioration. Rust, the natural by-product of iron corrosion, flakes off the well’s components and into the water traveling from the well to our taps.
Is iron In Well Water Harmful?
Human bodies require iron to function properly, but iron, like many substances, is toxic at high dosages. However, you could not drink enough water to consume toxic levels of iron.
The Environmental Protection Agency considers iron in well water as a secondary contaminant, which means it does not have a direct impact on health. The Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level set out by the EPA is 0.3 milligrams per liter, but this is merely a guideline and not a federal standard. Typically around 15 mg/L, Idaho’s well water does contain quite high amounts of iron, but the level is still not enough to cause physical harm.
Is iron in well water harmful? Truthfully, it will not affect your health, but it will cause costly damage and other issues.
Damage Caused by Iron in Well Water
Iron in well water takes its toll on laundry, dishes and water receptacles, such as sinks and tubs. The toll price is red, yellow or brown stains that are difficult – if not impossible – to remove.
When iron travels with water, it sometimes stops for extended stays where it is least wanted. Iron stays put, accumulates and clogs dishwashers, washing machines, sprinklers, wells, water pumps and other similar appliances and accessories. This unwanted visitor causes damage requiring expensive repairs.
How to Remove Iron from Well Water
Here are the four main treatment methods answer the question of how to remove iron from well water without the need to find a new water source:
Designed to remove minerals that cause hard water, softeners do remove small amounts of iron. Unfortunately, water softeners are not a filtration media so iron seems to settle into the tank, and backwash rates are never high enough to purge concentrations of heavy metals. So a water softener alone is not the solution.
This method adds oxygen to the water to oxidize the iron. (Iron Zapper System)
This causes immediate oxidation and adds a reverse (backwash) flush system. (Iron Zapper System)
Adds Chlorine or Hydrogen Peroxide to oxidize/destroy the iron. A water filter treatment system is then used to remove the chlorine or hydrogen peroxide from the water before use. (Iron Zapper System)
What about Iron Bacteria?
Iron bacteria are tiny creatures that feed off iron and leave behind iron waste deposits. Similar to straight iron in water, they cause unpleasant stains, tastes and odors; additionally, they leave behind slime that sticks to pipes and fixtures and can introduce other, harmful bacteria.
The three main control methods for iron bacteria are: chemical treatment, pasteurization and physical removal. However, high concentrations of the bacteria may prove expensive and stubborn to remove, and control efforts may be only minimally successful.
There is a solution that has proven very successful…