The Effect Of Iron In Water And How To Remove It?

But what exactly is the effect of iron in water? Iron makes water stink and have a metallic taste. In high levels, iron changes the color of the water to red, yellow, or brown.

The Effect Of Iron In Water And How To Remove It?

If your municipal authorities get their water from rivers and wells, you are likely to take water that contains too much iron. Especially if you're in regions with lots of dolomite and limestone, there are high chances your tap water has lots of iron in it.

But what exactly is the effect of iron in water? Iron makes water stink and have a metallic taste. In high levels, iron changes the color of the water to red, yellow, or brown.

And how do you remove iron from water? This post analyses the health and economic effects of iron in your home water. Also, find out how to remove the iron ions from your drinking water.

The effect of iron on our tap water 

The iron present in your tap water is not exactly a risk to your health. Your body requires a lot of iron to make blood. More than 70% of the iron found in your body is in your blood and muscle tissues. 

If you don't have enough iron in your blood, you could become anemic. People with insufficient blood or iron cannot utilize their oxygen, and therefore they feel fatigued.

But, when there is a high quantity of iron in the tap water, it looks, tastes, and smells dirty. Also, iron can have adverse effects on your skin and the plumbing systems. Certain bacteria thrive in water that has too much iron.

Here are some of the common effects of iron in our tap water.

Brownish Color

The first effect that you will notice is the discoloration of water. When your tap water has high levels of iron, it could turn rusty red or brownish. Any iron above 0.3 parts per million can discolor your tap water. And even though the water can be safe to drink, the color will be too telling.


And the tap water contains too much iron and gains cloudy sediment. The precipitates are usually oxidized iron that refuses to dissolve in the water.

Metallic taste and smell

If you take a glass of drinking water and then realize it tastes metallic, it's probably because there's too much iron present. High concentrations of this metal change the taste and smell of your water. Iron water could fill your entire bathtub with a metallic smell.

Residues in the pipes

 After some time, the iron sediment build-up in your pipes and clubs or blocks the drainage. The residues typically build up and clog badly, and you may require professional assistance to unblock them. Sometimes, this build-up can cause leakages.

Stained porcelain

 When iron from the water continues to deposit on surfaces for a long time, it could cause discoloration of your beautiful porcelain. In high quantities and concentrations,  iron stains bathtubs, dishes, and laundry surfaces. You can notice the stains due to their conspicuous reddish-brown color. Usually, iron stains are challenging to clean up.

Overgrowth of bacteria

Iron bacteria readily form slime and rust. And although bacteria do not cause diseases, it's likely to promote the growth of disease-causing pathogens such as E.coli. If you are using water from the well, make sure to test it regularly to avoid bacterial contamination.

Itchy, Dry Skin

If you usually feel itchy and dry after bathing, your water probably has too much iron—high levels of iron in bathing water courses some level of hardness. So, the water refuses to mix with soap, and the excessive soapy residues dry up on your skin. This causes dryness, itching, and sometimes cracking of your skin.

Alteration of the appearance of food

When vegetables come into contact with water rich in iron, they change color and become dark. Sometimes, coffee, tea, and vegetables look dark and unappetizing. And in extreme cases, they taste metallic.

Where did iron come from?

Iron forms one of the most abundant elements on the Earth's surface. Iron forms about 5% of the entire Earth's crust. So many rocks contain iron deposits, and the element seeps into rainwater.

Therefore, any time you're using the lake, well, underground, or river water, you are likely to be using high percentages of iron as well. And, because municipal water treatment systems cannot remove these impurities, they will find their way into your taps.

How to remove iron from water?

What is the best way to remove the iron from water? Of course, you have to invest in a water softening technology. Typically, hard water is the terminology for water that contains too much calcium or magnesium. When groundwater flows through rocks rich in limestone, it collects calcium and magnesium ions. But at the same time, these ions come with high levels of iron. 

Get an iron filter for well water to remove all the iron from your drinking or home water.

Test tap water for iron

The surest way to know whether your tap water has iron is to test it at the laboratory. Even though red or yellowish coloration in water may indicate iron presence, it's essential to test for PH, iron bacteria, and alkalinity. Tests such as these will help you decide on the best way to treat your water.

The method used to remove iron from water depends on the form of iron present. A water treatment specialist aims at finding out whether the water has ferrous iron, organic iron, or ferric iron. 

Removing Ferrous Iron From Water

The water from the tap is usually clear but then turns red or brown after settling. Iron filters and water softness, including manganese greensand, remove clear water iron. This method is effective, especially when you are dealing with hard water.

Ferric iron removal

Also known as red water, this form of impurity makes the water red or yellow. If you want to remove ferric iron from your faucet water, use iron filters such as the manganese green sand.

Also, you can inject air or use chemical oxidation methods such as calcium or sodium hypochlorite or carbon filters to make the iron levels go down. 

Then, you can also use a carbon or sediment filter. Water softness can also help in removing tiny amounts of iron from your tap water.


Removing iron bacteria from water

Organic iron can be brown or yellow. The tiny organisms live on the surface of the water, especially in shallow wells. You can use chemical oxidation and then filtration to remove them. And if you want to make your water even cleaner, use distillation, and reverse osmosis systems.

While most iron deposits in water are not harmful to your health, they make it stink and look awful. Any impurity in drinking water can discourage you from taking the recommended glasses. Also, water containing iron deposits ends up blocking water systems and collecting on porcelain sinks and services. Indeed, you will want to remove iron from your home water.

Kellee Maize Team

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