How To Remove Iron Bacteria From Well Water

More and more attention is being paid to a little critter called Iron Bacteria.

What is Iron Bacteria?

Iron Bacteria are harmless to humans – that’s the good news. The bad news – they thrive in high iron water because irons is a perfect food source for Iron Bacteria.

Grosser still, the bacteria eat, and excrete, iron. And the more they eat and excrete, the more slime they produce which forms large, gelatinous, slimy colonies in your well.

How Does This Affect My Well Water?

The excretions get sucked into your submersible well pump and clog up the moving parts inside the pump. And they can clog the pipe that connects the well to your house, decreasing your water pressure and potentially causing damage to your pump. The pump will need to run longer to fill your pressure tank with water, putting stress on the motor and eventually burn it out.

Inside the home, the thick slime can coat household plumbing, clog up water treatment valves and turn to sludge inside water treatment tanks, requiring expensive swaps.

The iron bacteria “poop” is encapsulated in slime, so water softeners are unable to remove it which leads to staining inside the home.

It gets worse.

The environment created by Iron Bacteria can also be alluring to other annoying, yet harmless, bacteria called Sulfur Bacteria. This bacteria can make your water smell like rotten eggs, and Iron Bacteria can cause a musty, swampy odor.

Common Signs of Iron Bacteria

Although they are not pathogenic, Iron Bacteria cause ongoing staining in your laundry, sinks, tubs, fixtures, appliances, and even your dishes. Look for:

  • Orange, slimy film in your toilet
  • Clogged sediment filters
  • Clogged pipes
  • Premature pump failure
  • Poor water pressure
  • Musty, swampy, sewage-like odors
  • Colored water
  • Fouled water treatment equipment leading to costly repairs and tank swaps

How Do I Remove Iron Bacteria From My Well?

A cartridge filter it is a good first step to protecting the plumbing and water treatment equipment, but you may find that you are changing the cartridge very frequently, costing you time and money.

Some methods use a combination of chemicals and high pressure cleaning to purge the bacteria. Depending on the well, the water chemistry and the severity of the Iron Bacteria, this can take days to a week and cost upwards of $6000.

A more economical approach to control the Iron Bacteria is with routine well chlorinations.

While this will not eliminate the Iron Bacteria, it will keep the colonies at levels that won’t clog your plumbing, pipes and water treatment equipment.

Simply put, a well chlorination is when you pour bleach into your well and allowed to sit for ideally 24 hours. The bleach will kill MOST of the bacteria. After the 24 hours, you run water outside to flush the well and to remove the chlorine dead bacteria. That can take a few hours to a day or two depending on the severity of the problem.

If your Iron Bacteria issues are mild to moderate, it is recommended to perform a well chlorination yearly. For more severe infestations, sometimes 2-4 times per year is needed.

Routine chlorinations are extremely effective at helping control Iron Bacteria populations, which in turn helps extend the life of your well pump, plumbing and water treatment equipment.



Can a Water Treatment Company Help?

Yes, we can perform a well chlorination for you. To learn more, visit our website.