In this article, I will show you the cheapest way to remove iron from well water. Iron occurs naturally in the earth’s crust. Therefore, it’s common for it to slip into your well water. Presence of iron in well water is undesirable since it alters the smell and taste of water.
Iron also leaves reddish stains on all materials or surfaces it encounters. Thus, it damages water treatment systems and other household appliances. Further, The U.S Environmental protection Agency (EPA) puts the acceptable iron level in well water at 0.3 mg/L. anything above that can cause devastating effects on human health and household appliances.
So, what’s the Cheapest Way to Remove Iron from Well Water? Well, the cheapest ways of removing iron from well water include sedimentation, use of activated charcoal, and water freezing. However, there are more advanced ways of iron removal. They include use of, Reverse Osmosis Filter, Oxidation Filter, and Water Softener System.
Cheapest Way to Remove Iron from Well Water?
As we’ll discuss later on in this article, there are different types of iron found in well water. Therefore, depending on the type and level of iron in your well water, you’ll understand the best iron removal to consider. However, you need to test your water to determine the kind of iron you’re handling.
First Things First!
Let’s discuss these iron removal methods in more detail. We’ll begin with the cheap ways then discuss the advanced methods.
The Cheap Iron Removal Methods Include:
Water sedimentation is one of the inexpensive ways you can use to remove iron from the water. You can use simple storage vessels like buckets, pots, or even large tanks.
Once you fill water in one of the storage vessels, allow all the impurities to settle at the bottom of the vessel. Avoid disturbing the settled particles and pour the water into a separate tank.
The major disadvantage of this method is that the settled sediments may dissolve back in the water when transferring to the recipient tank. Forcing you to repeat the whole process all over again.
Nevertheless, sedimentation is a cheap process that won’t cost you much only your time.
2. Activated Charcoal Removes Iron from Water
Activated carbon filters have the ability to remove a wide range of contaminants, bad tastes, and odors from the water.
So, if you want to clean small amount of water to take with you while travelling, the use of Activated Charcoal is a great option.
The Activated Charcoal is available at your local store. To use this method, cover the Activated Charcoal with a piece of clothing, and then allow water to pass through the clothing via the Activated Charcoal filter.
This simple process ensures you get access to clean water while removing contaminant like iron from the water.
More Advanced and Best Way To Remove Iron from Well Water
3. Oxidation and Filtration
You can also remove iron through oxidation and filtration. When iron level is higher than the recommended 0.3ppm, the best approach is to remove it physically from the water. Hence, the two-stage process (Oxidation and Filtration) follows.
During oxidation process, the dissolved iron transforms from soluble to insoluble form (ferric iron). The oxidized iron particles are now in rust form and remain suspended in water.
During the second stage (filtration), removal of all the suspended particles from your water occurs. To ensure the success of this whole process you need an effective and efficient filtration system. An ineffective filtration process can threaten the whole iron removal process.
4. Aeration to Remove Iron Rom Well Water
Aeration involves the introduction of atmospheric oxygen into water with iron. The oxygen oxidizes the iron into an insoluble form. Normally, 0.14 ppm of oxygen oxidizes 1 ppm of iron.
During the aeration process, take care to avoid insufficient or too high airflow. There should be deliberate control to ensure effectiveness of the process. Airflow that’s too high can cause the water to become corrosive or saturated with the oxygen. On the other hand, insufficient airflow may not oxidize the iron well.
The aeration process involves two methods; one, introducing air into the water by bubbling it. Secondly, dispersing water into the air. However, there are other methods like the use of porous air stones, cone aerators, and cascade trays.
Other than that, it’s crucial to permit the aeration process to successfully finish. Allow a minimum of 20 minutes of detention time before the filtration.
5. Use of Reverse Osmosis Filter to Remove Iron from Well Water
If your water has moderate or low levels of iron maybe between 10-15mg/l, you can consider a reverse osmosis filter. During reverse osmosis, pressurized water passes through a semipermeable membrane. Then, the membrane attracts over 95% of contaminants allowing only clean water to pass.
However, if you require large volumes of water, this is not the method to consider. This method is only viable where you require filtering low volume of water. Therefore, if you leave in an apartment or your space is small consider a reverse osmosis system. It’s not only cheaper but removes a wide range of contaminants including iron.
6. Use of Water Softener System to Remove Iron from Well Water
You can classify Iron contaminated water as hard water. The main job of water softeners is to remove various minerals including ferrous iron. Nonetheless, if the iron levels in your water is too high then a standard water softener will not be effective.
You should know that, although some water softeners can treat iron, not all come with filtration devices. Therefore, they can’t remove high levels of iron in water. Other than that, your water PH level determines whether a water softener is your best choice. A high PH level can inhibit the effectiveness of your softening unit.
7. Chemical Oxidation
High levels of iron in well water provides a perfect ground for the development of iron bacteria. Therefore, you need to choose a method that would successfully remove the iron bacteria. Chemical oxidation is one search method. Oxidation involves introducing potassium permanganate or chlorine.
Once the chemical oxidation is complete, a water filtration process should follow to remove the potassium permanganate or chlorine from the water. I would also recommend using purification tablets.
The chemical oxidation process is effective where the levels of iron is low. In case of too much iron, consider another iron removal method.
Let’s understand the different types of iron found in well water
If you’ve noticed signs of iron in your water, then you need to understand the type of iron present in your well water.
There are three types of iron found in well water. They include
- Ferric Iron
- Ferrous Iron
- Bacterial Iron
1. Ferric Iron
The ferric iron or red water iron is insoluble; this means it’s clearly visible. If you see red or bright orange coloration, it’s a clear indication that your well water has high levels of ferric iron.
So, How Do You Remove Ferric Iron From Well Water?
Install Sediment Filter
A Sediment filter has the ability to remove the iron precipitate present in your water. The sediment filter allows the water to pass through them while blocking all the solid particles from entering the home water system. These filters are effective at removing debris, dirt, and other particles.
2. Ferrous Iron
Ferrous Iron also called clear water iron, it’s a soluble iron that dissolves in water and it’s invisible. You can find this type of iron in deep wells where presence of sunlight is minimal, thus the iron not oxidized.
If pour water that contains Ferrous Iron in a glass, the water will appear, clear. This is because; ferrous is invisible to the naked eye. However, once exposed to atmospheric oxygen, it will oxidize and become ferric, hence form a precipitate. If you decide to leave the glass with ferrous iron overnight, in the morning, you’ll notice reddish brown substance in the glass. This type of iron is still dangerous as it can stain appliances and alter the smell and taste of water.
How Do You Remove Ferrous Iron From Well Water?
Install Water Softener
As we’ve mentioned above, water softeners can remove low levels of ferrous iron from your well water. Water softener work by removing the hard minerals from water using the ion exchange process. During this process, negatively charged ions exchange with positively charged ions. Iron is a positively charged mineral, thus the water softener resin beads will attract it and exchange it with a sodium ion.
Other than that, it’s important to have a sediment filter in place, just in case you’ll need to remove ferric iron from the water. This filter is crucial at preventing water softener clogging with iron slugs.
Oxidizing filters help to remove ferrous iron from well water. To effectively remove the ferrous iron, it’s first converted into ferric iron. This means the iron becomes more visible. Hence, removing it using the oxidizing filters becomes easy.
KDF Filter media features high-purity granulated zinc that has the ability to remove chlorine from water. The KDF filters also removes heavy metals like lead. Most iron filters use KDF filters to convert ferrous into ferric iron and remove it swiftly from the water. So while buying iron filters, consider ones with KDF media in their design.
3. Bacterial Iron
The bacterial iron is hardest and most challenging iron found in well water. This type of iron ensues when bacteria and iron bond inside the well water. The appearance of bacteria iron is bright red and resembles tomato soup. This type of iron mostly occurs in poorly maintained wells.
How to Remove Iron Bacteria from Well Water
This involves introducing high amount of chlorine into the well water. The chlorine acts as a disinfectant that removes all the bacteria that binds to the iron. You can remove the remaining iron using a sediment filter, softener, or oxidizing filter.
How Does Iron Get Into Well Water?
Iron is naturally present in the earth’s crust. Therefore, when it rains, the rainwater penetrates the soil to the earth crust. Iron mixes with the water and finds its way into the aquifers and into the ground water. In most regions the concentration of iron in water is at 0.5 – 10mg per liter.
Effects of Having Too Much Iron in Well Water?
Presence of iron in well water doesn’t cause major health issues to humans. However, in portable form, the iron water is undesirable because of its bad taste and odor. The iron water also can stain appliances, clothes, and surfaces. It also doesn’t feel right on the skin and hair.
Other than that, dissolved iron can promote growth of iron bacteria. Iron bacteria can create black slime layers on the inner side of your piping system. The slime can cause buildup of dirt that can lead to damage of the plumbing system.
We hope that this article on cheapest way to remove iron from well water has been helpful. We’ve gone further to include more advanced ways of removing iron from well water. We hope that you can now confidently deal with any kind of iron contamination.
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