Iron, also known as Fe, is the fourth most common element found in the Earth’s crust. Iron is commonly found in groundwater, which is the source for private wells. Iron can also be found in older household pipes and dead-ends in water distribution pipes.
There are four types of iron:
Dissolved Iron: Ferrous iron is commonly found in well water supplies and is soluble in water. This makes water appear clear at first glance, but becomes cloudy or colored as the water is exposed to oxygen.
Particulate Iron: Particulate iron is ferrous iron that has precipitated with alkalinity to form the orange-brown, rust-like stain that is a common side effect of iron in water. There are two types of particulate iron: filterable iron, which contains particles large enough to be reduced by a filter, and colloidal iron, which contains insoluble particles that are small enough to require further water treatment.
Organic Bound Iron: This type of iron attaches itself to another organic compound, such as tannins, in the water. Yellow or yellowish-brown water is often a result of this type of iron.
Iron Bacteria: When iron is exposed to oxygen in the soil, iron bacteria can form. Iron bacteria can cause bad tastes and odors, discolored water, and can reduce water flow rate by clogging pipes.
Because of its abundant presence in the Earth’s crust, iron is commonly found in soil and sediment. Water that travels underground through this soil and sediment may pick up iron on its way to source a private well. These private wells then provide drinking water to about 15% of Americans.
Rainwater can also be the source of iron in water. When water falls as rain, it can pick up iron through the atmosphere, landing in many surface water sources such as creeks, lakes and rivers.
Water treatment is available to reduce iron in water. To minimize metallic taste, rust stains and discoloration, water may be filtered or undergo an ion exchange to reduce soluble iron or iron that is too small to be filtered.
In some cases, both filtration and water softening may be required. The Culligan High Efficiency Iron-Cleer® reduces the presence of iron through filtration as well as ion exchange water softening.
If you have well water, you may consider the Culligan Softener-Cleer or Softener-Cleer Plus Water Conditioners. These multi-purpose water treatment systems are designed to reduce iron and iron bacteria specifically in well water.
The Culligan Sulfur-Cleer® Filter also reduces iron through filtration while Ion Exchange Water Softeners may reduce iron through ion exchange water softening.
Do you have signs of iron in your water? A water test is the best way to find out if you have iron in your water. Your local Culligan Man can test your water to find out if iron is present and what type it is. From there, he will determine the best iron reduction filter for you and create a water treatment solution that will make your water taste and look better.
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