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Groundwater Contamination: Iron


Detecting and Treating Iron in Water

What is iron?

Iron is a common element in the Earth’s crust and can naturally seep into groundwater, affecting private well water quality. 

Where does it come from?

As rain falls or snow melts on the land surface and water seeps through iron-bearing soil and rock, iron can be dissolved into the water. In some cases, iron can also result from corrosion of iron or steel well casing or water pipes.

Is iron a health hazard?

While iron is not generally harmful to health, it can cause aesthetic issues, imparting a metallic taste, staining laundry, and creating rusty deposits in plumbing fixtures. The EPA does not have a specific health-based standard for iron in drinking water, but it does set a secondary maximum contaminant level (SMCL) of 0.3 ppm for iron due to aesthetic concerns. 

When should I test?

Regular testing for iron in well water is recommended, particularly if you observe discoloration or experience taste issues. Treatment options such as water softeners, oxidation filters, or sediment filters can help address elevated iron levels and improve the overall quality of your drinking water.

In summary, while iron is a naturally occurring element, its presence in drinking water can lead to taste, odor, and staining concerns. Regular testing, especially if you notice any issues, is advisable. If levels exceed recommended standards, appropriate measures, such as installing water treatment devices or addressing plumbing concerns, may be necessary to ensure safe and aesthetically pleasing drinking water.

The Right Solution Starts with an Accurate Test

man holding flask while testing water

U.S. Water offers comprehensive well water testing services through its Wisconsin state-certified water testing lab. This ensures the most accurate testing and, with our test facility onsite, you are guaranteed a fast turnaround time. In addition to our basic analysis, we offer a full range of certified water tests and well inspection services.

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