Home » Contaminants » How to Remove Iron From Well Water?

How to Remove Iron From Well Water?

Updated on May 7, 2020

In this article, we will discuss how you can remove the iron from your well water.

This contaminant is commonly found in well water. The good news is that you can easily remove it from your well water using common disinfection techniques and water treatment systems.

Just a Pro Tip: It is critical to test your well water before installing a water filter/softener. You can either test your water at home using a water testing kit or get it tested from a lab.

water testing kit

Once the contaminants and their concentration is identified, it becomes easier to deal with them.

How to Remove Iron from Well Water?

Iron DetectionMinnesota Department of Health mentions that iron adds a metallic taste to water. It forms yellow, red, or brown stains on dishes, washed clothes, and plumbing fixtures.

It can also lead to scale buildup in water pipes, showerheads, aerators, appliances, well pump, storage tank, and sprinklers.

Iron is usually found as soluble or insoluble forms in water. Let’s see how you can remove iron from well water.

Removal Methods

Sediment Filters – A spin-down sediment filter is best for removing iron particles, dust, debris, hair, sand, and other suspended particles. A sediment filter is usually installed before a water treatment system or the point where water enters your home. Hence, installing a filter with a higher flow rate is critical. Some people also install sediment filters before a pressure tank to protect sediment from settling at the tank’s bottom.

SpringWell’s sediment filter is an excellent option as it gives up to 25 GPM flow rate due to 1-inch ports. Moreover, it has a flush valve to help you clean the filter mesh.

Water Softener – Water softeners make your well water soft by removing calcium and magnesium. Some systems also remove iron from water up to limited concentration.

Oxidation Filters – Oxidation filters use an air stream to oxidize dissolved iron and manganese to convert them into insoluble form. The precipitates are captured by a filtration media and backwashed to refresh the media.

Oxidation filters are usually recommended when your well water has high iron concentration. Here a couple of oxidation filters you can install to remove iron from well water.

SpringWell’s Whole House Well Water Filter System for Iron Removal

SpringWell’s Whole House Well Water Filter System for Iron Removal

Though costly, it is highly effective for removing up to 7 PPM iron, 8 PPM hydrogen sulfide, and 1 PPM manganese from well water.

The system works for 10 years without any issues and comes with a sediment filter to remove suspended particles from water. Moreover, you can customize it by adding a UV purifier, RO filter, or a salt-based water softener to upgrade it to a complete water treatment unit.

Reverse Osmosis Filtration System – A reverse osmosis system uses a very fine membrane to remove a wide range of impurities from your water. RO filters are mostly used for filtering drinking water. This is why they are installed under the kitchen sink. RO filters can remove all sorts of iron from drinking water. However, iron in water isn’t a health issue.

reverse osmosis system

Iron Bacteria in Well Water and their Treatment

Iron bacteria are harmless to humans but can stain various surfaces. Hence, it is critical to remove them. You can use the following methods to remove iron bacteria from well water.

How to Remove Manganese from Well Water?

manganese in well water

Manganese Detection – Manganese contamination must be dealt with immediately. It can cause problems with memory, attention and motor skills. EPA states that the safe level of manganese in water is 0.3mg/L (300 ug/L). If the levels go above this range, you may get to notice a brown color, odor, and an unpleasant taste in your water. The best way to assess the exact amount of manganese in your water is to get your water tested.

Manganese Removal

Most iron removal systems can remove manganese as well. You must compare manganese concentration in your well water before relying on your iron filter to remove it successfully.

How to Remove Sulfur from Well Water?

Sulfur in well water

Sulfur Detection – The most common symptom of sulfur in water is the rotten egg smell. It is a usual problem with private well owners. Sometimes the sulfur bacteria (hydrogen sulfide) may not be present in water but in the plumbing fixtures or water heater. Hence you may need to check water at different points of use to pinpoint the root cause. The best way to rule out sulfur contamination in well is to collect and smell water right after it leaves your well.

Sulfur Removal

Sulfur (rotten egg smell) in hot water can be removed by replacing anode rod in your water heater with a special well water anode rod and servicing your water heater.

Sulfur in cold water can be treated with the following methods.

How to Remove Coliform from Well Water?

Coliform in well water

Coliform Detection – Coliform is a common bacteria found in well water, and unlike other contaminants, it cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted. The only way to know about its presence in well water is to test for it. There are 3 different types of coliform bacteria in water, and they are listed below

  1. Total Coliforms – They are commonly found in soil and in water, which has been exposed to human and animal feces.
  2. Fecal Coliforms – As the name indicates, they are present specifically in the fecal matter of warm-blooded animals.
  3. Escherichia coli (E.coli) – It is found in the animal fecal matter and indicates that disease causing bacteria can be present in water.

To know more about testing bacteria in water, you can read: How to Test Well Water for Bacteria

Coliform Removal

Following are the best ways to remove coliform bacteria from well water

Chlorination – Disinfecting water with chlorine is mandatory after constructing a well or well repair. You can shock chlorinate your well or hire a contractor to do it for you. It is the most effective method of killing bacteria and viruses found in water.

Chlorinator – A chlorinator is installed in wells that have recurrent bacterial contamination problem. The device injects chlorine as per the volume of water passing through it. You need a carbon filter with chlorine because it adds chlorine smell and taste.


Reverse Osmosis Filtration System – RO systems are recommended for treating drinking water. They remove up to 99% of all impurities in water including TDS. Some RO systems come with UV purifiers that are 100% effetve against coliform bacteria.

UV Purification – The most effective protection against all types of pathogens is UV purification. The UV rays eliminate bacteria and viruses ability to reproduce thus making them safe for humans.

UV purifiers are available in standalone models or as a part of multi-stage filters. We would recommend you SpringWell’s UV purifier. It kills up to 99.9% of bacteria in water and makes it fit for drinking. The UV bulb lasts for 1-2 years. You can also upgrade the system with an iron filter, a RO filter, or a whole house well water filter.

SpringWell's UV purifier


Which is the best water testing kit for well water?

SpringWell’s water testing kit is best for home testing of well water. It can test your water for 52 different parameters, including lead, iron, bacteria, fluoride, and many more.

Which is the best filter for removing iron and manganese from well water?

SpringWell’s whole house iron filter is best for removing iron, manganese and sulfur from well water. It is easy to install, provides a decent flow rate and doesn’t require frequent installation.

What is the most effective way to make my water chlorine-free?

You can install a carbon filter to remove chlorine taste and smell from well water. RO filters are also 99% effective against chlorine in drinking water.

Final Words – The Best Setup

The best setup for your well water depends on what contaminants you want to remove. Some wells only have sediment and iron; others may have manganese, sulfur, or lead. Private wells near industrial waste dumping sites often have recurrent bacterial contaminations, while wells near coastal areas have high chloride levels (salty water).

Hence, you must test your well water and install water treatment units.


  • Earl Rojo

    Earl Rojo has been a senior mechanic in well drilling and maintenance firms for 3 years. He is from Longview, Texas, and he loves sharing his experience with others. He frequently writes on various well water issues with a special focus on well maintenance and drinking water quality.

Leave a Comment