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Yellow Well Water Causes and Treatments

Updated on March 12, 2022

Discoloration issues are the most common with well water. Your water can get yellow, cloudy, orange, gray and brown, depending upon the contaminants in it. Well users have frequently reported the yellow well water problem. In this article, we will discuss all the causes behind yellow well water and how you can deal with it.

Generally, yellow water is not a health concern but it is creepy to consume colored water.

Yellow Well Water: Reasons and Solutions

High Concentration of Iron and Manganese

If you notice yellow color appearing in your water after it is kept in a bucket or bathtub for some time, you are a victim of high iron and manganese content in your well water. It is also possible that a high percentage of iron and manganese will alter the taste and smell of water.

Solution – An iron and manganese filter is the best solution to remove high proportions of iron and manganese from well water. If discoloration appears in a swimming pool, you can use a chelating agent or a pool filter to deal with it. For wells with low iron concentrations, a water softener with a dedicated iron filter can also be used. Some people prefer using a combo filter which deals with iron and other contaminants simultaneously.

Recommended Water Filter: SpringWell’s Whole House Well Water Filter System

SpringWell’s Whole House Well Water Filter System

It is one of the best well water filters to remove iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide from well water. The unit can remove up to 7 PPM iron, 1 PPM manganese, and 8 PPM hydrogen sulfide.

The filter is specifically designed for well water and comes with a sediment filter to remove suspended particles in well water. The best thing about this system is that you can upgrade it to add UV purification, an RO drinking water filter, or a salt-based water filter.

Also see: How to Fill a Swimming Pool with Well Water?

Iron Bacteria

Iron in well water

Iron bacteria are a common reason behind yellow colored water from your well. When bacteria combine with iron, manganese, and oxygen, it is termed as iron bacteria. Iron bacteria are not harmful to human health but cause discoloration and change the taste and smell of water.

Solution – You can shock chlorinate your well or install a chlorinator if your well has a recurrent yellow water problem. You will need to install a carbon filter after the chlorinator to remove chlorine smell and taste from water.



Tannins (a yellowish or brownish bitter-tasting organic substance present in some galls, barks, and other plant tissues) are often the reason for yellow-colored water. Tree debris decomposes and forms tannins; it then gets into your water through seeping or damaged well cap. Tannins are harmless and don’t pose any threat to human health.

Solution – Keeping the area near your well neat and clean will reduce tannin contamination in your well. Periodic raking will help you keep your well clean. You can also install sloped concrete pads near your well cap to ensure that rainwater and tree debris doesn’t accumulate there. A more professional approach will be to install a tannin filter. You can also remove tannin with a sediment filter. Activated carbon filters are also effective for removing tannic acid from the water.

Recommended Filter to Remove Tannin from Well Water: SpringWell’s Tannin Removal System

SpringWell’s Tannin Removal System

SpringWell’s tannin removal system can also make your water soft. It is a powerful unit for private wells with tannin contamination and hard water. The unit has two tanks; one for softening water and one for removing tannins.

The system is controlled by a Bluetooth control head for tuning it as per your needs. Moreover, it is easy to install, has a lifetime warranty, and can be paired with a UV water purification system.

Well Structural Problems

The cause of yellow well water can also be linked to well structural problems. A damaged well casing, screen, or well cap might be making way for iron to add up in well and give yellow color to well water.

Solution – It is best to get your well inspected when the water changes color, taste, or smell. You can inspect the outside of the well and well cap yourself. To get the well casing and screen inspected, you would need the services of professional well drillers.

Yellow Hot Water

A lot of private well users have reported yellow hot water with colorless water from cold taps. It indicates iron bacteria deposits inside water heater.

Solution – Flush the water heater or replace the anode rod inside your water heater.

Plumbing Pipe Issues

Iron bacteria deposit inside plumbing pipes can also be the reason behind yellow well water. It can happen at some taps or the entire plumbing system.

Solution – Shock chlorinating your plumbing system often clears this problem as it clears iron bacteria inside it. You may need to replace your home’s plumbing system if nothing else works for you.

How can I find out what’s causing Yellow Water from my Well?

You can conduct a test at home or hire the services of a testing facility. It will help you install the right system to treat yellow water from your well.

Final Words – What’s the best way to deal with Yellow Well Water?

A whole house water filter is the easiest and effective way to treat yellow well water. You may need to repair your well. Make sure you follow all the local laws while modifying or repairing your water well.



  • 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.

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