Testing for Iron in Well Water

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  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 40
What You'll Need
Water testing kit

If you are testing well water, you may want to test for iron. The United States Department of Natural Resources does not list iron as a hazardous contaminant, but considers it an aesthetic contaminate. It will give the water not only an odd taste, but also an odor and pigment that stains clothing, fixtures, and dishes. Before you try to correct your water, it should be tested for hardness, pH, bacteria, and iron concentration.

Step 1 - Test Your Water

Do-it-yourself water test kits are available and can be used to test for iron. Many experts believe that extensive testing must be done by professionals to get the best results. These experts also believe that professionals must be consulted to fix the problem. In many locales, you can have your water tested at a County Extension Office. If the local government cannot perform the test, they may still offer you information about water testing.

You can often tell if you have iron in your water just by observation. Soluble iron can be detected by filling a clear glass with water from your well. Let it sit a few minutes. If iron is present, you will notice tiny red particles floating to the bottom. Insoluble iron is the discolored water that you get when you turn on your faucet. It can be red, brown, or yellow. The color continues no matter how long you let the water run.

Step 2 - Remove the Iron

There are many ways to remove iron from your well. In most cases, you should consult with a professional before taking this step. It can be as simple as installing a water softener with an iron filtration system. More drastic solutions involve digging or expanding your existing well.

By following these steps you can test for, and remove, iron in your well.