Ideally drinking water is pure, but because water dissolves minerals it’s not uncommon for iron to get in drinking water. Iron in water gives the water a strange, metallic taste and causes rust-colored stains on household items. The presence of iron in water is not necessarily a bad thing, as iron has many health benefits, but it does come with a few health risks, as well. Various systems are available to remove iron from drinking water if necessary.
How Iron In Water Collects
Iron, one of the planet’s most abundant resources, makes up at least five percent of the soil. As water seeps through the soil it dissolves the iron, carrying it to wells, reservoirs and aquifers.
How Do You Know If There Is Iron In Water?
Iron makes water taste metallic, and if present in a high enough concentration turns it a reddish-brown color. Households with iron in their water supply may notice rusty stains in their sinks, tainting their ceramics in the dishwasher, or even staining clothes in the washing machine.
Is Iron in Water Always Bad?
No, iron is not always bad. In fact, it’s a necessary mineral for maintaining health. Iron aids the formation of hemoglobin, which distributes oxygen through the body to the cells. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, chronic fatigue and compromise your immune system. For this reason a certain amount of iron in drinking water can actually be a good thing, although it doesn’t usually have a large positive impact overall.
How Will Iron In Water Hurt Us?
Getting too much iron is not associated with serious health risks. However, the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA warns that where iron is present in water there may also be other impurities, such as iron bacteria. Iron bacteria builds up and forms an ugly brown sludge in pipes and wells. A small number of people have a genetic mutation that makes them susceptible to “iron overload,” although even they don’t often get it from drinking iron in water. Iron overload eventually leads to hemochromatosis, which seriously damages the body’s organs and can develop into heart disease, diabetes and liver issues.
How Can I Remove the Iron in Water?
There are many different types of iron contamination that determine the method of removal. Nanofiltration removes dissolved solids from water, and whole-house filtration systems are available that purify the water used in appliances as well as the drinking water.
The presence of iron in water is not necessarily a bad thing and does not generally cause health problems, but it can be a nuisance. Having water tested to determine what kind of contamination is present is the first step in the process of removing it.