Iron Bacteria

What is Iron Bacteria?

Microscopic View of Iron BacteriaIron Bacteria is a name for a large diverse group of bacteria that have a significant effect on water treatment and distribution systems. Iron bacteria derive their energy (to grow) from oxidation of the soluble Ferrous Iron (which is present in groundwater) to the insoluble Ferric form. Only a small amount of energy is produced from this reaction, therefore Iron Bacteria have to oxidize large amounts of iron in order to grow. The result is an accumulation of Iron Precipitates along with Bacteria that form into Biofilms that excrete "slime". This "slime" enables the Iron Bacteria to attach to surfaces such as pipes and pumps. Iron Bacteria causes restricted well performance from the plugging of groundwater extraction as well as the clogging of well parts including screens, casing, inlets etc. The blocking of these components can be extremely rapid, and reduce the flow of wells to below operational requirements in a short period of time. In some cases it can cause pump burnout or the complete obstruction of components and prevent water flow completely. This of course, increases the cost of repairs, plumbing and maintenance. Iron Bacteria can also cause other problems such as corrosion of plumbing, turbidity, odor, and staining of water (which is usually red, orange or brown).

What Causes Iron Bacteria?

The source of Iron Bacteria is often unknown. Iron Bacteria may already be present in the groundwater and become introduced into a bore through the plumbing after a well is drilled. Iron bacteria can also be introduced into a bore due to cross contamination from equipment previously exposed to Iron Bacteria. This includes tools, equipment, water used for drilling and second hand parts. It is important to sterilize equipment before use.

How to Tell if You Have Iron Bacteria:Iron Bacteria in Water

A simple home test can be done to Check for Iron Bacteria. A sample of water can be collected from the closest outlet to the bore in a clear sealable bottle (such as a clean water or soda bottle) Let the water sit for 24 hours, if Iron Bacteria are present they will generally form small clumps of iron colored material suspended in the water. Other indications of Iron Bacteria are rusty colored slimy build up on pipes, reduced water flow or rusty colored water. A Visual Test can provide information as well.

How to Treat Iron Bacteria:

The best treatment for iron bacteria in private well water is normally the combination of a Chemical Feeder System and a Terminox® ISM backwashing sulfur and iron filter. Not only is this system extremely efficient and economical in removing iron bacteria, but it also removes sulfur, manganese, dirt, turbidity, taste, smells, color and even strong chemicals such as chlorine. One of the huge advantages of this system as well is that it can also raise the pH of the water if needed in most cases. This is a great water treatment solution for private wells, irrigation systems, sprinkler systems and virtually every other situation where iron bacteria is present in your water supply. And this system makes the water clean and tasty for your whole family!

How it works:

You simply fill the container provided with this system with water and a small amount of chlorine. The treatment system injects this light mixture into your water line, usually right before the pressure tank (Bladder tank) if you have one, and then the Terminox™ ISM filter removes the iron and dead iron bacteria. And if you have any rotten egg smells or any manganese (Black stuff) or any bad tastes or odors, it removes those as well leaving the water clean and wonderful with no staining on your toilets, fixtures, clothes washers and dishwashers.

How to get the right size equipment:

Simply pick up the phone and call our toll free number at 800-684-0979. Our expert technicians will answer the phone and get you squared away. Or you can use our live chat service (It is free); or send us an e-mail ( And remember our technicians do NOT work on commission and are NEVER allowed to ask you to buy anything or pressure you in ANY way. They just answer your questions and give you great advice. And they are really nice and patient! So don't worry. Iron problems and iron bacteria problems in private wells are easy and inexpensive to fix. Just give us a call right now.

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Chlorination and disinfection are needed to treat Iron Bacteria problems. Look at these links for the best options to treat your well.

Chemical Feed Systems:

Terminox™ Iron Filters: