Imagine coming home from a long day of work, you turn on the faucet to drink some fresh well water and you get a nice cool glass of brown water.  The thought of drinking brown water is neither appetizing nor appealing. In this article, we discuss what causes that brown water and what to do about it if you experience brown water coming from your private well.

What Causes Brown Water

The cause of brown water in private well water is most likely contamination of manganese and iron.  Both manganese and iron are commonly found in the ground.  When runoff water seeps into the ground, the water might not filter out naturally. As a result, the underground drinking water may contain high levels of manganese and iron.

Is Brown Water Harmful?

Humans need iron and manganese, however, too much can cause health problems. Additionally, infants cannot process manganese like adults, so it can be a health risk to infants as well. Beyond that manganese and iron in water gives water a taste of metal.  It can also cause stains on teeth, laundry, and porcelain.  Lastly, it can cause plumbing to become clogged due to the oil and crust that it leaves on the pipes.

Testing for Manganese and Iron Levels

Yes, manganese and iron levels can be tested in water.  Beyond the vision test of actually seeing brown water or the test for a metallic taste, you can chemically test the water to measure the amount of manganese or iron in the well water. Well owners usually conduct this test in conjunction with other water tests for safety and cleanliness.

How to Treat the Water?

There are three possible solutions to treating high levels of manganese and iron.  These treatments are as follows:

  • Oxidation filtration. This process injects oxygen into the water to oxidize. When water is oxidizing, certain atoms replace other atoms, which break down molecules and purifies the water.
  • Water softener. A water softener softens hard water and also removes manganese and iron. The water softener replaces manganese and iron with sodium. The metallic elements are then filtered out.
  • Reverse osmosis. A reverse osmosis system treats water as it comes out of the faucet itself. In reverse osmosis, a membrane is used that purifies water by removing unwanted molecules from the water.

It is recommended to have some sort of filtration system installed as part of the well system to ensure the water being consumed is purified from any unwanted molecules but also great tasting as well.

Professional Testing

If water from a well system is brown in color or metallic in taste, then it is recommended to have the water tested by a professional.  Although the solution may be easy to fix, it can also be indicative of a greater problem that may need to be diagnosed and resolved.  The professionals at American Pump Services will test your water to the highest professional standards and offer solutions to resolve the problems.