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How To Remove Iron Bacteria From My Well Water?

Mr Bulfin,

Our problem is Iron Bacteria.  We live outside of town and use well water.  

We get reddish rusty water and per your suggestion, I looked in the toilet flush tanks, and they are covered with slime and what looks like orange hair growing out from the sides of the toilet flush tank.  We also get some bad sulfur odors, mostly if we leave the house for a few days to visit my parents or go out of town.

We have a filter on the main pipe after our pressure tank, and that gets covered with orange slimy sediment too.  I am pretty sure we have Iron bacteria, but how do I get rid of it?  I am on a low budget, sorry to say!

Austin Texas


Thanks for emailing.  This is a common problem.  Iron and sulfur bacteria use the iron to create their cell walls, and in the process create slime and often odors as well.   Iron bacteria naturally occur in soil, shallow groundwater, and surface waters.

These nuisance bacteria combine iron (or manganese) and oxygen to form deposits of "rust," bacterial cells, and a slimy material that sticks the bacteria to well pipes, pumps, and plumbing fixtures.

One way to help cut down on the amount of iron bacteria in the well itself is to periodically do a Chlorine shock of the well.  

See more information on disinfecting the well with chlorine here.

If you have a serious problem in your well itself with iron bacteria, you will need to contact a well professional to get help in trying to eliminate the slime down in the well. 

To eliminate it in the pipes above ground, the lowest cost and best approach is to use an automatic chlorinator, followed by a filter to remove the rust and chlorine.

The chlorine injection system uses a metering pump that is wired to load side of your pressure switch so that the pump comes on with your well. The pump will inject a mixture of chlorine and water into the plumbing via the injection check valve. Since we wire this to your pressure switch, we need to confirm the voltage of your well pump (usually it is 220v however).

Once the chlorine is injected, we need “retention time” for the chlorine to react with the water and destroy the iron bacteria. This is done using a contact tank. A 40 gallon contact tank will be able to provide ample retention time for the chlorine to react with the water.

After the contact tank we can go into the iron filter. The iron filter will remove the iron and manganese from the water. It also loves the presence of chlorine and will take a lot of the left over chlorine from the water.

You shouldn’t have more than city water levels of chlorine in the house water although you can use a final carbon filter under the sink or for the whole house if you want water with no chlorine in it.

Precision-24 Metering Pump with 15 Gallon Solution Tank

Extremely versatile pump comes in either 115 or 220 volt so as to be wired to come on whenever your well or pressure system is energized.  Works with well water flow rates from 1 – 50 Gallons per Minute (GPM).

Output rating:  0.1 – 24 Gallons per Day (GPD).  Pressure rating:  Will inject into lines with up to 110 PSI.  Digital speed adjustment allows for quick changes to pump output.

Additional features:  Degassing Valve is built in which makes this great for chlorination use.  System includes Metering Pump, 15 Gallon Tank, Injection Check Valve, tubing and installation fittings. 

Excellent Warranty:  2 years on the Metering Pump.

40 Gallon Contact Tank 

The CT-40 tank is a durable easy-to-install retention tank designed to provide optimum contact time during chemical treatment. These lightweight seamless totally non-corrosive retention tanks are ideal for new and replacement installation where durability is at a premium. 100% non-metallic polymer materials. Impervious to chemical attack.  Comes with  1-1/4 inch inlet. 

2 sizes to choose from, same price.  Either 16”Diameter x 58”Tall or 21” Diameter x 36” Tall

Excellent Warranty:  5 Years from date of installation.

Pro-Ox  5900e Series, 0.75 Cubic, 115 Volt

Pro-Ox Iron filter media contains 80% manganese dioxide in an extremely unique cluster format for enhanced performance and maximized capacity.  Works similar to Greensand with superior performance qualities and media life. 

Typical media life is 10+ years and is NSF certified!

Dimensions:  8" diameter x 51" height with valve attached.   ¾" or 1” pipe connectors and Bypass is included.  All installation instructions as well as professional tech support is available as well.

Excellent warranty:  10 years on the media tank; Industry leading 7 years on the control valve.

Questions? Call us toll-free 888-600-5426 or email us!

I hope this information helps and finds you well, should you have any questions or require additional documentation simply let me know.  Thanks again for contacting us to treat your water, I look forward to hearing from you.

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This post first appeared on Clean Well Water Report, please read the originial post: here

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How To Remove Iron Bacteria From My Well Water?


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