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  • Writer's pictureDavid Bennett

How common is iron related bacteria?

Iron-related bacteria are small living organisms that naturally occur in soil, shallow groundwater, and surface waters.

These bacteria combine iron and oxygen to form deposits of "rust," bacterial cells, and a slimy material that adheres to well pipes, pumps, and plumbing fixtures. They are known to grow and proliferate in waters containing iron concentrations as low as 0.1 mg/L, and are commonly found in most soils in various regions.

Prevalence of Iron-Related Bacteria

Iron bacteria are prevalent in many areas and are not known to cause disease. They can create conditions where other disease-causing organisms may grow and affect the amount of water a well produces, potentially causing clogging issues. Groundwater may be naturally de-oxygenated by decaying vegetation in swamps, and organic material dissolved in water is often the underlying cause of an iron-oxidizing bacteria population.

Prevention and Treatment

Preventing the introduction of iron bacteria into a well or water system involves measures such as placing disinfected water in a well for drilling or repair, ensuring the well casing is capped and watertight, and disinfecting the well, pump, and plumbing after repairs. Treatment techniques to remove or reduce iron bacteria include physical removal, chemical treatment using disinfectants, surfactants, and acids (Boresaver Ultra C), as well as pasteurization by injecting steam or hot water into the well.

Identification and Testing

Identifying iron bacteria can be done by testing the water at a laboratory, and their presence can be confirmed through various signs such as tastes and odors, colored water, and red slimy deposits. It is important to contact a licensed well contractor or water treatment professional to determine the best approach for addressing iron-related bacteria in a specific situation .

In conclusion, iron-related bacteria are prevalent in various environments across the world and with a considered scientific approach controllable.

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