Iron In Water
Visible Stains, Possible Metallic Or Bitter Taste
Iron water is created when water dissolves iron-bearing rocks. Because iron is the fourth most abundant element on earth it can be found in all types of water supplies, especially on the East Coast of the U.S. It can also be caused, usually temporarily, by water standing in iron pipes. Iron stains sinks, clothing, and linens, and it can form scale on pipes and water using appliances. It makes water look, smell, and taste bad. Iron is found in several forms: ferric (red water), ferrous (clear water), organically complexed with tannins, and colloidal (the color does not settle at the bottom of a glass). Iron bacteria often feed on iron leaving a stringy, slimy, or mucus substance along the walls of a toilet tank. Manganese enters water when dissolved from the earth’s crust. Although not prevalent in North Florida water, this inorganic compound does show up in some local wells. It causes a brownish/black staining and adds a bitter taste to water. Detergents do not remove these stains and use of chlorine and other alkaline products such as sodium carbonate can intensify the stains. Manganese bacteria feed on this element and also may cause problems. Although harmless, manganese bacteria can form gelatinous growths that may plug pipes or break free in “slugs” of dirty, iron-laden water with unpleasant tastes, odors and staining in laundry.