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What are iron bacteria?
Iron bacteria are widespread in the environment. They will generally be found in iron water pipes and anywhere else that a combination of dissolved iron and dissolved oxygen is present. Iron bacteria are found in soil, stream, cool surface waters, and shallow aquifers; but even deep wells can be subject to the problems caused by iron bacteria.


What are the indicators of the presence of iron bacteria?

  • A white or reddish brown gelatinous slime on well pipes and in the water system.
  • Sudden iron staining.
  • Sometimes taste and odor problems.
  • Water quality deterioration.


What are the effects of iron bacteria?

  • Pitting and corroding of the plumbing system due to a lowering of the pH of the water.
  • Difficulties in coagulation.
  • Taste and odor problems.
  • Turbidity.
  • Discoloration of the water.


Do iron bacteria have any positive aspects?
Iron bacteria may produce a biofilm that acts as a primary filtration system to remove iron, manganese, and some nutrients from the water.


What can be done to eliminate this problem?
Iron bacteria can be killed by chlorinating.


Photo Credit: Geoffrey Crofte