6 posts / 0 new
Last post
High Iron in Well

Hi Guys,

I'm closing on an old house at the end of the month. We've been through a lot with the well that the house is attached to. When the house was inspected and the water was tested, it was revealed to have E coli in the well, as well as coliform bacteria. We spoke to the local municipal water company in Southern CT and were told that there was indeed a water line on the street, so we were planning on hooking up municipal water. Once we started the wheels turning in that direction, the contractor for that job contacted the water company, and was told that they made a mistake, there was no water pipe on the street. There may have been a private line at one time, but whatever was there now was insufficient and unusable.

So back to the well. Its a shallow dug well with a cement casing. Its in an area with sandy soil and a high water table, just to give you a little background. We had a well company come out and chlorinate the well, as well as install a UV filter, a new pressure tank was also installed, the old one had ruptured.

So now the water test comes back clean and with no bacteria, however, the initial test showed a high iron content (0.4 mg/L) as well as moderate hardness, it was at 103. There is no softener installed, so I'm wondering what I should expect as far as a usable water supply. Calcium was 34 mg/L, copper was .15 mg/L, sodium was 19.3 mg/L, Sulfate was also 34 mb/L. With an iron level like that, and I suppose with all the other minerals, will it be turning my clothes brown and making my water smell and taste funny?

Re: High Iron in Well

No advice, huh? I guess I could go back to the lab and see if they can give me a breakdown of what the test values mean, I was just hoping someone had some real world experiences and comparisons they could give me.

Re: High Iron in Well



for USEPA Drinking Water Standards and information. There are top two tabs on the page with more info.

FYI, most results for chemicals are in mg/L which is the same as parts per million (ppm)

Remember that these are safety standards. You still may have things happen that are not aesthetically pleasing.

Good Luck

Re: High Iron in Well


I checked with my contacts in ct, and they say southern ct shouldn't have a high iron content from the water. Northern ct has iron in a few places but not southern ct.

If you have an old well you probably have steel pipe attached to your pump in the well. You should have all the steel pipe changed to pvc from the well to the house. Also if the house is plumbed in steel, you should have it switched over to pvc, pex, copper, etc. Steel is just a leak waiting to happen and it will increase your iron content as it rusts. Also even if the outside of the pipe looks good the inside will look 10 times worse because they rust from the inside out.

P.s. You said you had ecoli and coliforms in your water test. I would bet a $100 bill that you had a bladder tank. The bladder tank is an ok tank for about 5-7 years. After that they go bad. The better selection is a galvanized tank. They last about 30-40 years before needing changed and cost the same as a bladder tank. Also if you change tanks the galvanized tank must be plumbed differently or they will water log.

Anymore questions and I will try to help.

Shannon Wicker
Wicker Well Drilling
Crane, Mo

Re: High Iron in Well

Hi shannon, thanks for looking into that for me. We closed on the house on Thursday, and since then I've had some time with the water. It doesn't smell off and seems to taste fine, though the hot water has a slight irony aroma. I don't know that the anode rod in the water heater has even been replaced, and that was installed in 2006, so it's probably time for that. Its been recommended to me that at 6 years old, it may just be time to replace the whole heater, but we'll see about that.

From what I can tell, the supply line is PVC, at least that is what I can see coming through the foundation. No guarantee that it doesn't mate up to an older steel line. The rest of the plumbing in the house is copper. The well company came out and replaced the old bladder tank with a larger tank. Not sure what style it is, I'll check. They also installed a UV filter to take care of the bacteria. So I think we're good, all in all. Its at least liveable. I was envisioning red water coming out of out the tap, and our whites coming out brown. But we ran a load of laundry, and everything seems to be alright. Thanks again!

Re: High Iron in Well

Good to hear that everything is working good for you. If you have any other questions/problems feel free to ask.

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.