Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How To Effectively Deal with Iron and Manganese

About Iron and Manganese

While iron and manganese do not present a health hazard, their presence in water may cause staining, taste, and build-up problems.

Iron and manganese are chemically similar, and therefore cause similar types of problems.  Iron causes reddish and brown stains of laundry, dishes, fixtures and more.  Manganese causes dark brown-black stains.  Detergents and soaps will not remove the stains and the use of chlorine bleach and other cleaning products can actually make the stains worse.

They will also build up in pipes, tanks, water heaters and water softeners.  This will choke off water pressure and the available water supply.  It becomes a cost issue when water-using appliances must be replaced more frequently than typical.  There are also increased energy costs when it takes more power to move water through constricted pipes or heating water with elements are coated with iron and manganese.

Sources of Iron and Manganese in Household Water

Iron and manganese are concentrated in water by contact with rocks and minerals, and occasionally man-made materials like iron and steel pipes. It is usually groundwater supplies that contain  high levels of iron and manganese. Generally speaking, few surface water supplies have high enough levels of either to cause problems. Occasionally discharge of acid industrial wastes or mine drainage may increase iron or manganese to problem levels in surface water.

Iron and Manganese Bacteria

Some types of bacteria derive their energy by reacting with soluble forms of iron and manganese. These organisms are usually found in waters that have high levels of iron and manganese in solution. The reaction changes the iron and manganese from a soluble form into a less soluble form, thus causing precipitation and accumulation of black or reddish brown gelatinous material (slime). Masses of mucous, iron, and/or manganese can clog plumbing and water treatment equipment. They also slough off in globs that become iron or manganese stains on laundry. Bacterial reactions with iron and manganese do not cause any additional precipitation compared to normal exposure to oxygen. However, precipitation caused by bacteria occurs faster and tends to concentrate staining, thus making it more apparent.

Which treatment system will correct the problem?

If you have this type of bacteria present, please inform your salesperson as it will change your treatment recommendation.

Also, if you have low pH, be sure to inform your sales representative as that will also change your treatment recommendation.

For red water iron and manganese issues (and sulfur issues as well), we typically recommend the PurHome FTP system.   If you also have hard water issues, we recommend the FTP in conjunction with a water softener or a salt-free alternative, the MC Series, which is all-in-one system that addresses iron, sulfur and manganese as well as hardness.  For more information, please visit product pages.