Will a Chlorine Injection System Remove Iron Bacteria?

Iron bacteria may be forming deposits in your well—did you know this slimy rust-colored buildup is made up of not just living bacteria but also dead bacteria and their secretions, sheathes, stalks, and other waste? Gross! These bacteria make your water smell and taste musty and swampy, and stain your fixtures and clothes brown or yellow. The slime deposits also corrode plumbing equipment and clog screens and pipes, wasting your hard-earned money. Don’t let this happen to you: have Angel Water test your drinking water, and get rid of that bacteria with a chlorine injection system!

Find Out if a Chlorine Injection System is the Solution You Need

If the water in your home comes from a well, you might notice certain unappetizing things about it. Swampy, musty, oily tastes and smells, yellowish or reddish brown discoloration, and rust-colored slime deposits in standing water are all indications that you have iron bacteria in your water. One potential solution that’s offered to treat this problem is a chlorine injection system.

However, does a chlorine injection system actually do the trick? What are iron bacteria anyway, and how does a chlorine injection system work? Here’s a breakdown of the basics of chlorine injection and iron bacteria.

What Are Iron Bacteria?

Infographic providing useful information on what is iron bacteria.

First of all, the problem we’re discussing is more accurately referred to not as iron bacteria, but iron biofouling. This is because that slimy rust-colored buildup you see isn’t just the bacteria itself. It’s made up of living and dead bacteria, as well as the secretions, sheathes, stalks, and other material they’ve left behind.

This issue typically occurs when there’s an overabundance of iron in the well water. While iron bacteria don’t pose any serious health risks, they do make your water unpleasant and your water system less efficient.

These undesirable qualities are how you can identify whether you might have iron bacteria in your water:

  • Odors and Tastes- The bad tastes and smells that iron bacteria produce are often described as musty, swampy, and oily. They’re often compared to sewage or rotten vegetation, though in more mild cases or earlier stages the water can smell similar to cucumber. Also, while iron bacteria itself do not produce a rotten egg smell, they can foster conditions where sulfur bacteria can grow and produce hydrogen sulfide, which does cause that smell.
  • Discoloration- Iron bacteria can also discolor your water, producing yellow, red, Image of dirty brown water running into a white sink. Looks very unhealthy and needs chlorine injection systemorange, or brown colors. These colors can appear both in the water itself, and in stains left in sinks and on clothes. In some cases, you may also see the water have an oily rainbow-colored sheen.
  • Slime Deposits- One of the biggest indicators of iron bacteria is the slime deposits that they create. These can be grey, yellow, or brown, but are most often a reddish rust-like color. They can also take the form of feathery-looking growths, especially in standing water like the inside of a toilet tank.

There are other, less visible consequences to iron bacteria as well. They can corrode your plumbing equipment, and the slime deposits can clog screens and pipes, reducing your well yields. They also increase the likelihood of sulfur bacteria infestation, as noted above.

To know whether you do have iron bacteria, you should get your water tested at a laboratory. Angel Water provides water testing, and we’ll help you find out for sure whether this nuisance is infesting your well water.

What Does a Chlorine Injection System Do?

Once you know for sure that you have iron bacteria, you’ll want to start considering ways to get rid of them. One of the most frequently recommended solutions is a chlorine injection system. What is a chlorine injection system though, and how does it work?

A chlorine injection system functions in much the same way as a municipal water treatment plant. When you get your drinking water from a city water supply, it goes through treatment at a plant before getting pumped to your home. Part of that process includes using chlorine to disinfect the water. However, when you draw your water from a well, you don’t get the benefit of chlorination.

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By installing a chlorine injection system, you reclaim that benefit that you miss out on when you use a well. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), chlorine is a highly effective method of disinfection because it inactivates all varieties microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, and because it stays in the water until removed, preventing re-contamination.

The chlorine used in chlorination can be one of several forms, including solid calcium hypochlorite, a sodium hypochlorite solution, or even a compressed gas. How exactly the chlorine kills bacteria isn’t perfectly understood by the scientific community, but it’s thought that because chlorine is so reactive, it disrupts compounds in cell membranes.

While some well users chlorinate on their own, chlorination is a complex operation with a lot of different variables. To chlorinate safely but effectively, you have to consider the size and dimensions of your well, the type and concentration of the chlorine you will use, the pH of the water, the contact time, and other factors. A chlorine injection system, on the other hand, provides continuous chlorination.

However, you probably don’t want chlorine sticking around in your drinking water after it’s done its job. Not only can chlorine cause an unpleasant smell, but it may also pose potential health risks when consumed in the long-term.

That’s why a chlorine injection system often includes a filtration component as well. The whole-house PurAclear systems offered by Angel Water, for example, include reverse osmosis filtration to remove the chlorine as well as other contaminants before the water reaches your home. This way, you get the disinfection that chlorination provides, without chlorine in your drinking water.

Will It Kill the Iron Bacteria?

So, does the chlorination provided by a chlorine injection system get rid of iron bacteria? Well, that depends on the product.

Because iron bacteria build up in layers in those slimy deposits, disinfectants have a hard time reaching bacteria in lower layers. To really get rid of all the iron bacteria requires extended contact times over a long-term treatment period.

If you choose the right chlorine injection system though, then it absolutely will remove the iron bacteria from your water, and there’s no better chlorine injection system for the job than the PurAclear systems provided by Angel Water. These systems are specifically designed to remove iron bacteria as well as the iron that helps them establish colonies in the first place. With one of these systems in place, you’ll be able to enjoy clean and clear water from every fixture in your home, with no foul odors, tastes, or stains—and your plumbing won’t be at risk, either.

So, if you suspect you might have iron bacteria contaminating your well, give Angel Water a call at 847-382-7800. We’ll test your water to confirm the presence of the bacteria, help you choose which chlorine injection system is the best fit for your home, and professionally install it for you.

Don’t get red in the face about your red, swampy water—call Angel Water today!

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