Having high levels of iron in your home's water supply can cause frustrating issues like stained fixtures, poor tasting water, and rusty residues. But is it actually safe to bathe, shower, and wash using water that contains elevated iron?
For Tampa Bay area residents relying on public utility water or private wells, understanding the health and aesthetic impacts of iron is key before choosing the right whole house water filtration or well water treatment system.
What Are Considered High Iron Levels in Water?
Before determining if high iron water is safe for showering and bathing, it helps to understand what concentrations are considered high.
The EPA secondary standard recommends iron concentrations be limited to 0.3 milligrams per liter (mg/L) based on aesthetic factors like staining and odor. However, the EPA has no enforceable standards for iron.
Florida's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has set maximum allowable concentrations for iron in public drinking water supplies at 0.3 mg/L. Private wells are not regulated, but the DEP suggests levels remain under 0.3 mg/L.
So iron concentrations over 0.3 mg/L are typically considered high and concentrations from 0.3-1.0 mg/L moderately high. Levels from 1-10 mg/L would be considered very high.
Potential Health Effects From Showering or Bathing in High Iron Water
The good news is that the EPA does not consider iron to be harmful to human health, even at the higher concentrations occasionally found in drinking water. So showering, bathing, or washing clothes using iron rich water is generally considered safe.
However, some people may experience skin irritations or allergic reactions from prolonged contact with high iron water according to Dr. Mark Dahl, professor of dermatology at Mayo Medical School. Those with existing skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis may be at higher risk.
If you experience persistent skin irritation or infections that seem related to bathing or showering, consult a medical professional about potential causes. An inspection of your home's plumbing and order of a water test are also smart next steps.
Aesthetic & Household Issues With Iron in Water
While the health impacts may be minimal, the aesthetic and household problems posed by high iron levels make it crucial to treat the water before using it indoors. Key issues include:
Iron causes stubborn reddish-brown stains on everything it contacts - from bathroom and kitchen fixtures to laundry. Stains form because the iron oxidizes from soluble ferrous iron to insoluble ferric iron.
Iron oxidation can also cause troublesome clogs or restrictions in water lines, pipes, equipment like washing machines, etc. The oxidative process produces deposits that stick to pipes and surfaces over time as flow is constricted more and more.
Poor Tasting Water
Metallic or bitter tasting water is another symptom of elevated iron levels. An unpleasant taste makes drinking or using water unappealing for bathing, cooking, etc.
Iron residues and deposits also promote biofouling - the accumulation of microorganisms that attach and thrive on wet surfaces. Bacteria and fungi growths create ugly biofilm layers and fouling odors.
Factors Influencing High Iron Levels in Tampa Area
Several key factors lead both public utility supplies and private wells to contain concerning levels of iron in Tampa's water:
Water Drawn From the Floridan Aquifer System
Over 90% of Florida's drinking water is pumped from the prolific Floridan Aquifer System spanning over 100,000 square miles below. While an invaluable source of water, the Floridan contains iron concentrations 10-100 times higher than other major aquifers.
As purveyors pump large volumes of water for public supplies and private wells draw water for homes, iron is extracted from the aquifer at elevated levels.
Presence of Iron Bacteria
Certain types of iron bacteria can concentrate and multiply iron in water when conditions allow like low disinfectant residuals. Two common genera - Leptothrix and Gallionella - oxidize ferrous iron into insoluble ferric oxide sheaths and stalks as part of their metabolic processes.
These structures break away over time to spike overall iron levels. Municipal treatment failures and wells lacking disinfection are prone to fostering iron bacteria.
Corrosive Plumbing Systems & Fixtures
Finally, high iron levels often indicate corrosive water interacting with metal components in distribution systems, household pipes, or well components. Corrosion dissolves elemental iron into soluble forms.
In Tampa's generally acidic, soft water lacking mineral scale protection on pipes - corrosion can rapidly accelerate the deterioration and leaching of iron.
Evaluating Treatment Options for High Iron
To provide households with safe, aesthetically pleasing water for showering, bathing, cleaning, and more, Aqua-Wise offers customized solutions featuring proven iron removal technologies. We carry a full range of options from whole house filters to point-of-use reverse osmosis drinking water systems.
Depending on your unique water chemistry, source influences, and budget - we'll design an integrated system using one or more of these high performing components synced to meet your household's needs:
AquaLux Water Softener - Softening alone does not reduce iron but is often included to restore mineral balance and reduce corrosivity leading to iron leaching from pipes/fixtures.
AquaBlue Whole House Filter System - Oxidizing filters employ media like Filox, Birm or GreensandPlus to convert dissolvable ferrous iron into filterable ferric oxides for whole house protection.
AquaCarbonGuard Catalytic Carbon Filter - Paired with oxidation filters, catalytic carbon media like Centaur or Filter-Ag enhances iron removal through a chemical process while controlling other water contaminants too.
HydroClear Ozone Generator - Advanced oxidation using ozone rapidly converts iron into insoluble particles for filtration removal while providing thorough disinfection against bacteria/biofilms.
AquaRevive Reverse Osmosis System - Multi-stage reverse osmosis using targeted sediment and carbon pre-filters followed by a semi-permeable membrane reliably reduces all forms of iron for cleaner drinking/cooking water.
No matter if you rely on a private well or public utility supply, our water treatment specialists can overcome frustrating iron levels to restore your peace of mind regarding water safety, quality, and aesthetics throughout your home.
The Importance of Scheduling a Free Water Test
With multiple pathways for iron infiltration based on your specific water chemistry, simply guessing at treatment solutions rarely succeeds long-term. Attempting DIY water tests also proves limited for assessing the complex interactions influencing iron.
Instead, allow our certified water specialists to perform a detailed in-home water test assessing 60+ potential contaminants and influences - not just iron levels. This allows us to engineer water systems holistically rather than relying on assumptions or partial data.
During your scheduled visit, our technician will help you gather samples from key locations in your plumbing system to provide meaningful insights into:
Levels of ferrous, ferric, particulate and soluble iron
Overall water hardness/softness
Concentrations of co-mingling metals like manganese that impact treatment
Presence of iron bacteria through special SRB testing
Levels of treatment residuals like chlorine that hinder bacteria
With all factors illuminated impacting your water quality, Aqua-Wise can then match your household to the perfect treatment plan integrating compatible technologies to eliminate iron concerns for good.
Explore Promotions Supporting Iron Removal Solutions
In areas prone to stubborn iron like the Tampa region, having access to effective and reliable treatment brings peace of mind for every household relying on water at the tap.
That's why Aqua-Wise wants to make our proven whole house and well water systems more affordable upfront for local homeowners challenged by iron - allowing you to reclaim water safety and aesthetics immediately.
We currently offer:
💧$500 off whole house water treatment system installations
💧$300 off new well water treatment system installations
💧Special discounted pricing on reverse osmosis drinking water systems
💧Reduced pricing on media replacements kits for existing water filtration systems
In addition, approved applicants can access 6-12 month financing options enabling purchases from $49-99 monthly with low qualifying credit requirements.
Take advantage of these limited time savings to gain iron-free water richness at the tap - no staining, scaling, smell or sliminess!
Schedule Your FREE Water Test Today: 727-236-7161
Don't live another day hesitant to run your taps and showerheads or sorting stained laundry! Our water quality experts make it simple and stress-free to evaluate what's influencing any stubborn iron infiltrating your home's water.
We'll sample on-site, analyze in nationally certified labs, review findings with you in plain terms, and prescribe solutions that work – no high pressure sales tactics.
Set up your free assessment today or call our office directly at 727-236-7161. Here for you by phone, email, text or chat too!