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Managing Iron and Manganese in Well Water - Treatment Options for Common Issues in and around Tampa


Managing Iron and Manganese in Well Water
Managing Iron and Manganese in Well Water

Iron and manganese are two common contaminants found in well water in Florida, particularly in the Tampa Bay area. Both metals can cause staining, discoloration, and an unpleasant metallic taste in water. Removing iron and manganese from well water requires specific treatment solutions depending on the levels present.

Overview of Iron and Manganese in Well Water

Iron and manganese occur naturally in rock formations and soils across Florida. As groundwater flows through these deposits, iron and manganese can dissolve into the water. Concentrations tend to be higher in deeper wells, or in areas with acidic water conditions.

The EPA secondary standard limits are 0.3 mg/L for iron and 0.05 mg/L for manganese. While not a health hazard, levels above these can lead to nuisance issues like:

  • Rusty colored stains on plumbing fixtures, laundry, and tile

  • Metallic taste in water

  • Black buildup in water heaters and piping

  • Clogged plumbing from mineral deposits

Iron bacteria is also common, leading to slimy black buildup that clogs plumbing and wells. This bacteria feeds on iron in water, multiplying quickly to form biofilm deposits.

Testing Well Water for Iron and Manganese

Since iron and manganese levels can vary over time, periodic testing is recommended to identify any changes. A water test from a certified lab can check for:

  • Iron and manganese levels

  • Hardness, pH, and other parameters

  • Presence of iron bacteria

This provides the information needed to select appropriate treatment. Aqua-Wise Water Treatment Solutions offers free well water testing for homes and businesses in the greater Tampa area.

Removing Iron and Manganese from Well Water

There are several effective treatment options for iron and manganese removal:

Oxidizing Filters

Oxidizing filters use a media that converts dissolved iron and manganese into solid particles. These particles are then filtered out through a mechanical filter.

Two common types of oxidizing filters include:

  • Manganese greensand filters - Potassium permanganate coated media oxidizes and filters iron and manganese. An initial chlorine or potassium permanganate feed may be needed to regenerate the media.

  • Catalytic carbon filters - Activated carbon coated with copper and zinc accelerates the oxidation process. No chemical regeneration is required.

These systems are effective for moderate iron and manganese levels up to 10-15 mg/L combined. Adding a sediment filter or water softener pre-treatment can extend the life of an oxidizing filter.

Ozone Injection

Ozone injection uses ozone gas (O3) to oxidize dissolved iron and manganese. This converts the metals into particles that can be filtered out.

Ozone is a powerful disinfectant that also controls iron bacteria. An ozone generator injects ozone into the water supply ahead of filters. This is followed by an activated carbon filter to remove any residual ozone.

Ozone systems can treat higher iron and manganese concentrations up to 20 mg/L combined. Ozone also removes other contaminants like sulfur, tannins, and pesticides.

Water Softening

Water softeners work by exchanging naturally occurring calcium and magnesium ions in water with sodium ions. This reduces water hardness and also removes small amounts of dissolved iron.

Softening is most effective when iron levels are below 1-2 mg/L. The softener needs frequent regenerations to prevent iron fouling of the resin beads. Adding a sediment pre-filter extends the service cycle.

Softeners also remove manganese through ion exchange. However, capacity is lower than for iron removal. Levels above 0.3-0.5 mg/L require additional treatment.

Chlorination

Chlorine injection followed by filtration can precipitate higher concentrations of dissolved iron and manganese. Chlorine levels of 2-6 mg/L are typically required.

This process works best for pH above 8 and moderate hardness. A retention tank allows time for oxidation before filtering.

Chlorine systems can treat up to 10 mg/L combined iron and manganese. The chlorine also kills iron bacteria. An activated carbon filter removes excess chlorine from the treated water.

Whole House Filtration

A whole house water filtration system uses a multi-stage configuration for iron and manganese removal:

  • Sediment pre-filter to remove particles

  • Oxidizing filter media to convert dissolved metals into particles

  • Particle filtration to capture precipitated iron and manganese

  • Activated carbon filtration for residual contaminant removal

This integrated approach allows the system to handle both dissolved and particulate iron and manganese. Whole house systems are well-suited for moderate levels up to 10 mg/L combined.

Point-of-Use Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis (RO) systems use a semi-permeable membrane to filter out contaminants. Iron, manganese, and other minerals are removed through size exclusion.

RO units are often installed at a single faucet to provide filtered water for drinking and cooking. Larger point-of-use systems can feed an ice maker or whole house supply.

RO removes up to 98% of iron and manganese from water. However, levels above 1-2 mg/L can shorten membrane life. Adding pre-treatment is recommended for better performance.

Removing Iron and Manganese - Professional Water Treatment


With the variety of treatment options available, choosing the right system for your water requires an expert evaluation. Aqua-Wise Water Treatment Solutions provides full-service water treatment including:

  • Free water testing and analysis

  • System selection specific to your water chemistry

  • Professional installation and maintenance

  • Systems starting at $995 with financing available

Our experienced staff can customize a treatment plan to efficiently and reliably remove iron, manganese, and other contaminants from your well water.

Residential Water Softeners, Filtration, and Conditioning Systems

For homes with private wells, we offer a complete lineup of water softeners, filters, RO systems, and specialty equipment tailored to your needs. Combined whole house and point-of-use treatment often provides the best solution for addressing iron, manganese, and other issues.

Commercial and Industrial Water Treatment

Businesses rely on clean, consistent water for their operations and products. We design centralized treatment systems from leading brands like Krofta, Tonka, and Scalewatcher to meet commercial and industrial water requirements.

Oxidizing filter vessels, ozone injection, and chlorine disinfection systems paired with carbon polishing allow us to handle higher iron and manganese concentrations. Softening, RO, and additional processes can also be integrated as needed.

Expert Local Service

As a family-owned company, we provide personalized service while taking care of your water treatment from start to finish. Our NATE-certified technicians handle professional installations, scheduled maintenance, and 24/7 emergency calls across Tampa Bay.

We also offer maintenance plans, extended warranties, and lifetime support on our water solutions. With skilled service and reliable equipment, Aqua-Wise keeps your water treatment running optimally.

Ensure Reliable Water Quality - Schedule a Free Water Test Today

Don't let iron, manganese, and hard water problems persist in your home or business. A free water test from Aqua-Wise is the first step toward understanding what's in your unique water. From there, we can match you with the right solutions to enhance the quality of your water for household and business use.

Contact Aqua-Wise Water Treatment Solutions today at (727) 236-7161 to learn more or schedule your free water test. Our water experts serve customers throughout Tampa Bay.

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