A tall glass of cold water is supposed to be refreshing, but it can be unappetizing if you experience an unpleasant smell because of it. In addition, sometimes your water appears to be cloudy, and you are wondering why. The answer may be that there is too much iron in your water. What we need to find out is why this could be and what we can do about it.
What Is Iron?
The chemical element iron is a metal, and it exists in your body and throughout the earth.
How Does Iron Get in Water?
Rivers, lakes and underground water contains iron naturally. It can also be released into the water by way of industrial waste, refining of iron ore, corrosion of iron and natural deposits.
When rain falls or snow melts, it travels through the ground where there are iron deposits within the soil. The iron mixes in with the water, and both substances travel to the underground water supply. We receive water in our homes from this water supply, so we end up with iron in our water.
The casings and pipes of a water well may contain iron. When water comes in contact with the iron, it begins to corrode. You will be able to see this corrosion in the form of rust. When the rust comes off of the pipes and falls into the water, the water that you receive from your tap will contain iron.
How to Test for Iron in Water
It’s not hard to tell that you need to test your water for iron. For example, if you have noticed that your water appears to be yellow or red, there might be iron in the sample.
Laboratories advertise their services in the local phone books under the Laboratories – Services section. You can call any one of these labs, and inquire about the fees they charge for testing. This is a very convenient way to do this type of testing because the scientists at the lab will be able to tell you exactly how much iron is present in your water.
It’s also very easy to test for iron in your water on your own. You will need to purchase an iron test kit from your local home improvement store. Then, you will take a sample of your water. The test kit will contain test strips that you will need to place in the water sample. Move it back and forth for a total of 30 seconds. After 30 seconds have passed, remove the sample, and wait two minutes. Then, you can compare your test strip to the color chart to determine how much iron is in your water.
What are the safe iron levels that you can have in your water?
The Environmental Protection Agency has classified iron under the Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level standards. This means that water can only have 0.3 milligrams of iron per liter. When water conforms to this standard, it should not have an unpleasant taste or odor and should not cause any side effects. It also should look like water without any changes in appearance. This means that you are not drinking rust color water.
Is It Dangerous To Have Iron In Your Water?
The presence of iron in your water does not pose a health risk, so you do not necessarily need to be concerned if you have rust color water. However, it is a good idea to maintain safe iron levels because some pathogens that can be harmful to the health of humans need iron to survive. When iron is present under this circumstance, it can be difficult to eliminate the bacteria.
Iron bacteria, the bacteria that need iron to survive, can leave behind iron waste deposits. These deposits are what cause your water to smell, and they stain your fixtures. They also leave an unpleasant taste in your water. Most notably, they are responsible for leaving behind the slime that attracts more dangerous bacteria.
According to the EPA, an overdose of iron can be toxic to humans, but it would not be possible for you to drink enough water to reach this level. Iron is a secondary contaminant, and this means that it cannot have an effect on your health. It can, however, cause some unpleasant side effects, including insufficient energy, fatigue and weakness. You may also notice that your skin is darkening as this is the result of an iron overload.
Iron does not necessarily cause many health issues, but excess iron in your water can cause your water to smell. This may be enough reason for you to consider testing your water for iron. Then, you will be able to find a way to eliminate iron from your water and drink clear and clean water again.