Iron bacteria are said to be a natural part of our surrounding area in most parts of the world. These are the microorganisms that unite the manganese or the dissolved iron with the oxygen for forming the rust-colored deposits. The above process causes the bacteria form producing a brown slime that we usually see on the pipes, well screens and the plumbing fixtures.
Iron bacteria acquire the energy needed to live and multiply by the oxidation of dissolved ferrous iron, aluminum or manganese. The ferric oxide thus formed in the process looks like a brown gelatinous slime and it is insoluble in nature. This can lave stains on the plumbing fixtures, utensils or clothes washed with that water. This may result in internal corrosion of the pipes and the fixtures through which the water flows.
Effects of iron bacteria in drinking water:
* You can view the iron bacteria in the surface waters as a mass of brown slime at the bottom of the stream or lakes or as an oily luster on the water surface.
* Iron bacteria present in the well water cause odors and the chances of the sulfur bacteria infestation are increased.
* The plumbing equipment gets corroded and the well yields are reduced remarkably due to the clogging of the pipes and the screens.
There are some clues or evidences that will help you to detect if you have the problem of iron bacteria in the water. The water has a shade of red, orange or yellow colors. It gives out an odor similar to that of cucumber, fuel oil or sewage. You will also see slimy masses appearing on the inner walls of your toilet tank.
Prevention of the iron bacteria:
Iron bacteria are very difficult to treat once they appear in your well systems. So, it is always advisable to prevent the problems that may be caused due to the presence of the iron bacteria.
* Prevention of iron bacteria for the well drillers includes disinfecting everything with a chlorine solution. Do not introduce carbon or other organics during the prevention process as they nourish the iron bacteria. Disinfect the different tools, pipes, pumps, water used in drilling and the gravel pack material. The water used in the tank should be chlorinated water.
* Another method of preventing the occurrence of iron bacteria for the new owners is to be very alert to see the appearance the signs of iron bacteria. If the pump installer and the well driller are characterized with extreme care to keep the new well clean, the problems aroused by then iron bacteria can be avoided.
* Chlorination is the best way for preventing the iron bacteria from occurring again and again. The wells should be cleaned periodically by shock chlorination or also a chlorination unit can be installed.
Iron bacteria is a non-disease producing bacteria that do not cause any health disorders in the people but they only have some unpleasant effects such as undesirable taste and odor in the water. Iron bacteria need water for their growth and multiplication which may probably later on lead to expensive treatments. So, it is better to prevent its occurrence.