Manitoba has some of very high levels of iron depending on where you happen to be situated in the province. Along with iron you may have manganese which is a sister element commonly found with iron. If that wasn’t enough, many people will have a rotten egg smell coming out of the well which is hydrogen sulfide gas, also commonly found with iron but not always. Below I listed a couple of signs to look for.
Water is clear when taken from the sink but red-brown or black particles will show as the water is left to sit. You will also see staining in dishwashers, showers, toilets and your laundry never really gets as white as you think they should.
Dissolved iron and possibly manganese.
You notice a slime which appears to be red brownish, black in colour in the toilet tank or sometimes will clog faucets.
Iron and/or manganese bacteria.
Sometimes you will leave a glass of water out for 24 hours and you notice that reddish, black colour remains
This would strongly indicate that you have colloidal iron/manganese in other words organically complexed iron/manganese.
Iron and manganese are two minerals commonly found in the earth’s crust and in the water supply of your home, they do not present any health risk.
The first problem that people usually have with these minerals in their water is the staining and metallic sometimes bitter taste. What you don’t always see is the buildup of iron and manganese in your hot water tank, pressure tank and the fouled resin in your water softener.
Fact is that these two minerals drive up the price of operating your water appliances by up to 30%, decreases their life expectancy by up to 50% and eventually plugs your pipes up to the point that you will lose water pressure.
There are actually two forms of iron you find in your house water:
This type creates a clear solution when dissolved in water (often referred to as clear water iron). In the beginning the water appears clear but soon you begin to see black or rust coloured particles that make their way to the bottom when the water is left to sit out. It is because air, chlorine and other oxidants reacts with the ferrous iron that you get the particles and it now becomes ferric iron (the stuff you can now see.
This is a colloidal iron and is insoluble in water. When the water comes out of the tap with some discoloration initially this is a good sign that you have ferric iron.
The last issue I want to touch on is iron and manganese bacteria found in toilets and hot water tanks, sometimes clogging up your pipes. There is no real health issue with the red-brown/black brown bacteria but it’s a bit slimy and unsightly to say the least. You can remove it fairly easily with a disinfectant of your choice but the real answer is to remove the iron and manganese out of the water.