Iron Reducing Bacteria


We have discovered that we have Iron reducing bacteria in our new well. We have been living in our new house for about 5 months and always had a funny smell in the cold water. A test from a lab confirmed that it was iron reducing bacteria and in high concentration 3+ out of 5.

Culligan and they stated that the problem could be very serious as the smell came back so quick after bleaching.
My understanding is that IRB (Iron reducing bacteria) can render a well system useless very quickly.
Can anyone suggest a course of action to deal with this. The builder says that its not his problem.
Thanks.
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I'd get in touch with the health authorities about the potential health risks and what, if any, responsibilities are those of the builder.
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I have the same problem. A carbon filter lasts a couple days. The only real fix is pretty expensive. I have stopped noticing it, but my wife hasn't.
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Well, my wife and I are sick of it ! I'm going to tackle it one way or another. Has anyone else had dealings with Iron Reducing bacteria and how to deal with it ? And what damage it can cause ?
Toller wrote:

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http://www.awwda.com/shock.html

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That is excellent information, but since we shocked chlorinated and that didn't work at all...I fear we might have a much worse problem then we even realize.
Don wrote:

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if at first you don't succeed, try, try , again
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com writes:

I have no experience with wells, but I did do some Google searches earlier.
(Now I'm an expert.)
These bacteria form a coating. Multiple treatments are frequently required. In persistent cases you can have the well dosed with acid to dissolve and kill the bacteria. You need a professional for that.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

My understanding is that the bacteria are not a significant health hazard, but the slime and odor they produce are certainly an annoyance.
I tried shocking the well several times and almost succeeded in blocking the (submers) pump inlet(!) with their goop.
Experimenting, I found that adding bleach directly to the water after it entered the house piping eliminated both odor and slime.
Next step was to build a homemade chemical injection system. I bought a (used) precision lab pump made for these applications and piped it into my well pump bladder tank. The feed pump is supplied with dilute bleach and runs for a brief period when the well pump starts up each cycle.
This system has worked flawlessly for the last 5 years.
Jim
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On 23 Dec 2006 13:40:36 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Beware of such statements from those with a vested interest (sellers of filters). It is in their best interest to convince you to buy a more expensive model that what may be necessary. Not a problem if you can afford it, but if you're strapped for cash...
I'm not even implying that this is true in the above case, just something to watch out for.
Best bet is to talk to your Extension Service Agent and/or local well drillers. They are familiar with your area and the problems encountered. They can also suggest solutions that have been found reliable in your area.

Iron bacteria are not a health risk - unless you are made of iron - the human body is a deadly environment for them. Only a very few kinds of bacteria are harmful to humans and only a few of those are really harmful.
The builder will have no responsibility as the water is safe to drink or the health department wouldn't have ok'd the well for drinking water in the first place (you would not have been able to close the sale). All the health department cares about (at least here) is coliform (E. coli and friends) bacteria.
Iron bacteria cause a smell and taste in the water that isn't particularly palatable, but the main problem is buildup of bacteria colonies (brown slime) in pipes and fixtures - particularly screens, aerators and filters as holes are small in these locations. It can cause loss of pressure, and clogs.
I have seen it recommended (Extension Service IIRC) that you run bleach through your system periodically to destroy the colonies and flush them away. You need to remove screens and aerators prior to flushing though to prevent catching the resulting crud in them.
I have read both positive and negative reports on the effectiveness of both multiple shocking and acid treatment as a permanent cure - depends on the population of the bacteria in the soil/rock supplying the water as I understand it. I believe that acid treatments must be carried out by a professional.
A 5 micron filter will catch many bacteria and, if it has carbon in it, will help with the odor and taste. I use a whole house filter with a 5 micron carbon filter to get the iron taste out of my water - no real problem with the bacteria as levels aren't extremely high. Concentration of bacteria would determine how quickly the filter clogs, but carbon should go a long way toward fixing the smell/taste. You will have to shock the system upon installation of the filter to kill the bacteria clinging to the sides of the pipes and fixtures downstream of the filter, otherwise don't bother to install one.
HTH.
Later, Mike (substitute strickland in the obvious location to reply directly) ----------------------------------- snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net
Please send all email as text - HTML is too hard to decipher as text.
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