How to remove iron from water with a filter?

Shallow groundwater usually contains undissolved iron. Although a low level of iron isn’t harmful for your health, it does contain bacteria and leaves a bad taste to food and drinks. This is why you should use Iron Water Filtration to remove iron from drinking water. In this article you discover everything you should know about iron water filtration.

How does Iron get into groundwater?

The Earth’s crust consist for 5% of iron. Since water easily dissolves various substances, it’ll also absorbs iron from the aquifers. This explains why iron concentrations occur in groundwater and eventually in drinking water.

Iron in drinking water

Taste and colour of drinking water depends on the type of (raw) groundwater from which it is made. Also the way this drinking water is filtered to make it suitable for consumption and iron in drinking water has an influence on the taste and colour.

There are rules applied on the taste and colour of drinking water. These are standards for substances like iron and manganese that are not harmful to health, but can cause colour or taste changes in drinking water. Colour change occurs when a high concentration of iron dissolves or oxidizes in water.

Is Iron in water harmful for your health?

Iron in water can lead to a metallic taste in your food or drinks. And although a small amount or iron in water will not harm your health, excessive amounts can be harmful. Therefor it is advisable to remove iron from drinking water.

If a person ingests high levels of iron from drinking water for a longer period, it can cause diseases like…

  • Diabetes,
  • Stomach problems
  • Hemochromatosis

There’s also a chance of damage to…

  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • heart

Iron toxicity

Excessive ingestion of iron can be damaging for humans. This is called iron toxicity. Symptoms are nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. To be sure that the users of your drinking water won’t suffer from iron toxicity, it is highly advisable to filter iron out of the water.

Recommended levels of iron in water

Iron levels in groundwater are commonly less than 10 mg/L. A healthy level of iron in water is 0.3 mg/L or less. This level is actually based on taste, colour and staining rather than health effects. This shows that raw water needs treatment for iron removal in order to get an acceptable level of iron.

Iron often adds a rusty, brown or sometimes even yellow colour to water. If the water has more of a blackish colour, It’s a sign of the combination of iron and manganese. Both can cause staining of plumbing fixtures or even your laundry.

One of PB International’s customers in the United States uses ultrafiltration to filter iron residual from water, because the yellow water discoloured their white laundry. On forehand we’ve visited the location and did some tests with ultrafiltration filters. We found out that we captured the oxidized iron and that the dissolved iron remained. After installation of the ultrafiltration filter the customers laundry remained white after washing.

Ultrafiltration and iron

In theory, ultrafiltration is not suitable to filter iron from water. Sharp iron particles or accumulation of the iron can damage or clog the membrane. However, as mentioned above we do have positive experience on using our ultrafiltration filters for the filtering of iron. We also have a location in Belgium where iron has clogged a microfilter intended for iron filtration, but our ultrafiltration filters did not.

We found out that water with iron levels until 0.3 mg/L is no problem for our ultrafiltration filters. This means that ultrafiltration is applicable to remove residual iron after the water is treated by aeration or chemical oxidation.

Iron Water Filter Ultrafiltration candle cartridge filter

How to filter iron from drinking water?

The most safe and effective way of filtering iron from drinking water is by utilizing an iron filter. Water that contains high levels of iron can either be treated by aeration (injecting air into the water) or chemical oxidation, followed by filtration. The residual iron can be removed by ultrafiltration filters, sediment filters, carbon filters, or water softeners.

How does an iron filter work?

Iron filters work actually a lot like water softeners. When the water enters the Iron Water Filter, it passes through compressed air. The water then passes through a membrane which separates the iron from the water. The insoluble partials of iron will stay behind into the membrane while the iron-free water passes through.

Iron filters are maintained with periodic backwashing to remove the insoluble iron out of the membrane.

Iron water filters from PB international

Filters from PB International are able to filter water with residual iron levels until 0.3 mg/L . Are you interested in an iron filter or would you like to receive more info? Please get in contact with one of our filtration specialists by clicking on the button below.

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