Iron Bacteria in Wisconsin & Illinois Basements

Iron bacteria (a.k.a. Iron Ochre) are a natural part of the environment. These microorganisms combine dissolved iron or manganese with oxygen and use it to form rust-colored deposits. In the process, the bacteria produce a brown slime that builds up on drains, pipes, and plumbing fixtures.

Effects of Iron Bacteria

Iron bacteria in wells do not cause health problems, but they can have the following unpleasant and possibly expensive effects: Cause odors, Corrode plumbing equipment, clog pipes, clog drainage systems, and increase chances of sulfur bacteria infestation. Iron bacteria can cause damage to pipes due to deposition of iron compounds, resulting in clogging tuberculation of pipes and red water.

Preventing Iron Bacteria

Prevention is the best safeguard against accompanying problems.  Iron bacteria are nourished by carbon and other organics, and it is essential that they not be introduced into any part of a drainage system. Because it is difficult to get rid of iron bacteria once they exist, it best to isolate it and try to control it rather than trying to completely “cure” the problem.

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