What 43 Million Americans Need to Know About Iron in Their Water


While clean water is essential for good health, many households may be unknowingly exposed to harmful contaminants. More than 43 million people, or about 15 percent of the U.S. population, rely on private wells for their drinking water, which are not regulated by the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act or, in most cases, by state laws. Iron and manganese are two such commonly overlooked contaminants that can pose health risks and damage home appliances.

Why Iron and Manganese are a Concern

Iron and manganese are naturally occurring elements found in the Earth's crust. While small amounts are essential for human health, excessive levels can lead to a range of issues including aesthetic problems like staining, unpleasant taste and odor, health risks, and damage to household appliances. A full list of issues caused by iron contamination can be found here.

The Unseen Threat of Private Wells

According to the USGS National Water Quality Program, private wells serve as the sole source of water for many households, especially in rural areas. Health risks associated with contaminants in well water include gastrointestinal illness and exposure to elevated concentrations of various harmful substances. Due to a lack of routine testing, homeowners could unknowingly be consuming water with elevated concentrations of iron, manganese, and other contaminants.

Statistics on Domestic Wells

In a USGS study of 2,100 domestic wells, water from about one in five contained contaminants exceeding human-health benchmarks. Man-made organic compounds were detected in more than half (60%) of the domestic wells sampled, although concentrations rarely exceeded health benchmarks. Microbial contaminants were found in about one-third of the approximately 400 wells tested.

How to Detect the Problem

To identify iron and manganese in your water supply, look for yellowish or reddish stains on fixtures, a metallic taste or a "rotten egg" smell in the water. The most reliable method, however, is testing your water, which can be done with kits available at hardware stores, online, or by hiring a professional for a comprehensive analysis. We also provide you with a guide to detecting iron in your home's water supply; this can quickly get you started on ensuring that your family and home have clean, iron-free water.

Solving the Issue: Filtration Systems

If tests confirm elevated levels of iron and manganese, the most effective solution is installing a specialized filtration system. These systems can also filter out other contaminants, safeguarding your family's health and prolonging the lifespan of your home appliances. Our most recommended system is the Katalox Light Advanced Iron Filter. This system has left countless customers happy and healthy.


Iron and manganese are widespread issues that can silently affect millions of homes, especially those using private wells. Being proactive about testing your water supply and installing a quality filtration system can save you from future health problems and appliance issues. For those considering installing a filtration system, check out our comprehensive Iron Filtration Buying Guide to help make an informed decision.

We're Here To Help You

Don't hesitate to look to us for professional assistance. Our experts at Mid Atlantic Water have been helping customers make the right choice for their home's water problems for nearly 30 years. If you have any questions with water problems in your home or which iron filter is right for you, we're here to help. Contact us however you'd like:

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published