Dealing with Iron Conditions From Wells #4 and #5

Wells #4 and #5 contain elevated iron levels in the water, which pose no health risks, yet cause staining and taste problems in the southwest part of town. The chemicals that are used to treat the water, "sequester" the iron, keeping it in solution form. Unfortunately, there are several factors that can cause the iron to "precipitate" into solid form. If your hot water heater is set to higher than 180°, if the water is in contact with oxygen, "air" for a period of time and if chlorine bleach is added to the water in the wash. The solutions are to turn your hot water setting to lower than the 180°, 120° is usually plenty. This will also help reduce your heating costs. If you have a toilet that is not used often, flush it occasionally. When the water in the toilet evaporates, the iron comes in contact with the air forming the iron ring stains. If you notice iron stains in the dishwasher, you can run it through empty, with some "tang" or iron out, to remove them. We give out free bottles of iron out to our customers. When doing your laundry, try to avoid using hot water. Also if you use bleach, only use "chlorine free" bleach. Chlorine reacts with the iron causing it to precipitate into solid form.

Filters for removing iron, will only work when the iron has already precipitated out. This is not a common occurrence for sequestered iron. When the iron is sequestered, it passes right through the filter medium. However for taste considerations, a charcoal filter will improve the taste considerably. Also if you put a bottle of water in the refrigerator, this well help eliminate some taste problems.

Corrective action by the Water Department

During the winter months when demand is low, we run wells #4 and #5, sparingly to limit the amount of iron levels entering the system. We are currently conducting a water quality study to determine a more effective form of treatment. We are also about a year away from receiving water from the new state of the art treatment plant that we helped build with the Town of Ashland. This plant will deliver water that has had iron and all other undesirable minerals removed from it.  This should allow us to only runs well 4 and 5 for emergencies or very high demands