Iron and manganese are naturally occurring minerals found in many types of rock & soil. Levels of iron and manganese in groundwater are often higher than those measured in surface waters.

The concentration of iron and manganese in well water can fluctuate seasonally and vary with the depth and location of the well and the geology of an area.  Iron and manganese naturally occur in groundwater that has little or no oxygen, typically in deeper wells (but not always), in areas where groundwater flow is slow, and in areas where groundwater flows through soils rich in organic matter.  Iron and manganese can increase the growth of unwanted bacteria that form a slimy coating in plumbing and toilets known as iron or manganese bacteria.

The objective for iron in water is measured as 0.3 mg/L or ppm or less.The objective for manganese in water is 0.05 mg/L or ppm or less.

Signs of Iron & Manganese

  • Yellow- black stains on clothes.
  • Yellow to black stains on sinks, toilets, bathtubs.
  • Can cause water to be discoloured at high concentrations.
  • Metallic taste and odours.
  • Can come in the form of particles, sediment, flakes or slime in water.
  • Can block pipes & appliances.

Health Effects

Iron and manganese in water is not a health hazard by itself but it may increase the hazard of other bacteria’s associated with health risks. Since many of these organisms require iron and manganese to grow. All minerals in excessive levels can cause health complications.


Iron and manganese can be treated using several methods. Low levels of iron & manganese can be treated using a high-efficiency water softener. Medium levels of iron and manganese can be treated using air injection. High levels of iron are treated using a Chemical feed system.   

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