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Water Services

Iron & Manganese Water Treatment

Iron and manganese are found naturally in groundwater in all regions of British Columbia. In local areas, concentrations of iron and manganese can range up to several mg/L. 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. Concentrations that exceed the drinking water guideline can occur locally anywhere in the province.

Pitcher-type carbon filtration units can remove some forms of iron and manganese. Boiling water is not recommended for removing iron and manganese as it will likely increase their concentration. Iron and manganese are often removed at the same time, by water treatment with chlorine, ozone or by adding chemicals that cause the metals to form a solid that will settle or be filtered out. Water treatment methods such as ion exchange, oxidizing filters, and reverse osmosis can also be used but these have variable effectiveness and may be expensive for small water systems or households.

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