Three primary methods for removing iron from water exist. Using water softeners works best for low concentrations of iron, while higher concentrations may require special filters. For situations where neither method works, you may need a combination of filters and a chemical oxidizing agent.
Iron deposits can occur in water in soluble and insoluble states. Low concentrations of soluble iron are usually removed by traditional water softeners that ionize water, as well as brine it, to remove iron, often improving clarity and taste. Several factors, such as the presence of organic matter, dissolved oxygen and pH levels, and temperature, affect how well a water softener works.
Higher concentrations of iron, such as those found in well water, require the use of iron filters whether the iron is dissolved or precipitated. These filters work similarly to traditional water softeners in that ferrous water passes through a bed of oxidizing mediums. Any soluble iron converts to a precipitate that is then mechanically filtered from the water.
In situations where organic matter or bacteria are present, which commonly occurs in well water, the water can be disinfected using oxidizing agents such as sodium hypochlorite. These agents convert the iron and organic matter to filterable precipitates as they sanitize the water.