Often an iron problem is the direct result of an infestation of iron bacteria. Although these bacteria do not present a health hazard, they stain fixtures, can clog pipes and valves, and make the water unpalatable. The best control can often be accomplished by shock chlorination. Shock chlorination is the direct treatment of a well and water system with 15 to 20 L of chlorine bleach. This strong chlorine solution is held in the well and water system for at least eight hours before being flushed out. Shock chlorination won’t solve the problem permanently, but it will usually keep the bacteria in check. This procedure should be carried out before selecting iron removal equipment. Shock chlorination in spring and fall is recommended for the continued successful operation of any water treatment equipment.
Continuous chlorination of the well, using dry pellets or liquid chlorine, is another option. Occasionally this treatment may be needed when iron bacteria cannot be effectively controlled by shock chlorination.