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  • Iron can be naturally occurring in New Mexico geology and dissolve into groundwater. It may also get into drinking water from corrosion of plumbing or well components.
  • The most common result of high iron concentrations in water is aesthetic effects (color, taste, and odor) and build up that may cause plumbing problems.
  • Iron may exist in different chemical forms, so it is important to test your well water before choosing a treatment system.
  • Testing your private well water is the best way to know the amount and type of iron in your drinking water and to help in choosing a treatment system.
  • The chemical form of the iron found in water is not easily absorbed by the body. Iron in well water is not usually associated with health problems.
  • Iron bacteria which can be associated with iron in water are not usually associated with health problems. This bacterium forms a smelly biofilm that thrives when iron is present. To troubleshoot the presence of iron bacteria, you will need to troubleshoot the source of the iron, which could be from corrosion of the plumbing system or well structure. Learn more about bacteria in well water.
  • Iron can occur naturally in the groundwater in New Mexico because the water dissolves it out of iron containing rock and soil. Iron can also come from corrosion of iron or steel pipes or well casing.
  • Public water systems should not have iron above 0.3 milligrams per liter (mg/L) to avoid undesirable color, taste and odor as recommended by New Mexico Environment Department and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
  • To find the quality of your community drinking water contact your water system provider. If you are on a private well, have your drinking water tested regularly.
Treatment of water containing iron will vary depending on the chemical form of the iron present, water chemistry, and well type. It is important to test your water before choosing a water treatment system. A licensed well contractor or water quality professional may help with choosing the right treatment system for your water chemistry. Learn how to hire a contractor from

For additional guidance choosing a treatment system certified to remove iron consult with the Water Quality Association or at 630-505-0160 or NSF international (formerly the National Sanitation Foundation) or at 1-800-NSF-MARK (1-800-673-6275).

Learn more about testing.

Learn more about private well water and treatment.

The most common treatment for iron bacteria is "shock" chlorination of the well and water system. Learn more about the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) well disinfection guidelines.
If you get your water from a public drinking water system, contact:
If you get your water from a private well, you should have your well water tested:
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Content updated: Thu, 4 Jun 2020 16:26:02 MDT