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Private Wells and Iron

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.

Drinking water with iron concentrations above 0.3 milligrams per liter (mg/L) may have undesirable color, taste and odor and may contribute to sedimentation or scale (mineral deposit) build up in plumbing systems. Iron build up in plumbing systems may stain plumbing fixtures, reduce water flow and affect water using appliances.

The chemical form of the iron found in water is not easily absorbed by the body. Iron in water may be associated with iron bacteria which are not usually associated with health problems. This bacterium is a smelly biofilm that thrives when iron is present. 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 Iron and Health.

Learn more about bacteria in well water.
Levels of various naturally-occurring and man-made constituents in New Mexico groundwater including iron, might be elevated above the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Safe Drinking Water secondary standards (related to odor, color and taste). Ongoing drought conditions and aquifer mining have raised further concern that increases in constituents may occur in the absence of significant ground water recharge events. To assure that the water is safe for human consumption, well owners should periodically test their wells.

The information available on this page, including the maps, demonstrates iron found in tested private wells in New Mexico based on the data available from various sources.

To know the iron concentration in your water from your own well, you need to test. It is important to know what type of iron is in your water before choosing a treatment system.

Learn about testing.

Learn about treatment.

Wells Sampled 1956-2018

Iron levels in water samples from private wells vary between New Mexico counties and even within the same county. The groundwater system in New Mexico is very complex. This complexity can lead to iron concentration variability even amongst neighboring wells. Therefore, to know the iron concentration in your water from your own well, you need to test.

The secondary safe drinking water concentration for iron, related to aesthetics (color, odor and taste), is 0.3 milligrams per liter (mg/L). Some of the water samples from wells in all counties appear to exceed this Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Safe Drinking Water secondary standard.

Drinking water containing iron more than EPA's standard could contribute to undesirable color, taste and odor and may contribute to problems in plumbing systems. Iron build up in plumbing systems may stain plumbing fixtures, reduce water flow and affect water using appliances.

Learn more about Iron and Health. Iron Distribution in NM private wells 1956-2018

Iron Distribution in New Mexico Private Wells (Wells Sampled May 1956 - Nov 2018
Iron Distribution in New Mexico Private Wells (Wells Sampled May 1956 - Nov 2018
New Mexico Private Wells Inventory (Iron Test Results Summary May 1956 - Nov 2018
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Content updated: Fri, 5 Apr 2019 18:29:16 MDT