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Iron bacteria are tiny microorganisms that are commonly found in environments with high levels of dissolved iron and low levels of dissolved oxygen, such as groundwater wells and boreholes. They use iron and other minerals as a source of energy to produce organic compounds through chemosynthesis, which is similar to photosynthesis but does not require sunlight. Although these bacteria are harmless to humans, they can cause issues in water supply systems by clogging pipes, causing corrosion and leaks, reducing water flow, and producing unpleasant odors.  Over the last two years we have seen a substantial increase in the amount of iron bacteria contamination in Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo, Kingston, and Hansville.

Iron bacteria can create a slimy substance that adheres to pipes, causing corrosion and reducing water flow. If left untreated, it can lead to replacing the plumbing in households. This substance can also produce a foul odor and discoloration in the water. Although UV radiation and ozone are great ways to treat bacteria, they are ineffective against iron bacteria because iron bacteria can create biofilms that protect themselves from the damaging effects of UV radiation and isolate themselves from ozone. Therefore, alternative methods such as physical removal or chemical disinfection may be more effective in controlling iron bacteria in water systems.

The treatment process for iron bacteria involves several steps. The first step is a chlorine injection system and water meter, which tracks water usage and communicates with the pump to distribute a dosage of chlorine formula, which is injected into plumbing. The next step is a contact tank that ensures there is adequate contact time for the chlorine to kill the iron bacteria. After the contact tank, a Pure Blue whole-home canister filter kit is needed to ensure sediment does not clog and obstruct the treatment systems. Once the chlorine has done its job and killed the iron bacteria, it is no longer needed and should be removed from the water supply. To achieve this, a system called the Chlorine Titan is used. Finally, a whole-home treatment system is installed to treat for specific contaminants based on the water quality, with the most common systems being Iron Titan, Tannin Titan, NitroTitan, or SoftPro. Customers can also benefit from reverse osmosis to ensure the best quality drinking water.

The maintenance for treating iron bacteria involves adding chlorine formula once a month based on water usage and replacing the filter inside the Pure Blue canister housing every six months. In extreme cases, the timeframe for replacement may be sooner. Replacement filters are available for $65.

In conclusion, iron bacteria may be harmless to humans, but they can cause significant issues in water supply systems. Although UV radiation and ozone are ineffective against iron bacteria, alternative methods such as physical removal or chemical disinfection can be used to control iron bacteria in water systems. A treatment process involving several steps and maintenance is necessary to treat iron bacteria effectively.