How To Get Rid Of Brown Well Water

Updated on March 9, 2023

Do you want to get rid of brown well water? If the answer is “yes”, then you are in the right place. Because here I am going to tell you about the easy way to get rid of unhealthy, dirty, and rusty brown water. The polluted water is not always brown, sometimes the silt and tannins can turn the color of the water into a gray liquid. However, if you find a little change in the color of water, taste, or smell an awful odor, you should stop using it.

Because all of these are signs that well water is not for use now. The major reason behind the changed color is iron bacteria. It does not cause diseases but can give birth to some dangerous germs. And as a result, the user will suffer from cholera, stomach problems, jaundice, and fever. To save you from all these problems, here I am going to tell you “what causes water to turn brown?” and “the way you can get rid of brown well water”.

How To Get Rid Of Brown Well Water

No one wants to use dirty and polluted water. First, if you want to get rid of brown water you have to understand the reason behind it. Rusty pipes are the major reason for brown water. Well, there are also other causes. I will tell you about each problem that is causing brown water and then troubleshoots. Let’s start with a major reason.

Why Is My Well Water Brown?

1. Iron

One of the major reasons for brown well water is iron. But the question arises where the iron gets into well. The iron is getting from the crust of the earth, rusty pipes, and from corroded. Moreover, the iron has so many paths to enter well such as when rain seeps into the ground. There are different types of iron that turn fresh water into a brown liquid for instance iron bacteria, ferric iron, or ferrous iron.

2. Silt

The silt cannot enter the well via pipeline. But if the well opening, casning, or the bottom of the well is damaged. The rainwater dissolved solids can easily enter the well. These solids cause silt which turns your freshwater into a toxic liquid. The silt water is a risk to your health. The silt water seems gray and tastes unpleasant. It can cause cholera and typhoid fever. Furthermore, silt clotting in pipelines can disturb the water flow.

3. Rust

Rust can access the water via iron pipelines. But when the oxygen and water are exposed to one another, they cause rust. The rust makes your water reddish-brown. The rusty water tastes bad but it is not toxic until you drink liters of water and overexposure to iron makes you sick. It can cause skin rashes, hair problems, and even cancer.

4. Tannins

This organic material can pollute your well water and make it look tea-like liquid. The tannin is created when the water passes peaty soil and rotted vegetation. Tannins cause an earthy odor and change the taste of water. However, it does not present health dangers. But it does not mean you should consume tannin water. Tannin in water produces germs that can ruin your immune system.

Determine The Culprit

There could be other elements that can cause brown well water such as lead or copper. However, to understand the real problem you need a water test. Because without identifying the core reason you cannot fix the well water. If you do not want to spend more money then you can use water testing kits. These kits are made for testing the water at home. Water testing kits are widely used for testing the level of iron or rust in the water. These kits are easy to use and inexpensive.

On the other hand, a laboratory test will cost you 3 times more. But the laboratory tests are reliable and valid as compared to the water testing kits. Furthermore, the water testing kits cannot identify all the chemicals. Such as tannins and silt are hard to determine. For such minerals, you should use a kit that will exclusively test silt or tannin. As well as, you can contact a laboratory. The laboratory test results are reliable because laboratory workers use advanced machines for counting the number of lethal chemicals in the water.

The common culprits for brown water are rust and iron. These two elements are easy to test with a testing kit. But it does not mean you should use iron and rust killing materials before the test. First, test your well water properly, and then go for cleaning. In this way, you can easily understand which filtration plant or chemical is good for the water.

Easy Solutions To Getting Rid of Brown Well Water

Nowadays brown water is a common issue. Because climate change and more rain than in the past bring so many different chemicals with it. These chemicals seep into the earth and reach the well water. As a result, your well water changes its color and taste. But fortunately, brown well water is not a big problem. There are plenty of tailor-made solutions to get rid of polluted water.

1. Ion Exchange

If you have identified small amounts of iron and other minerals such as calcium and manganese. Then you use an ion exchange plant. This device will remove all the iron and other minerals within seconds. It is used for softening hard water. All you need is to install the device at the water entry point of your house. In this way, the water will be filtered before entering the pipelines of your house. But make sure that your house pipelines are not rusty. Basically, when you switch the tape, the water comes into the small tanks of the device.

Here the device uses sodium ions to eliminate the manganese, calcium, and iron by creating a cation exchange. If the well water possesses more than 10 ppm iron, it can shorten the service life of your device. For such conditions, you should use a special iron filter plant. As well as, the ion exchange devices often have a silt filter as a bonus. This filter can remove a large amount of silt from the water.

2. Air Injection Oxidization

The second way to remove iron from water is air injection oxidization. The air injection filters work smartly by injecting oxygen into the water. In this way, the iron turns into rust. Then the rust is trapped in a filter section. After it, the machine flushes the rust according to the preset schedule. The air injection filter is a little hard to set. This system requires a plumber to fit the filters. As well, this plant has some problems. Such as it does not remove the manganese if the amount is not above 8 percent.

Furthermore, it consumes unfiltered basement air to clean water. Well, you can use an air filter for clean air. Using air injection oxidization is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to eliminate all iron contaminations. It not only removes the iron but also clears manganese from the water. Unfortunately, for tannins and silt removal you need another plant because these two minerals are hard to separate from water so it does not clean these two minerals.

3. Greensand Filters

Another way to remove the contaminations from the water is using the greensand filters. These filters are similar to air injection oxidization. But the difference is air injection oxidation uses oxygen in contrast, the greensand filters use manganese oxide. The manganese layers oxidize iron and the dissolved solids turn into solids.

The impurities sit on the filter section and are backwashed according to the schedule. Air injection oxidization and the greensand filters are 80 percent similar. Both of these filters have the same performance and speed of filtration. For your kind information, there is also a price difference. The air injection filters are a little expensive as compared to the greensand filters. Choosing between air injection oxidization and greensand filter is up to you.

4. Sediment Filtration

This filter is used to cure dirty and dusty water. Although it can also clean the rust particles, it is exclusively made for removing the silt from the water. Different water purifications such as UV purifications and reverse osmosis use sediment filtration for changing the color of the water.But as I have mentioned it does not address the problems of other minerals such as manganese and iron. Anyhow, if you are using sediment filtration before ion exchange or air injection you can eliminate each particle of rust, manganese, iron, and silt from the water.

5. Ultraviolet Purification

If you are skeptical about the bacteria and germs then you should go for UV purification. This system neutralizes all the parasites and bacteria in the water which changes its color. It damages the DNA of bacteria to stop further reproduction and polluting the water. These bacterias are not hazardous but they can give birth to dangerous germs which can cause cholera, typhoid fever, skin infection, and other stomach problems. But UV purification stops bacteria from malfunctioning by attacking their DNA.

6. Replace Rusted Pipelines

If the well water test is positive, then the problem is somewhere in the pipelines. In such a situation, you need to identify the pipe that is causing brown water in the tape. The filtration plants can remove the rust from the well water. But these filters cannot fix the problems of pipelines. In order to separate rust from water, you are required to change the infected pipelines.

Because the major reason for the rust is the iron pipelines. These pipelines are pretty strong and unable to break. But when rust attacks, nothing can stop them from decaying. It is true that the earth’s crust possesses iron and after some time the iron becomes rust. But there are very few chances of this happening.

Instead, there are 90 percent chances that the rust is coming out of the depreciating iron pipelines. it is an expensive job that can cost you thousands of dollars. However, dollars value nothing in front of health. If you neglect it for a long, the rusted pipes will infect other pipelines. So, before you suffer from hazardous diseases and the high cost of replacing all the pipelines. You must change the infected mediums as soon as possible.


How long does it take for well water to clear up?

It depends on the size of the well. Small wells take an hour for clearing up and medium-sized wells take several hours. But if you have a big well and the water is too dirty then it could take days for clearing up.

Is brown well water safe to drink?

No, the wall water is certainly not safe to drink. Because it possesses bacteria and parasites which can cause different diseases such as jaundice, typhoid fever, cholera, and several other diseases.

How much does it cost to clean out a well?

It almost costs you $70 to $100. But it depends on where you live and the size of the well. If the well is larger than the normal wells, it may cost you more than $100.

Why does my well water turn brown after a heavy rain?

The major reason water turns brown after a heavy rain is leaking well openings, rusty and plumbings.

How can I naturally purify my well water?

You can purify the water with some natural elements. Such as liquid chlorine and food grade vinegar. The chlorine raises the pH level in the water but the vinegar can lower pH levels. These two elements are best to cure dirty and silt water.


Cleaning well is a hard job. It requires filtration plants, water cleaning powders, and replacing rusty pipelines. However, there are several ways you can adapt to using the well water. You can change the bottom of the well in case of damage and check out leakages. Furthermore, if you want to clean the well naturally then go for vinegar and liquid chlorine. Anyhow, the above 6 ways to get rid of brown well water will provide you with clean and healthy water. If you are still unable to decide which filtration is best then here are my two most recommended filters.

  1. Ion exchange, cleans out each and every tiny particle of the rust and provides you with neat and clean odorless water.
  2. UV Purification, is for those who want to get rid of dirty, silt water and will damage all the bacteria to eliminate all risks of hazardous diseases.

Leave a Comment