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Common Reasons For Yellow Well Water & How to Get Rid Of It

Scott Winfield
Last Updated on
by Scott Winfield

If you get your water supply from a well, you may have noticed that it sometimes has a yellow tint to it. While this is usually no cause for alarm, there are some instances where it can be indicative of a problem.

Understanding the common reasons for yellow well water can help you determine whether you need to take action to fix the issue. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common reasons for yellow water from wells and what you can do about it.

Common Reasons For Yellow Well Water & How to Get Rid Of It
Common Reasons For Yellow Well Water & How to Get Rid Of It

Why Is My Well Water Yellow All of a Sudden?

Well water can turn yellow for several reasons. If you notice that your well water is suddenly yellow, it is likely due to iron bacteria, ferric iron, rusty pipes, or sediment in the well.

While these causes do not represent significant health risks in the short term, they can indicate a more severe problem. If you notice that your well water is yellow, you should take action to determine the cause and address it as soon as possible.

However, if you suspect surface runoff from rain or melting snow is the cause of your yellow water, you should get your water tested as soon as possible. This is because surface runoff can pick up harmful bacteria and contaminants, posing a serious health risk.

If you are on a private well, you are responsible for ensuring the safety of your water supply. You should have your water regularly tested to ensure it meets all safety standards.

Ferric Iron

Ferric Iron
Ferric Iron

One of the most common reasons for yellow water is ferric iron. Ferric iron is dissolved iron that has been oxidized and turned into a solid. When water containing ferric iron is exposed to oxygen, it will turn yellow or brown.

If you notice that your well water is yellow and has a metallic taste, it is likely due to ferric iron. While this is not a health risk, it can be unpleasant, cause staining, and clog pipes.

The best way to remove ferric iron from your water is to use a water filter that is specifically designed to remove it. You can install a separate filter for your kitchen sink or showerhead if you have a whole house filter.

Rusty Pipes

Rusty Pipes
Rusty Pipes

Another common reason for yellow well water is rusty pipes. If your water supply is coming from an old well, the pipes may be made of iron, and rust could be the culprit.

As water flows through these pipes, it picks up small particles of iron and rust, which can turn it yellow. While this is not a health risk, it can cause staining and clogging.

If your well water is yellow and you have rusty pipes, the best way to fix the problem is to replace the pipes. This can be a costly and time-consuming project, but it is the only way to ensure that your water is free of iron and rust.

Getting a qualified professional to do the job is essential to ensure that it is done correctly.

Organic Material

Organic Material
Organic Material

Water seeping through swampy or peaty soils on the way to your well’s aquifer may pick up tannins, natural byproducts of decaying vegetation. If your water has a yellow or tea-colored tint, it may be due to tannins in the water.

Most common in marshy, coastal or low lying areas, tannins may also be found in deep wells. Tannins can give water an unpleasant taste and cause staining. They are not a health risk, but they can be a nuisance.

Tannin filters are the most common way to remove tannins from water. These filters work by adsorbing the tannins onto a filter media, which can then be flushed out of the system.

These filtration systems require regular cleaning since the tannins will eventually clog the filter.

Tannins are also removed through oxidation, activated carbon filters, and reverse osmosis. If you have tannins in your water, it is best to consult with a water treatment professional to determine the best course of action.

Iron Bacteria

Iron Bacteria
Iron Bacteria

Iron bacteria are microscopic organisms that live in water and soil. They get their energy by oxidizing iron, manganese, and other metals. This process can cause staining, clogging, and discoloration of water.

If you notice that your well water is yellow or brown and has a slimy texture, it is likely due to iron bacteria. While this is not a health risk, it can be an annoyance.

Iron bacteria removal is a long and technical process that should be done by a qualified professional. The first step is to identify the type of bacteria present and then select the appropriate treatment.

Iron bacteria are difficult to remove and often require a combination of pasteurization, chlorination, and filtration.

How to Get Rid of Yellow Water in Well

Getting rid of yellow water in your well can be a challenge, but it is important to identify the cause and take action to address it. There are several different treatments available, depending on the cause of the problem.

Step 1: Test Your Well Water

The first step is to test your well water. This will help you identify the cause of the problem and determine the best course of action.

Testing can be done either at home or by a qualified professional. The test results will help you identify the problem and choose the most effective treatment.

Step 2: Choose a Treatment Solution Based on Your Test Results

After determining the cause of the problem, you can select the most appropriate treatment. Some of the most common treatments are:

Pipe Replacement

If corroded or rusted pipes are the cause of your yellow water, the only way to fix the problem is to replace the pipes. It should be done by a qualified professional to ensure that it is done correctly.

Tannin Filters

The water tests may reveal the presence of tannins in your water. Tannin filters are the most common way to remove tannins from water.

These filters adsorb the tannins onto a filter media, which can then be flushed out of the system.

Sometimes the tannin removal will require more than one type of treatment. In this case, you should consult with a water treatment professional to determine the best course of action.

Iron Bacteria Removal

If iron bacteria are present in your water, it is important to take action to remove them. This is a long and technical process that should be done by a qualified professional.

The high levels of care and expertise required make this one of the most expensive treatment options.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis is a process that removes contaminants from water by forcing it through a semipermeable membrane. This is an effective way to remove a wide variety of pollutants, including tannins, iron, and bacteria.

It is important to note that reverse osmosis systems require regular maintenance and replacement of filters.

Activated Carbon Filtration

Activated carbon filters are another option for removing tannins, iron, and bacteria from water. These filters work by adsorbing the contaminants onto the surface of the filter media.

The activated carbon filters will need to be replaced regularly, depending on the level of contamination in your water.

Chlorination

Chlorination is a process that involves adding chlorine to the water to kill bacteria and other microorganisms. This is a common treatment for iron bacteria.

It is important to note that chlorination can cause problems with the taste and smell of your water. Your water treatment professional can recommend a different treatment option if this is a concern.

UV Disinfection

UV disinfection is a process that uses ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and other microorganisms. This is an effective way to remove iron bacteria from water.

The UV disinfection should only be done by a qualified professional.

Step 3: Step 3: Re-test Your Well Water After Treatment

After selecting and implementing treatment, it is important to re-test your well water. This will help you ensure that the treatment is effective and that your water is safe to use.

Re-test your water to check that the yellow tint and other contaminants are gone. If it was a case of iron bacteria, you should also have the water tested for chlorine levels to ensure that it is safe to use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most common questions regarding yellow water.

Can I Prevent Yellow Water from Occurring?

Most causes of yellow water are due to natural factors that are beyond your control. However, there are some which you can control, such as rusted plumbing fixtures.

Checking the condition of your pipes and fixtures regularly can help to prevent yellow water.

Why is my Well Water Yellow After it Rains?

The most likely reason for this is that the rain has leached minerals from the soil into your water. This is a common problem in areas with high mineral content in the ground.

A test of your water will reveal the presence of these minerals, and you can take steps to remove them.

Yellow well water after rain could also be caused by surface water leaking into your well. This could pose a serious health risk, so it is important to have your well water tested as soon as possible.

Surface water runoff could contain serious contaminants such as pesticides and fertilizers and, in serious cases, raw sewage, leading to serious illness.

How Much Does It Cost To Get Rid of Yellow Water in a Well?

The cost of treatment will vary depending on the cause of the yellow water. If it is due to high levels of minerals, the treatment price will be lower than if iron bacteria cause it.

The best way to get an accurate estimate of the cost of treatment is to consult with a water treatment professional. They will be able to assess your specific situation and recommend the best course of action.

How Long Does it Take for Yellow Water to Go Away?

The time it takes for yellow water to go away will depend on the cause of the problem. If it is due to high levels of minerals, the yellow color should disappear within a few days.

However, if iron bacteria cause it, it could take several weeks or longer to resolve the problem.

In most cases, you will need to continue using a water treatment system even after the yellow color has gone away. This ensures that your water is safe to use and that the problem does not return.

Is Yellow Well Water Safe to Drink?

The safety of yellow well water depends on the cause of the problem. If it is due to high levels of minerals, the water is safe to drink.

However, if iron bacteria cause it, the water could be contaminated with harmful bacteria.

It is important to have your well water tested as soon as you notice a color change. This will help determine the cause of the problem and whether or not the water is safe to drink.

Contaminants in your well water can cause various health problems, ranging from minor gastrointestinal issues to severe illnesses. If you are concerned about the safety of your water, it is best to consult with a water treatment professional.

Is it Okay to Bathe in Yellow Water From Well?

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, bathing in yellow water from the well does not present a health risk. It is considered safe to use slightly yellow water. However, long-term exposure to high mineral content could cause itchiness or dry skin.

The main concern with using yellow water for bathing is that it can cause staining of clothing and other materials.

It is essential to take care when using yellow water to avoid contact with surfaces that could be stained. The sediment could also damage your plumbing if it is allowed to build up.

Why is My Water Yellow in the Morning?

If your water is yellow in the morning, it is likely due to a high level of minerals. This is more common in areas with hard water.

The minerals can build up overnight and cause the water to appear yellow when you first turn on the tap in the morning.

To resolve this problem, you can install a water softener. This will remove the minerals from your water and prevent them from building up overnight.

Letting the water flow for a few minutes each morning will also help flush out the minerals and improve the color of your water.

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Scott Winfield
Scott Winfield
My name is Scott Winfield and researching and writing about water filters and other strategies to purify water has become my full time passion in recent years. I'm glad that you found our site and you can look forward to authoritative and well researched content here to help you get the best in water.
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