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Iron Bacteria: A Natural Born Nuisance

As natural parts of the environment, iron bacteria can be found in ground water and wells. Simply put, they are bacteria the literally live off the iron. The combination of dissolved iron and manganese with oxygen form rust colored deposits. Millions of bacteria convert soluble ferrous into insoluble ferric by a process called chemosynthesis and feed of the energy it provides. It is not pollution, but it may be indicative of it.

In the process of chemosynthesis, the bacteria produces a brown slime that builds up on drains, pipes, and plumbing fixtures. This can be a major problem for wells and plumbing in basements. A large amount of bacteria build up can clog up the flow of water and waste, creating terrible backups and possible pipe damage.

For the most part, iron bacteria do not cause any health problems, but they do have unpleasant side effects that tag along with them. Iron bacteria effects include:

  • Nasty odors
  • Corroded plumbing equipment
  • Clogged pipes
  • Clogged drainage systems
  • Increased chances of Sulfur Bacteria infestation

Iron Bacteria Prevention

Like any kind of basement bacteria, the best way to get rid of Iron Bacteria is to prevent it from getting in. Prevention is the best safeguard against any accompanying problems. Iron bacteria find their nourishment by carbon and other organics, so it is essential that these elements are not introduced to any part of your drainage systems.

It is very difficult to get rid of iron bacteria once they exist, so it is best to isolate and control it rather than try to cure the problem. When a contractor installs a sub-floor drainage system, they should try to install some type of wall protection at the same time. With an iron bacteria problem evident, it is believed to be the best defense to control or minimize the bacteria. By taking the correct precautionary actions, you can keep your basement free of Iron Bacteria for good.