The EPA maximum allowable level for iron in water as a secondary contaminant is .3 parts per million and for manganese is .05 parts per million (or 50 ppb). These contaminants often show up together. Small amounts of these minerals can create very noticeable, even devastating affects on your home’s water quality. They can interfere with many cleaning tasks, from doing the laundry to washing dishes to taking a shower. Washing your hair may leave it feeling sticky and dull or even discolor it. Dishes and glasses get spotted and a film may build up on shower doors, bathtubs, sinks and faucets. Clothes can look dingy and feel rough and scratchy. Iron can also cause a residue to build-up in pipes that can lower water pressure.
Iron (see photo below) can build-up inside your water using appliances. Some other affects include corrosion and scaling inside pipes and major staining throughout the home’s showers, bathtubs, and sinks. For those using their water for outside lawn irrigation, iron and manganese can cause major staining of outside walkways, house siding and anyplace the water touches. See the link at https://h2ocare.com/lawn-irrigation/.
A water softener is effective in removing dissolved forms of iron & manganese and hardness minerals. To remove particulate forms, water filtration utilizing a cartridge filter with proper micron rating will be effective. Depending on the specific situation, this could require a series of filters with different size micron ratings to handle heavier levels in the water. Selecting the appropriate micron rating and style of filter can be determined by a water treatment professional based on water test results and other symptoms. Water softeners vary, including up-flow versus down-flow which can make a big difference, particularly if there are elevated levels of iron or manganese in the water. For more on hard water, see hard water epa.
If properly designed, a combination of water softening and sediment filtration can resolve even extremely high levels of iron.