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Rust is an iron oxide formed when iron and oxygen react, usually in the presence of moisture. Rust in drinking water can turn the liquid yellow, brown, orange, or red, depending on its concentration. It typically results from rusty water pipes.

Rust in Drinking Water

(Pixabay / Arcaion)

You can remove rust from drinking water. Here are some options:

  • Water softener – Installing an ion exchange water softener in your home will eliminate the problem of rust. The device contains materials that chemically combine with the iron to eliminate the rust. Sodium is one of the most common materials used in water softeners. The softener also uses an ion exchange to remove different mineral compounds that make the water “hard.”
  • Oxidizing filter – If you are going to install a water softener in your water line, you can also install a filter. The oxidizing filter has manganese oxide coating that converts soluble iron compounds into insoluble compounds that will be mechanically filtered out of the water. The oxidizing filter is recommended for water with a medium concentration of iron.
  • Chemical solution feeder – A chemical solution feeder can add polyphosphates to the water supply at home. Polyphosphates are large molecules with phosphorus that disperse the iron content of the water and prevent the formation of rust. The feeders are recommended for well water and are quite expensive.
  • Bleach – Adding about one-half gallon of bleach and allowing it to sit for 12 hours before running the water supply will clean the water line of rust that is produced by bacteria. This solution will not work if bacteria are not causing the rust in your water line.

Clean water is important in maintaining health. If you see rust in your water, you need to get help. Contact a professional for an emergency plumbing solution.