Home » How To Get Rid Of Brown Well Water? {Easy & Detailed Guide}

How To Get Rid Of Brown Well Water? {Easy & Detailed Guide}

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Suppose on a bright sunny day you are just home from work. What you need now is a glass of cool crystal clear water. But as you hold the glass under the water tap, you see a glass of brown water in your hand. This is shocking and gets you into an awkward situation. So you have to find out how to get rid of brown well water.

Many residential homes use well water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. Because it is healthy and pure for us to use, yet, sometimes it can have a brown color, and you need to take notice to define the cause of this discoloration. You believe that the water of the well is the most natural form of water that cannot be contaminated anyway. But now you realize that it is a wrong perception, and you have to fix the issue.

In some cases, the event of brown well water is more serious. And you immediately need to check how contaminated your water is. Because your health might be at risk, if the water comes out brown or you see brown stains on your sinks, find a solution to this problem. 

The most common reason for brown well water is iron, but there might be other reasons behind this problem. In this article, we have pointed the possible reasons behind the brown well water and ways to fix it. So, read out the article and know how to get rid of brown well water.

Things to know For Brown Well Water?

Before you search how to get rid of brown well water?, it is important to know the reason behind this. Because the treatment depends on the reason that is making your water brown. There are different types of water treatment depending on the water systems in your home. So you need to find the issue to apply the best treatment for it. And for this, let’s learn about the well water system and how to test your well water.

Know The Well Water System

The source of your well water is the underground aquifer. The rainwater seeps through the soil and goes downwards to meet a layer of sediment. This filters the water, which then passes through the gravel and reaches the aquifer. The water is stored there and doesn’t go further down because of the impermeable rock below.

You get the water directly from the aquifer. This water is clear and has no contamination. But sometimes, you get brown water and also feel a different taste in the water. So you need to test the water to know what is making it brown.

Test Your Well Water

There are many well water testing kits available in the market. These are designed to detect hardness, iron, lead, bacteria like total coliform and fecal coliform, etc. But it is difficult to test all of these impurities yourself. Also, you will need a special test kit to measure tannins and sediment.

We suggest you go with a simpler solution. This is to buy a widely available well water test kit to detect iron and rust. Because iron is the most common cause of brown well water, so it’s wise to test your water for iron contamination first.

There is an alternative way to test the well water, which provides more specific results. You can approach a laboratory for a complete water test. This will give you information about all the impurities in your well water, along with the level of contamination.

The water test should include checking pH level, iron concentration, hardness, dissolved solids, and iron bacteria. For a more thorough inspection, you can test for e-coli bacteria, fecal coliform, and total coliform. 

Reasons For Brown Well Water 

  • Iron

Iron can mix with your well water from the earth’s crust or rusty pipes. When it rains, iron can enter your well through the underground aquifer. Also, in some areas, iron is a common groundwater mineral that enters the well with rainwater through the pump.

Different types of iron like ferrous, ferric, and iron bacteria mix with underground water. It is not visible in the water, but it changes the smell and taste and turns the water brown. The worst is iron bacteria that leaves a thin layer of deposits and gradually clog your water pipes.

  • Rust

When iron is exposed to water and oxygen, it oxidizes and forms rust. We often notice rust stains on faucets and in sink basins, toilets, and bathtubs. Rust develops wherever iron-laced water comes in contact with air.

Rust is responsible for damage to the pipe. And it eventually results in the cracking and weakening of water pipes. This results in the discoloration of water. The discolored water also causes itchiness and broken hair strands if you regularly bathe with it.

  • Silt or Sediment

Silt or sediment may mix with the well water if any of the components of the well is damaged. It may be the well-screen, well pump, casing, or the bedrock at the bottom of the aquifer. During maintenance work or drilling a new well, slit particles pass through the casing and fall into the water. Also, the dissolved solids from rainwater are pumped into your well.

This may cause an issue to your home and your health. Sand, silt, mud, and suspended solids may cause damage and blockage to the water pipes. The water gets cloudy and murky with an unpleasant taste. Slit-laced water also carries total coliform, fecal coliform, or E. Coli bacteria. This can make you sick when ingested.

  • Tannins

Tannins are natural organic materials that are developed in decaying, peaty soil and leaves. When it rains, tannins pass through soil and leaves and reach a well through the aquifer. Tannins mixed water has an earthy smell and a tangy taste. These impurities can turn your well water brown or yellow.

How to Get Rid of Brown Well water?


Now you know what may cause your well water to turn brown. So, once you confirm which impurities are causing brown well water, you can move on to resolve the issue. Below are the five most popular treatments to clean brown well water.

#1. Ion Exchange

This process is useful for softening the water for the entire house. The filter is placed at the entry point of water to get both hot and cold softened water. This provides filtered water to showers, taps, and all water-based appliances in the house.

Water from your well flows into the ion exchange tank and passes through the salt-based water softener. Here sodium ions are released into the water. This causes iron minerals and other water hardness ions attracted to a positively charged media bed and sticks to it. So you get the water cleaned off calcium, magnesium, and iron minerals that are the cause of brown water.

An ion exchange water softener usually comes with a sediment pre-filter that removes silt from the water before ion exchange takes place.

It is to remember that every water softener cannot efficiently remove large amounts of iron, especially the iron bacteria. So you need a specifically designed iron removal softener if this is the reason for your brown well water.

#2. Air Injection Oxidization

This kind of treatment eliminates Iron, Manganese, and Sulphur from the well water. In this process, an oxidizing filter is placed on the incoming water line. And oxygen is introduced into the water tank to oxidize iron and manganese. These oxidized particles then stick to the surface, and clean water comes through the filter. The solid impurities are then flushed out.

This treatment is used to clean some particular impurities like iron and manganese. But this is not ideal if you want bacteria or tannins removal.

#3. Greensand Filters

The Greensand filters work the same way as the air injection filter. This filter is coated with manganese oxide, which oxidizes iron and manganese and turns them into solid particles. The solid impurities then dissolve on the surface of the media bed. This can be flushed away to restore fresh and clear media.

Both the air injection oxidization and greensand filters provide the same results with slightly different processes. So you can choose one depending on your budget and ease of installation.

#4. Sediment Filtration

A sediment filter is used as a sole filter to supply clean water to the entire house. It is installed at the start point of your water filter system. This type of filter is designed to clean dirty and discolored water with sediment. There are pores of 1 to 5 microns in the filter. The dissolved solids like dirt, sand, dust, and rust are washed through the pores. To get the best result, you can use another filtration solution like the reverse osmosis system along with this.

#5. Reverse Osmosis

This highly effective water treatment system can remove almost 100% of organic materials from dirty water. It is generally installed before the water heater to provide the whole house with clean water. You can also install it at your kitchen sink to get clean water for kitchen work.

With the reverse osmosis system, you can remove everything from bacteria to pH hardness, lead, sulfur, and other harmful contaminants. So it is the perfect solution if you are looking for how to get rid of brown well water. In this system, dirty water flows through several stages of filtration and a membrane. Thus providing you access to clean pure water. The installation process of this filter is a bit complex so you will need a plumber for this work.

#6. Replace Rusted Pipes

If the cause of your brown well water is rusty pipes, the only way to get rid of it is by replacing the water pipes in your house. This is lengthy work that needs a professional plumber. But it is important to get rid of harmful rust as soon as possible for the sake of your health. 


Q1. How long does it take for brown water to be normal?

A. It depends on the situatio n and the cause behind the brown water. Normally, the water purifies in 1 to 4 hours within the system.

Q2. Why does well water suddenly become brown?

A. One of the most common reasons for the sudden brown color of your well water is the presence of minerals or sediment in the water. Minerals and sediments naturally occur in water and pipes.

Q3. What does the brown well water indicate?

A. Minerals, sediment, or rust accumulates in the water causing brown or discolored water. When the water from your tap is brown, this indicates there are sediments in the well water.

Q4. How to fix rusty water?

A. Water softener is one of the best ways to remove rust. It adds salt to your well water, eliminating rust and other particles that are difficult to remove through filtration. You can also combine another filtration with a water softener to get the best result.


Access to clean water is our basic need, and dirty, unhealthy water severely affects our health. But sometimes, our well water system supplies brown water. If you want to know how to get rid of brown well water, this article will be helpful for you. Here we have discussed various reasons for brown well water and their treatment. So if you are facing the problem of brown water, don’t panic. Read this article and know what to do step by step.

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