Note: This page may contain affiliate links.

Note:This page may contain affiliate links.

Why Is My Well Water Orange? (4 Simple Solutions)

Why Is My Well Water Orange

The orange color in water indicates a high concentration of iron, manganese, or even organic substances, known as tannin. It might seem harmless but can lead to other problems, damage to plumbing, and a weird metallic taste. 

Here’s how you can fix it: 

  • Cleaning the well casing
  • Installing an Iron filtration system
  • Performing Shock chlorination

Continue reading for a detailed explanation of the issue and reason behind orange well water and practical solutions to fix the colored water problem.

🟠Why Is My Well Water Suddenly Orange?

Here are the four main reasons why your well water is orange: 

  • Iron contamination: Iron and manganese are two naturally abundant heavy metals, so their presence in well water is unavoidable. They seep from iron deposits into the well water and alter color. In addition, mine drainage produces pyrite (iron sulfide) that reacts with water and air and generates sulfuric acid with dissolved iron from water. Hence, the color changes.
  • Rusty pipes: Due to oxidation, iron rust comes into contact with air and water. This reaction forms a reddish-brown substance called iron oxide or rust. Iron water pipes rust and release iron flecks into the plumbing system, which causes the discolored water
  • Tannins: This is an organic matter that occurs naturally after the decay of plant material like leaves, bark, etc. When water percolates through the soil, it carries it to the water bodies, increasing the tannin concentration in the water sources. Hence, it imparts a yellowish-orange color to the water.
  •  Damaged or old well: A damaged or old well, damaged well screens or casings, and improper well pump installation can cause brown water. The well pump that has been installed is too low in this instance, allowing sediment to accumulate and giving the water a cloudy, brown appearance.


Hence, there can be a range of contaminants to increase contamination in the well and water supply. Therefore, these water systems with high concentrations of water contaminants need to be correctly checked as quickly as possible.

😷Is Orange Well Water Safe?

Here are the dangers of using orange well water on health and other plumbing fixtures:

  • It stains or discolors everything plumbed with orange water, like appliances, crockery, clothes, washing machines, vegetables, sinks, bathtubs, and showers.
  • Bacterial iron are commonly found in storage and toilet tanks. They create conditions and favorable niches for other hazardous organisms to grow, which increases the health risk. It also produces slime that clogs pipes and may significantly reduce water pressure. Hence, leading to uneven water flow.
  • Because orange water contains a lot of manganese, it can cause problems with the nervous system.
  • It has an awful odor and a distasteful appearance, producing bitter foul tastes in drinking water, food, or beverages like coffee, tea, etc.
  • Bathing in highly iron-contaminated water makes your precious hair brittle and lifeless. It also stains your body and hair with a reddish-orange tint.
Also Read: 9 Signs That Tell Your Water Softener Isn't Working 

🪣How To Fix Orange Well Water?

Before going for any water filter or water treatment equipment, test your water to know why the color changes are crucial.

One commonly used test is the iron speciation water test. This test determines the various oxidative forms of iron present in the murky water.

For example, ferrous iron is soluble in water, but ferric iron is not, which makes the water orange. Hence, this test helps you choose the most effective filtration method to remove iron from your water.

The water treatment system is installed according to the water’s pH and types of iron contamination in your water supply, whether from cast iron, ferrous iron, ferric iron, or tannins. 

Hence, you should seek professional consultation before applying for the treatment system to reduce health risks caused by iron-contaminated well water.

1️⃣Ferrous “Clear Water” Iron

Clearing the excess ferrous iron content from your water system can be done by following the methods listed below:

  • Water softeners: This treatment removes minerals like calcium and magnesium that cause the hardness of the water. Resin beds must be replaced every 2-3 years to ensure the proper working of the water softener. This method can eliminate up to 1 ppm of iron from water.
  • Manganese Greensand Iron Filter: This filter oxidizes the dissolved ferrous iron and manganese, forming a precipitate. This precipitate retains itself in the filter bed, clearing your murky water. Also, these filters need to be recharged periodically with potent oxidizers like potassium permanganate. This treatment can remove up to 15 mg/l of ferrous iron from water.

2️⃣Ferric “Red/orange water” Iron

Ferric iron, also known as red iron, is an insoluble iron present in the water system that can be removed by the following methods:

  • Air Injection: It is an ideal method to fix orange water caused by ferric iron and manganese. It uses an air bubble in a pressure tank to oxygenate the contaminants, then filters them out with brim or manganese greensand media. It can remove up to 15 ppm of ferric iron and 5-10 ppm of manganese.
  • Sediment filters: These filters remove ferric iron in water by using a physical filtration method to trap undissolved iron particles in their media, which you can flush manually to extend their lifespan. These filters can have pore sizes ranging from 1 to 50 micrometers.
Also Read: Why Well Water Smells Like Metal


Tannins can be easily removed from rusty water by Chemical oxidation followed by filtration. First, the tannins in the water are oxidized with chemicals like chlorine. Then the oxidized products are eliminated through water filters afterward.

4️⃣Iron Bacteria

Iron bacteria produce slime, which clogs pipes and reduces flow. Hence, eliminating and removing iron bacteria is necessary. It can be done by following these treatment methods:

  • Disinfect and repair wells: In this physical method, the wells are properly cleaned and repaired to kill harmful bacteria, slime, and algae.
  • Chemical Treatment: Chemical treatment is best for eliminating iron bacteria in well water. Various chemicals like disinfectants containing chlorine or hydrogen peroxide, surfactants such as phosphates, and acids are used to kill or treat harmful bacterial slime produced by iron bacteria growth. These chemical agents significantly reduce the concentration of bacteria in water.
  • Shock chlorination: An intense chlorine solution with a concentration of around 200 ppm is used. This chlorine solution kills iron bacteria, resulting in clear water. 

💡Why Is My Well Water Orange: FAQs

What does orange well water mean?

Various contaminants like iron, iron bacteria, tannins, and manganese, when present, cause water discoloration, which turns orange.

Why do I find orange well water after the rain?

When rainwater passes through the soil containing decaying plant material, the water turns orange. It can be due to surface infiltration, but a failing septic system cannot be overlooked and should be investigated thoroughly.

Why are my hot water orange and cold water clear? 

When your cold water is clear and hot water is not, there is a high chance that the problem is with your water heater. It could be due to the disturbance in the sediment layer formed at the bottom of the well system and the water heater itself.

How do you get rid of orange water stains on a well? 

If they are brown stains or orange stains, they are probably from iron contamination. The iron staining can be easily removed by commercial rust remover. You can also use lemon juice, baking soda, or white vinegar to remove iron stains or rust stains before they set in.

Is it safe to shower in orange water?

Bathing in orange water is not advisable as high iron contamination damages your healthy hair and could stain your skin reddish brown. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top