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Remove Iron and Manganese from Water

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Manganese and iron (especially the latter) produce problems to water appliances and increase the hardness of water. Many types of treatment are effective for the removal of iron and manganese from water, but not all methods are equally effective under all conditions.

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Generally speaking, there are three basic methods to treat water containing these two contaminants. These are:

1) Ion exchange water softeners
2) Oxidation and filtration
  (a) Iron filters
  (b) Feed oxidizing agent and filter
  i) Chlorine or
    ii) Potassium permanganate (KmnO4): A dark purple crystalline solid, used as an oxidiz­ing agent in a wide variety of processes. As a solid it is quite stable, and may be kept indefinitely if stored in a closed container in a cool dry area.
3) Sequestration*- use of such materials as polyphosphates**
  (a) "Pot" feeders
  (b) Solution feeders

These methods are appropriate for use in treating waters that have an essentially neutral pH. For where waters are acid, the following is an especially useful technique:

  • Oxidation and filtration
  • Feed an oxidizing agent plus

All the methods of treatment to be described are for the treatment of iron problems in raw water. Not included in this discussion are corrosion control techniques for the elimination of iron problems beyond the point of treatment. The same methods apply equally to the control of manganese problems. The type and amount of iron in a water supply may vary considerably. Further, the presence of other water problems has to be taken into account.

Much depends on the source of an iron problem plus the design and flow variables of equipment used for treatment. All of the techniques mentioned up to this point are designed to treat iron in waters that have an essentially neutral pH, with the exception of the polyphosphates, which are effective in the pH range of 5.0 to 8.0.

Where waters are acid, the following methods of treatment are recommended: The use of an ion exchange softener is acceptable if the iron content is low and the water is not too acid. Larger amounts of iron and acidity call for the use of a solution feeding device and a filter.

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Related Articles:

- Can drinking water reservoirs develop manganese problems due to temperature stratification?
- Water Problems — Manganese
- How do you regenerate manganese greensand filter media just purchased prior to placing it into service?


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