why is my well water brown?

A little over 15% of American households get their water from a private well.

If you are from them, you may be feeling the change in your watercolor to brown, red, or black.

Brown water can be more severe than others. So it’s natural to think that why is my well water brown?

It all depends on how contaminated the water you have. Before, you try to search for a solution to fix brown water stains on the sink.

This guide will cover everything you need to know regarding dirty well water contaminants.

How to get rid of brown well water

It is a common problem in America, and there are many solutions available to fix it.

No matter the reason why your well water is turning dark reddish, I have highlighted five of the most popular options you can consider.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis can remove nearly 100% of the organic matter with high water pressure.

To provide clean water throughout your home, you would install a reverse-osmosis system before your hot water heater.

It is a very effective option with both well and city water supply.

However, point-of-use systems can be installed at your kitchen’s sink to provide clean water from the cold water tap.

Reverse osmosis

A reverse osmosis system passes water through several stages of filtration and then through a membrane.

The RO water system can eliminate everything, including bacteria, lead, pH hardness, and sulfur, as well as other harmful contaminants.

Reverse Osmosis is the trendy solution to get rid of brown well water. It is not easy to install on your piping. You may need to hire a plumber to do the installation job.

Ion exchange

A salt-based water softener is responsible for ion exchange. This whole-house water softener installed at the water heater point-of-entry provides softened water to your taps, showers, and other tap water-based appliances.

The Ion exchange is well-known for its ability to deal with hard water. But that’s not all it can solve.

Well water will flow to the ion exchange pressure tank when you turn on your faucet. 

Water hardness ions, iron minerals, and water pressure ions are attracted to the positively charged media beds and stick to them.

While sodium ions are released into water, they are also released. It means that calciummagnesium, and iron mineral that caused brown watercolor would be removed.

An ion exchange water softener has the added benefit of softening your well or tap water. Sediment pre-filter eliminates silt from your water before ion exchange takes place.

Not all water softeners can remove large amounts of iron from water, especially if it is bacteria.

Sediment Filtration

You can use a sediment filter as a single filter or start a whole-house water filtration system.

The filter is ideal for sediment problems or dirty water stains and usually has pores of between 1 and 5 microns. 

It is designed to remove dissolved substances like dirt, sand, dust, and water discoloration.

This treatment option should use in conjunction with another filtration method, such as a reverse-osmosis water system.

Whole house water filter

Sometimes we get unexpected and water quality, and we do not know the cause and solutions of that like:-

Greensand Filters

The greensand filter is coated with manganese dioxide, which acts as an air injection filter and oxidizes iron or manganese, turning them into solids.

These impurities are on the surface of your media bed until you get rid of them and can restore your media bed.

Greensand filters and air injection oxidization use slightly different methods to achieve the same results.

If you are in trouble between them, your final decision will likely be based on your budget and ease of installation.

Replace Rusted Water Pipes

The only solution to brown tap water is to replace your pipes if caused by rusty pipes.

That is a large job, and you should leave it to professionals.

It would cost you between a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the plumber you choose.

However, it is important for your health that you do not ignore harmful rust particles.

Rust in brown well water

Iron oxidizes after being exposed to oxygen and water then the iron becomes rust particles.

It is common to see reddish-brown rust stains in faucets, sink basins, toilets, bathtubs, and ferrous iron. And any other place where iron-laced water can be exposed to oxygen.

High iron content may eventually cause your pipes to crack, rust, weaker, and slow water flow.

Rusty water can cause hair and skin problems. It can also result in dryness, itching, and broken hair strands.

How to spot rust

You can check this by checking other taps in your home. It may not unlikely affect all your pipes.

If your city water source is clean in all other taps but turns brown in a specific one, it could be rust. The same applies to water that appears different in color from some taps.

That is also a sign of rust.

Remove rust from brown water

It’s easy to get rid of rust. However, iron can sometimes be confused with it.

First, identify the rusty pipe and then look at the taps that release brown water and follow the lines.

Once you find the pipes with rust, it is time to replace them, preferably by a plumber.

You should get clear water once you have replaced the rusty pipe.

If there is rusty water, a hot water heater may also be the culprit. As we explained above, why is your well water brown? The problem could be with the water heater.

The hot water comes directly from the heater.

Iron in brown well water

It is a well-known cause of brown water. Iron ore will not only turn your water brown with slimy iron bacteria but will also stain your fixtures and make your clothes brown.

The underground aquifer can allow iron from the earth to enter a well, particularly your well water brown after heavy rain or melting snow seeps into it.

Iron is a common groundwater mineral in certain areas. Your pump will likely admit it to your well when it rains.

We are showing many types of iron present that can produce brown tap water.

  • Ferric iron – Iron that has already been oxidized. It will cause water to turn yellow or orange.
  • Ferrous iron – Dissolved iron will stain clothes and ceramics when it comes in contact with air and oxidizes.
  • Iron bacteria – It is reddish-colored bacterial iron known as Thiobacillus ferrooxidans and Thiobacillus thiooxidans.

How to identify iron

You can use a water testing kit to check the iron in your water. TEST KIT

Remove Iron from your well water  

An iron water softener system is the best way to remove iron from your water if you suspect that iron ore may be the problem. The water softener system cleans the calcium and magnesium.

The water softener system can remove iron from hard water.

Tannins in well water

Tannins are present in plants, seeds, barks, wood, leaves, and skins of fruit. If it rains and there are any on the ground before, water will run through the plants, taking tannins with it.

Then these tannins are absorbed into the aquifer. It can turn your well water into muddy brown, yellow like tea, or even discolored water.

Tannins aren’t harmful in small quantities and are usually considered an aesthetic problem.

Sometimes tanning-laced water can make your water brown all of a sudden, taste bad, and cause problems in your home.

How to identify Tannins

You can do water testing to see if tannins are a problem by raking the leaves and other plant-based debris outside your home.

Wait until heavy rain and then check if the well water looks dirty. Tannings may be a problem if your water is clear.

Remove tannin from your well water

It’s difficult to remove tannins. There is no guarantee.

The first thing you should do is keep raking leaves and other plant debris out of your home. If you can keep up with it and keep the water clear, that’s great.

Some tannins may still make their way into the aquifer.

You will need an Ion exchange, Reverse Osmosis, and oxidation to use as well water filter system and can also hire for plumbing.

Brown well water with silt

Silt or sediment is not supposed to be able to enter well through your pump. Sometimes you may notice you’re well water brown after filling the pool.

The dissolved solids may be absorbed into your well by the pump.

If components such as the pump well screen, casing, or bedrock are at bottom of the aquifer.

 It may be the main cause of clogging water filters and interrupting your drinking water supply.

Silt particles can be released from well drilling for new well water systems or maintenance of an existing well.

Sometimes you find silt, water discoloration, sand, mud, suspended solids, and dirty water after rain. Your house’s water pipes could be damaged and even alter water flow.

Although silt in water is not harmful by itself, it can cause problems for your water. It’s often a sign that you have fecal or total coliform in well water. Consuming a lot of can cause diarrhea.

How to identify a Silt

Let the cold water from your house tap sit in a glass for several hours to determine if there is silt in the water. Any deposits will then fall to the bottom.

Eliminating silt from your water well

Silt is most commonly introduced to the water supply by ground disturbances. It can be simple to get rid of.

Silt sinks to the bottom of the water, so it could be because your water table has dropped and your well water pump is too low.

It may not work properly if set too low. That can cause the pump to collect sediment at the bottom.

How do you fix it? The solution – move the pump higher.

If the pump is not the problem, you can get a well-drilled filtration system to remove any sediment. You will have clean water.

Why is my well water brown after rain?

The color of your water comes from the minerals in it, which are dissolved by the rain and then leached out into the soil.

The time this takes depends on several factors, including how much precipitation falls, how long the soil stays wet, etc.

This process can take several days or weeks to complete if you have a lot of rainfall and/or if the ground has been saturated for an extended period.

If you want to know more about what’s going on with your well water, I’d suggest contacting your local health department.

They may be able to tell you whether there’s something wrong with your water supply or not.

Is Brown Water Dangerous or Harmful?

Usually, brown well water is safe.

It is something that most people have encountered at some point in their lives. It isn’t a health risk.

Although brown water is safe and not harmful, we do not recommend it for drinking.

Your well water may smell like eggs, taste metallic, discolored water with iron bacteria, and yellow due to ferric iron, which is surprising and looks horrible; you need to treat the water before use.

It is possible to shower with it. However, it may not be pleasant. If the problem persists, you can get bottled water. 

That is a serious problem if the brown water does not clear up within a few hours. Most likely, you have a leaky pipe from the plumbing system. 

Rusted water can lead to various bacterial iron forms in pipes and cause cracks in the plumbing system.

That exposes your water supply to other contaminants in the atmosphere. Mold and mildew can grow in pipes, which can pose a serious health risk.


Water is essential to our lives. Our health can be severely affected by water that is not clean or safe. 

To ensure clean water, you should inspect your appliances, pipes, and water source.

I hope you like this article ”why is my well water brown?” Our motivation was to share tips to get rid of brown water.

We tried to explain the causes behind dusty well water and also discuss solutions.

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