"Red Water" Problems

There are four general reasons for "red water" iron problems. It is rare for water to be "red" naturally-it may turn red if it sits in a glass or a pail for a few hours, but it is unusual for water to come out of the tap "red."

1. A hole in the drop pipe in the well. As the water sprays across the well casing it oxidizes and turns red. This iron filled water works its way back down into the well and you pump red water into the house. Have the hole fixed in the drop pipe.

2. Dissimilar metals. If you have a galvanized fitting in a copper water line-or a galvanized nipple at a water heater, the fitting will "rust" and turn the water red. Replace the galvanized fitting with a copper fitting.

3. Arsenic issues. The problem in Wisconsin is primarily in Outagamie, Brown and Winnebago Counties, but a few problems have cropped up elsewhere in the state. It appears that as the Arsenic bearing formation is disturbed, sulfuric acid is formed which leaches the arsenic out of the formation. At the same time iron is leached out of the formation and turns the water "red." Unfortunately there is not an easy fix for this problem and in many cases a new well with more casing will be necessary. ITEM: Some arsenic wells are stable and do not have a red water problem associated with them.

4. Electrical. Electrical problems are hard to track down. 1.) There may be a grounding problem off the electrical panel - there should be a grounding rod 2' out from the eaves of the house and up to 10' deep. 2.) There may be a shorting problem from an electrical appliance in the house; 3.) There may be a stray voltage or electrical grid problem from the power or telephone companies. 4.) Last but most common, a wire skinned while lowering the pump into the well, or a cracked wire insulation where the wire runs over the top of the well casing can cause major water quality problems. Have the problem fixed by a licensed electrician.