Black Sediments in Well Water & How to Get Rid of Black Well Water

black sediments in well water

The presence of black sediments in your well water means that your water contains manganese. These metals are soluble solids, and the only reason you can see them is because they were oxidized hence the black sediments.

In other cases, you may also see brownish-orange sediments. This is ferric iron. Iron and manganese are commonly found together in groundwater, but manganese levels are much lower than those of iron. At first glance, these minerals seem colourless, but when exposed to oxygen the colour changes to orange brown for iron or black for manganese.

What Causes black sediments in well water

Black sediments in well water are a common phenomenon among families who use a private well for domestic purposes, mainly because well water is free and widely accessible. If you ever want to remove these minerals from your water, then I bet your motives may not be strongly inclined to medicine as they would be to aesthetics.

Iron and manganese are essential to the development of the human body, but they are only necessary in small quantities. These minerals are part of the subgroup of essential minerals referred to as trace minerals.

Despite their importance in the body, many may prefer not to consume them at all specifically drinking water as the metallic taste of water is not desirable to humans and animals.

For that reason, this post will address the following:-

  • Main causes of black sediments in well water.
  • Effects of black sediments in well water.
  • Effective method to remove black sediment from well water.

What would cause well water to turn dark brown?

Sediments in Water From Well

Natural sources of manganese and iron are more common in deep wells where water has been in contact with rock for an extended period of time. Deep and surface coal mining can also lead to black sediment in your water.

Pennsylvania wells and springs contain evidence of these minerals. A detailed study by Penn State in Pennsylvania found excessive iron levels in 17% of the private water supply sources sampled across the state. These minerals are most commonly found in the northern and western states.

Effects of Black Sperks in Water

If you live in these areas, you would be able to clearly understand how contaminated the water would be. These black sperks cause clogging in the plumbing system and reduces the lifespan of plumbing appliances such as washing machines, water heaters and pressure tanks. You should also notice a strong metal taste in your drinking water and also the coloring on the utensils.

The perfect approach to this problem is to analyze the concentration level in your well water by conducting preliminary research into known water issues in your area through the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and also conducting an independent water test, as the same water you have considered safe a few years ago, can currently be hazardous due to changes to EPA standards.
A general mineral analysis should provide a list of common minerals. Remember, through analysis, the following items are important to test for:

  • Ph
  • Hardness
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Total Dissolved Solids

While iron causes an orange or brown spot in sinks and linen, manganese often causes a more dense or solid black spot. For this reason, drinking water should not contain more than 0.3 mg/L (0.3 parts per million) of iron and less than 0.05 mg/L of manganese.

The United States EPA has also issued a health advisory for manganese of 0.3mg/L. It was formed due to concerns about the neurological health effects of regular use of water above 0.3mg/L. A Health Advisory is a non-enforceable drinking water standard that is meant to alert consumers of possible health effects from a constituent in drinking water.

Effective Methods to Remove Black Particles from Well Water

The process for effectively removing iron and manganese from water can be achieved using a number of treatment procedures depending on the form and concentration of the metals.

Water Testing

well water testing

When analyzing water, it is necessary to determine two things: the form of iron and manganese and the precise concentration of each of these metals.

The form of the metals in the water could be referred to as dissolved or reduced if the well water is initially clear but changes to orange brown or black when exposed to oxygen. In this case, they have dissolved salts; as a result of the oxidation process, their respective precipitates are formed.

Reduced levels of iron and manganese are most widespread in groundwater with a pH of less than 7.0. Sometimes the solid particles of metals are immediately visible in the well or source water, in which case the metals are already in their oxidized form.

This is a common occurrence in water sources with a higher pH (>7.0) or where oxygen is readily available in water, for example in shallow source waters. Knowing the metal concentration determines which water treatment options are more cost-effective and practical to solve the problem.

Iron and manganese are common pollutants in water and can be detected in many commercial laboratories. The most effective procedure is if you have thoroughly tested it in a certified DEP laboratory to do a comprehensive treatment plan.

Check:- 5 Top Well Water Test Kit

Once you have determined the concentration level of your well water, it’s time to remove these minerals.

Ion Exchange

The first step is to remove them at the point of entry (POE) just prior to anyone using the water. In this method, you will need to use well water softening agents.

These softeners use ion exchange. During the iron exchange, iron and manganese ions are exchanged with sodium ions. The manganese and iron are then removed from the water softener resin’s bed through backwashing and regeneration.

The effectiveness of the water softener depends upon the concentration, hardness of the water and Ph. Water softeners are primarily recommended when water pH is above 6.7, water hardness between 3 and 20 grains per gallon (50 – 350 mg/L) and a reduced concentration of iron and manganese lower than 5 mg/L.

When manganese and iron are too high, you should use a sediment water filter instead. Firstly, to prevent the raw water of the well from coming into contact with air and chlorine. Air and chlorine are known to be oxidizing agents. Oxidized iron and manganese can foil the softening resin due to frequent backwashing.

Recommended: Sediment Filters for Well Water

Polyphosphate Addition

This method is suitable for water with a reduced iron concentration below 2 mg/L. However, this approach is ineffective when it comes to manganese elimination.

Using the chemical feed pump, phosphate is introduced into the water by frequently adjusting the trial and error dose to the feed pump. These dosage adjustments are almost like a syringe injection. During the process, iron is “sequestered” or enclosed by phosphate and is not exactly removed from the water.

The problem with this method is that “iron sequestration” can affect the taste of the water. This makes the water taste metallic. Adding too much phosphate to the water causes it to feel slippery.

Users or consumers may experience diarrhea. Polyphosphate can also degrade with the water heater, causing the release of sequestered iron.

Oxidizing filters

Oxidizing water filters

This is slightly better than the use of polyphosphate. Oxidizing filters first oxidize then filter the iron and manganese. The filter is made up of manganese-treated Greenland and other materials such as Birm.

With a green manganese filter, the filter media is treated with potassium permanganate forming a coating which oxidizes the reduced iron and manganese and then filters them out of the water.

This approach also discredits the ion exchange method as it can also be used to process raw water by filtration. Also note that maintaining manganese green filters requires considerable care. This includes frequent regeneration with a potassium permanganate solution because it is consumed during the oxidation of dissolved metals.

These units require regular backwash for the removal of oxidized iron and manganese particles. In addition, it should be noted that the potassium permanganate solution used for regeneration is highly toxic and must be handled carefully and stored in accordance with specific safety measures.

When properly maintained, manganese green filters are largely effective for moderate levels of dissolved and oxidized manganese and iron. The frequency of reverse washing and regeneration increases with the concentration of metals. Bear in mind that these filters are recommended when the concentration of iron and manganese is between 3 and 10mg/L.

According to many standards, birm filters are similar to manganese greensand filters, although they do not require regeneration because they use oxygen in the raw water to oxidize metals. On this basis, the raw water must contain a certain amount of dissolved oxygen and the pH is at least 6.8 for iron removal and 7.5 for manganese removal.

However, even under ideal conditions, the efficacy of manganese removal varies for birm filters. Backwash is completely necessary for birm filters to remove oxidized metal particles that build up.

Fourth, this processing method works almost in the same way as oxidizing filters. This is because it uses both oxidation and filtering processes and should be quite perfect for manganese and iron elimination.

So, what is the deal breaker?

When combined iron and manganese concentrations exceed 10 mg/L, this is the most effective treatment to eliminate manganese and iron.

In this process, there is a need for oxidation of dissolved iron and manganese in their solid form. This is achieved through oxidizing agents such as chlorine (the most common), potassium permanganate and hydrogen peroxide.

As with phosphates, a chemical feed pump is used to feed chlorine generally, a solution of sodium hypochlorite, in the water upstream of a mixing tank or plastic hose coil. The mixing tank or plastic hose must provide adequate contact time for the formation of iron and manganese precipitates.

It is also possible and necessary to install an activated carbon filter to remove the taste and unpleasant odors of chlorine residual.

Chlorine as an element may not be highly recommended as an oxidizing agent due to its low Ph. To completely oxidize manganese, a substantially high Ph oxidant is required.

Even for this method of treatment, you have to maintain a certain discipline in the interview. Solution tanks should be regularly filled and mechanical filters washed to remove accumulated iron and manganese particles.

In the case of a carbon filter, it should be replaced when it runs out. However, all of these maintenance levels are primarily determined by the concentration of metals in the raw water and the quantity of water used.

Iron and Manganese Filters for Well Water

What Type Of Sediment/Particles Do I Have In My Water System?

Sediments are solid particles that deposit on the bottom of a water jar. Sediments come in a variety of forms and sources and are easily located from ground water. In addition to conventional dirt or sand, sediments also have the potential to be minerals.

To determine what type exists in your water system, you will require a more standard approach such as water analysis by which you will look for Ph, hardness of water (calcium carbonate), total dissolved solids or expose them to oxidants and see if they precipitate.

1. What is the Effective Method To Use To Eliminate All Black Sediments From My Domestic Water?
Oxidation and filtration or other methods that combine both processes. This is due to the fact that soluble solids cannot be filtered out and insoluble solids cannot be oxidised out either. A combination of both processes results in higher quality results for filtered water.

2. Can I Only Depend On Certified Accredited Lab Testing Or Are There Alternative Means?

Accredited laboratory tests should be the optimal option. However, water testing goes far further than that. You may want to purchase a test kit at home and be very concise by following the steps of the sediment removal procedure.


Small amounts of manganese are common and water levels rise. Along with other minerals such as iron and calcium, these can be deposited into the aquifer. Since well water is derived from soil, you should expect bacteria, lead, arsenic, chromium-6, mercury, manganese, radon and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to be present in your water. Needless to say, if you want to get rid of those contaminants, you will need a well water sedimentation filter.

Read our Comprehensive review of the 5 Sediments Filter for Well Water.

What to do if your well water has black sediments

1. If black sediment in water is accompanied by poor taste and unpleasant odour, water testing is necessary to determine the level of contaminants in drinking water. From our perspective, you may want to test the well water for iron, silica, bacteria, hardness and manganese. You can also visit the website of your local health department or the State Department for a certified lab inspection.

2. In a situation where you find dark brown rocks or sand particles when you pull water out of your tap. It may be that your well pump is well below the established standard, or a minimum of fifteen to twenty feet high from the bottom of the well. You can fix this problem by lifting up the pump shaft, increasing the distance between the pump shaft and the well base.

3. Another source of black sediment in well water may be worn off on the wall box. (The housing is a doubled PVC plastic, placed inside the well wall, which allows water to enter through and simultaneously keep out of mud and sand. ) Over time, the enclosure display gadgets then enable is sedimentation of silt, and sand to enter the well. It is recommended that you contact a well driller for confirmation.

Why Do I need a sediment filter for Black Sediments?

Safer than faucet water. The sediment filter allows you to get the most from your water without contaminants and sediments. They are approved by the FDA’s regulatory board and are excellent at what they do. Safer compared to bottled water.

Bottled water to a certain extent is not large, despite the fact that they provide purified water. The FDA’s regulatory council are unable to apply strict measures on them so your tap water is safe as bottled water.

Sees the elimination of large sediments and bacteria in water. Sediment filters are used to remove sediment of any size. The materials used for elimination make it more efficient in the work.

  • Easy installation of the sediment filters: The filters in the sediment filter are easy to install because they come with a manual on how to proceed with the entire process. Most of the filters can be attached easily to the faucets.
  • Environmental-friendly: The sediment filter will reduce the need to buy bottled water. This will eliminate the use of plastic bottles and therefore reduce plastic disposal in the environment.
  • Less expensive: It is with respect to the water bottle that you may need to buy from time to time. The sediment filter will remove the need to buy the water bottle since clean water will be readily available at no additional cost.

When should I replace my sediment filter?

Replacement of the sediment filter should take place between three and six months. After that time, the filter may not function effectively and the presence of black sediments may be noticed in your water once again. Changing the filter will allow the sediment filter to work efficiently and remove all contaminants.

How do I test a sediment filter?

A sediment filter should be capable of removing turbidity in water that causes water cloudiness.

The cloudy aspect of water is caused by the suspension of particles in water and can cause a color change. Sediment filters are not capable of removing chemical substances, heavy metals, bacteria or dissolved solids from water.

As a result, there will be no improvement in the taste of the water or odor.
Sediment filters are critical components of water treatment systems and remove all dirt and fine particles from the water, followed by chemical treatment.

Why do I have dirt in my well water?

Broken hoses are the most frequent cause of dirty well water. Broken pipes permit dirt in the well water that can bring smell, bad taste, and dirt in your water.

Mineral deposits are an additional cause of dirt in your well water. They leave behind sedimentary residues and dirt in the well water. Screening and cleaning may help with disposal.

High levels of iron are commonplace in well water. The iron leaves behind red patches and installing a filtration system will be the solution.

Organic matter is another source of fouling in your well water. Organic substances can stain clothing in black or yellow.

Chlorine usage can solve this problem immediately. A binary aqueous compound that occurs at room temperature in the form of clear, colourless, odourless, tasteless liquid. freezes in ice below 0 degrees centigrade and ends above 100 degrees centigrade; widely used as a solvent plus (Definitions, synonyms, translation)


Signs of Well Pump Failure

Submersible Well Pump for Domestic Use