Iron-eating bacteria

Iron-eating bacteria can destroy home’s drain pipes

**Last Updated: Tuesday, April 6, 2010 | 5:19 PM ET **

**CBC News **

Home inspectors in western Quebec and eastern Ontario are warning about bacteria in the soil that could cost homeowners thousands of dollars.
The so-called iron-eating bacteria can destroy a home’s drainage system.
And once the problem begins, they say, there’s usually no way to fix it.
As an example, what was supposed to be Pascal Bertrand’s dream home in Gatineau quickly turned into a nightmare.
“During the first winter we noticed a problem with the house,” Bertrand said Monday.
He bought the newly built home in 2002, and right away there was frequent flooding in the basement.
Bertrand soon discovered a muddy, reddish substance in the drainage pipes.
That substance was later identified as iron ochre, also known as iron-eating bacteria.
The bacteria were first discovered in this region a few years ago, in certain types of soil where the water table is high.
They produce a kind of mud that expands over time, eventually clogging and eroding a drainage system, and causing flooding.
The problem is there’s no permanent fix.
So Bertrand has had to pay more than $12,000 to keep his pipes clean.
“This is the problem we’re stuck with. We bought this brand new house hoping we’re not going to have those kinds of problems,” he said.
Bertrand isn’t the only one with this problem. There have been 20 other reported cases in West Quebec, and one in Embrun, Ont., just east of Ottawa.
“It’s the speed [at which homes are built],” said long-time home inspector Pierre Vachon. “You don’t look at where you’re building before you build. And once you’re there, and you experience that problem, it’s too late.”
Vachon believes there will be many more cases to come, as the problem tends to surface a few years after home construction.
He said it’s a case of a city not doing its homework.
“The municipality are the ones giving out the permits. And they also have access to databases that have analysis of the soil beneath these houses. So they should have knowledge of that,” he said.
In a written statement to CBC News, a spokesperson for Gatineau said the city is not responsible for the problem, adding there are no regulations prohibiting the city from issuing building permits on land that could be affected by this “natural phenomenon.”
So, homeowners like Bertrand are on the hook for the costs.
He said he now plans to sell his property, but for much less than he paid for it.

Interesting story Roy. Is ‘plastic’ waste pipe not allowed up there. Would this not solve the issue? Seems the homeowner could replace his waste pipes with plastic, for the $12,000 versus paying that to keep them clean. Must be much more to the story than what was reported.

This is the first time I have heard of this I did a search and have found nothing to add but will stay on top and post more when I get it .
Yes Plastic has been the normal for about 45 years .

These are not iron based pipes with corrosion happiening but a build-up of red-brown fine silt-like mud/residue on the inner pipe walls. With out treatment or cleaning, it eventually blocks the piping.

Thanks Roy.

More Information
It is not eating the pipes . It is the Iron-eating bacteria that is in the ground water.
When the water migrates to the upper level of the ground and comes in contact with oxygen it grows? and causes a slime to form and this fills the drain pipes and plugs up the sump pump and all the weepers .

In the management of water-supply wells, iron bacteria are bacteria that derive the energy they need to live and multiply by oxidizing dissolved ferrous iron (or the less frequently available manganese). The resulting ferric oxide is insoluble, and appears as brown gelatinous slime that will stain plumbing fixtures, and clothing or utensils washed with the water carrying it. They are known to grow and proliferate in waters containing as low as 0.1mg/l of iron. However, at least 0.3 ppm of dissolved oxygen is needed to carry out oxidation.
Common effects of excess iron in water are a reddish-brown color, stained laundry and poor tasting coffee. An equally common but less well understood problem is infestation of water supplies with iron bacteria. Iron bacteria are a natural part of the environment in most parts of the world. These microorganisms combine dissolved iron or manganese with oxygen and use it to form rust-colored deposits. In the process, the bacteria produce a brown slime that builds up on well screens, pipes, and plumbing fixtures.

Iron bacteria is a real problem when it gets into your water supply and the only way to control it is by chlorine shock treatment.

Just another reason I say, “The visible portions of the drain pipes include an older cast-iron type, which are not as dependable as modern PVC drainpipes.”

I’m working night and day in this industry and still can’t keep up.

Thanks Roy.

More information on Iron Bacteria
How Does a Green Sand Filter Work?

  1. Is a Green Sand Filter?

  2. A green sand filter uses manganese green sand to filter iron, sulfur, hydrogen and manganese out of household and drinking water. Water polluted with these materials may stain, smell like rotten eggs, be discolored, taste bad and possibly be unsafe to drink. Reducing the impurities in water can help improve the safety, taste and smell of drinking water

Non of these filters will work very long if the water has iron bacteria. Iron bacteria is a bacteria that surrounds itself with iron molecules. It does not eat iron. It uses the Iron molecule to protect itself. Each iron clump coalesces together and forms a slimy deposit on the walls of the pipe or container the water passes through. Once it gets into the water supply it is impossible to get rid of. The best you can do is shock treat the well with high concentrations of chlorine. After treatment the well is put back into service until the slim builds up, then you shock treat it again.

Seen a Similar situation in Sprinkler piping before…A lot more common than most people know…MIC

This is not in the house supply and drainage systems but in the foundation perimeter drain tiles (Big O). I also misread/misunderstood the article on another board!

Well I got to spend a couple of Hours with the smartest well person around here today .
He is about my age and I mentioned Iron Bacteria .
He said the best you can do is control it for about 12 to 18 months and then it needs to be treated again .
How you get it under control is you need a tank truck with town water . You shock the well with ( I expect it is strong Bleach ) after this you fill the well and continue to fill the well for a period of time this drives the treated water out into the surrounding area and kills the iron bacteria .
This he says usually lasts about 18 months and then it need to be done again .

good stuff thanks Roy

I could see that solution maybe working in a shallow dug well but what about a drilled well of 150-250 feet deep in a different and distinct geologic strata and not in the ground water.

Was he talking about the same iron bacteria?

[FONT=Times New Roman][size=3]Not being an expert in wells I am just passing on what I was told .[/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman][size=3] If you have more information then please post it .

I do not know if there is more then one Iron Bacteria .
Please explain .

He is licensed in many facets of wells and has 5 ~ employees and has been at it for many years ,
I do not challenge these experienced persons .


Go to$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex1142 for a detailed explaination of what iron bacteria is and how to shock treat the well.