How To Get Rid Of Brown Well Water In Your Home: The Definitive Guide

Let’s be honest, filling up a bottle of clean water for a nice sunny day, only to find out the cold water in the water well is brown is not a nice thing. For most, they have no idea how to get rid of brown well water or why it’s even brown in the first place.

And I don’t blame you for finding it frustrating, it’s not commonly shared information.

Water treatment varies quite a lot, there are different types of water treatment depending on the water systems in your home, so it’s important to find the issue to know how to treat it the best.

Before we begin, quickly test your water for 5 minutes and if the water coming e.g the water tested turns brown, then you have one of the issues below.

In this guide you will learn the different causes of brown water, and how to get rid of your brown well water. The most common issue being iron.

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Why is my well water brown?

Knowing why your well water is brown is important to know how to get rid of brown well water. So let’s explain.

Your aquifer is the source of your well water, it acts as a barrier to filter out contaminants that have got into the water.

The way aquifers work is, there is rainwater seeps through the soil, and passes through downwards, it then meets a layer of sediment such as gravel which filters out contaminents, after passing through the gravel it reaches the aquifer, which is basically a storage of water.

The bottom of the aquifer is impermeable rock, which prevents and water from going down further.

You well water comes straight from the aquifer, so it should be clear water that has no contamination.

So what if it is contaminated? What if your well water is brown or everyone in your home is getting ill? Well there are a few reasons that might happen which I will talk about now.

Iron Ore

A common problem of brown well water is iron ore and may be iron bacteria. Iron is a mineral that we all need in our diet, so there is nothing wrong with drinking water containing iron ore even with iron bacteria simply because iron bacteria is not harmful to humans.

However, iron may stain plumbing fixtures and make clothing brown color, definitely not something you would want in your water if you spill it on carpets or clothing.

Not only that, but brown water containing iron does not look very nice at all, and for most it will put you off drinking it.

Get Rid Of Brown well water by removing iron

You may test for iron in your water by using this water test here

If you do find that iron ore is the culprit then the most common way to make iron disappear is using a water softener system. A water softener systems works by cleaning the magnesium and calcium through ion exchange, this is typically for hard water that’s increased in PH hardness. However a water softener system will also remove iron from the water too. Lastly, a water softener is an economical solution.

However, you can also use some of the following methods to remove iron and how to get rid of brown well water.

  • Filtration
  • Greensand
  • Ion exchange (Most common for removing iron)
  • Aeration (Least common for removing iron)


Tannins are usually found in plants, seeds, bark, wood, leaves, and fruit skins. When it rains, and theirs any of the prior on the ground, the water will run through them taking tannins with it.

These tannins then find their way into your aquifer which turn your well water brown.

Help brown well water by removing tannins

First, you need to make sure it is tannins that is causing the brown water because for effective removal, it can be costly. Again knowing the cause is the exact way to know how to get rid of brown well water

It’s quite simple to test if tannins are the problem, just rake the leaves outside your house and whatever plant based debris is on the floor outside, wait around a week, and see if the well water is still brown.

If it has cleared up, then tannins are the problem.

To remove tannins it’s very tricky, and there is no guaranteed solution.

However, the first thing to try is just to keep raking your leaves and plant debris outside your house, if you can keep up and keep the water clear, then perfect.

However some tannins will still find their way into the aquifer.

To fully remove Tannins, you will need to invest in a Ion exchange system, reverse osmosis system or an oxidation system, you will require someone to do the plumbing, for more information check out this page.


Silt can enter your water in your house and find its way through your faucet. Silt is basically sediment (Dissolved solids) that’s found it’s way into your well water and depending on the composition of the sediment this could be turning your well water a brown color.

Also depending on the sediment composition, this could cause health problems and cause pump failures so it’s important to fix the issue if you have one.

You can generally tell if sediment is in your water by letting your water from the house rest in a glass for a few hours, any sediment will fall to the bottom of the glass.

Silt normally enters the well water through ground disturbances, and it can be easy to remove from your water supply.

Help Brown Well water By Removing silt

Because silt sinks to the bottom of water, the cause of it being in your water could be that the water table has lowered and your pump is now too low.

If your pump is too low it will be sucking up the sediment resting at the bottom of your well water.

The fix? Move the pump higher.

You can also get a filtration water system with well drilling if the pump is not the cause to filter out any sediments that may have been sucked up by the pump. This will leave your house with clear water and you will have learnt how to get rid of brown well water by removing silt.


Rust is a common cause of brown water in a house but sometimes gets confused with iron, however it’s not actually the well water that’s causing the issue when it comes to rust unlike iron.

The inside of your pipes that run throughout your house could be rusty, ultimately this leaves it falling into your water causing it to turn brown.

The best way to check for this would be to try other taps in your house such as your hot water tap, as it’s very unlikely that all your pipes will be affected.

If the water in all your other taps is clear, but the water turns brown in a specific one, this generally leads to rust being the issue. If the water is a different shade of brown in some taps, but not all, then this also points towards it being the problem for what you thought was brown well water.

Clear Brown Well Water By Removing rust

To get rid of rust it’s quite simple but it sometimes gets confused with iron.

You need to first identify which pipes contain the rust, simply by seeing which taps are releasing brown water and then following the pipes.

Once you have found the pipes that contain rust, you need to replace them preferbly by getting a plumber in to do the job.

After the pipes are replaced, you should have clear water again.

A water heater could also be the culprit if there is rust in it, so if it’s just the hot tap which produces brown hot water, then your water heater is most likely the culprit as the hot water comes straight from the water heater.

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