Iron in Waste and Groundwater

What is Iron?

Iron is a shiny, ductile, malleable, silver-grey metal belonging to group VIII of the periodic table.

Iron is the most abundant transition metal in humans (4.2 to 6.1 g in an adult) and is one of the major components of the earth, making up 5.1% of the lithosphere and 3.8% on average of the soil.

In water, it is mainly found in the following ionic forms: Fe3+, FeOH2+, Fe (OH)2+, Fe2+ or FeOH+. The variability of the iron ions distribution is affected by the pH of the solution.

Why do we find iron in water?

The presence of iron ions in water comes mainly from a natural source, i.e., from dissolution of rocks, where it is bound to other elements, forming species such as iron salts and oxides. Man contributes to the increase of iron in water through industrial waste and leachate from landfills.

Is iron harmful to health and to the environment?

Excessive iron intake can lead to impairment of the red blood cell production process, causing damage to certain organs of the human body, such as the liver and heart.

Chronic exposure initially leads to weight loss, joint pain and fatigue. In addition to these health problems, other issues related to the high iron content in water have been reported.

In fact, high iron concentrations lead to a metallic taste and smell of the water, as well as to a reddish colour, typical of iron oxides (rust) typically present in old pipes.


How can iron be removed from groundwater?

Iron can be present in water as fine particulate or as dissolved iron, and it can be removed by physical filtration or through a cation exchanger.

The legal limit set by Legislative Decree 31/2001 for iron is 200 μg/l (microgram/litre).

Our natural zeolite product, ZEOWATER ZN, represents an economical and efficient alternative for filtering water containing Iron, thanks to its high cation exchange capacity.

In addition, dissolved iron can also be removed by precipitation/complexation processes, using our product ZEOWATER ZF, a chemically modified natural zeolite, developed to selectively remove this metal from water.


To find out more about our zeolites and how to remove Iron from Groudwater, contact us!