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What to Do for Red Algae in Well Water

Brenda Priddy

Drinking water from wells is a practice that has been in use for thousands of years. Many older homes still have wells on location and they are often still safe to drink from. However, one problem that often affects wells is the presence of algae. You can eliminate red algae from water in several ways.

Red Algae Facts

Red algae is typically found in salt water but can also be found in certain freshwater locations. Red algae typically grows in dark, damp places that do not receive a lot of natural light, which is why it sometimes can be found in older wells. Certain types of red algae are very harmful to the body, while other kinds are perfectly harmless and can even be eaten. It is important to identify the kind of algae present in your well before taking any other action. Take a sample of algae to a local water treatment plant or science lab for identification.

Eliminating Red Algae

Reduction of iron levels in the water is one way to get rid of red algae. You can buy processors designed to suck out iron from the water. If there is no iron in the water, the algae will not be able to grow because iron is a necessary part of their diet. Consider draining the well completely and replacing the contents with fresh water. Scrub the walls down to eliminate any remaining algae before replacing the water. Use bleach to purify the walls and floor of the well and kill red algae. It is important to rinse away all bleach, however, as too much chlorine in the drinking water can be damaging to the body. You should always boil well water before drinking.

Safety Considerations

If you find red algae in your well water the first person you should contact is a water treatment plant operator. He can help outline a plan to eliminate the algae without harming the quality of the water. The treatment plant operator may recommend an infusion of copper into the water which can also upset the life cycle of algae. However, the county may determine that your well water is no longer safe for consumption. If this is the case it is important to abide by all local safety regulations.