June 14, 2018

Travel across the United States and you’ll encounter different people, landscapes, and weather. The quality of water also differs greatly from region to region.

To help homeowners understand the types of water problems that are typical in certain parts of the country, Water-Right has put together a series of articles explaining common contaminants relating to water quality in America. We’ll be relying on our trusty regional sales managers for expert insights. They travel the country meeting with our network of dealers, plumbers, and well drillers. Nobody knows water problems better than these guys.

Water-Right regional sales managers, Jeff O’Callaghan and Mark Selvig, spend a lot of time in what we refer to as the Central States. That includes:

  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas

Many of the homes in this region are getting their water from a private well, which almost always requires softening. However, Selvig notes that homes on municipal water may need a softener as well. Plus, there is another type of water that’s common in the Midwest.

“Out in the Dakotas, our water treatment dealers and plumbers are dealing with rural water,” he explains. “That’s basically a municipal water system for rural areas, which could be partially softened. They may take the hardness down from 30 to 10 grains per gallon. People start to believe they don’t need a water softener but that’s not true, 5 or 10 grains of hardness in your water can still be detrimental to your plumbing system, your water heater, and more.”


If you’re getting excessive soap scum and limescale buildup in your home, your water is probably still too hard. If left untreated, it can wear down appliances sooner and cause a host of other hard water problems.

A number of these states fall into what’s known as the Missouri River Valley. O’Callaghan tells us iron is a common culprit for homeowners with problem well water.

“Heavy iron in the Missouri Valley area is very common, particularly in Nebraska, eastern Kansas and eastern Oklahoma,” he says. “There’s just a lot of natural iron in the soil along the region that percolates into the aquafer or the water tables.”

While iron in the water doesn’t pose any health risks, it can certainly be a nuisance. If you notice red, rusty stains in your sink, toilet, and tub – iron is probably to blame. High iron content in the water can stain your laundry, too. Plus, it may give your home’s water a metallic taste and affect the flavor of beverages like coffee and tea.

iron in the water

Lift the cover of the tank on the back of your toilet. If you see a lot of slimy gunk floating around in there, that’s probably bacteria that’s feeding on the iron in your water. Iron bacteria is not harmful to humans, but it can cause other problems such as clogged or corroded pipes and damaged appliances.

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