What The Heck Is Iron Bacteria?

iron bacteria


“I have a question. I had a plumber out to look at my basement seepage and he said I had Iron Bacteria in my sump system. He tried to explain it but I’m not sure he understood it himself. Could you explain what Iron Bacteria is and what I can do about it?” 



I think you may have called out the wrong person for your seepage issues. Plumbers are great at what they do but for waterproofing, it is best to call the experts.

Iron bacteria are small living organisms which naturally occur in soil, shallow groundwater, and surface waters. These nuisance bacteria combine iron and oxygen to form deposits of “rust”,  a slimy material that sticks to well pipes and can render untreated sump systems virtually useless.

Found in areas with a high concentration of iron in ground water, it is more common the closer you are to Lake Michigan and very prevalent in Northwest Indiana.  Iron Bacteria, also known as Iron Ochre, can be an insidious beast know for its very bright orange color and clumps of slimy residue. It also has a strong iron odor.


What can I do about Iron Bacteria? 


With 30+ years of combined construction experience, Midwest Waterproofing has created a solution. In our interior perimeter drain tile installation, we use smooth-walled PVC pipe with clean-outs installed every 25 feet. We bring in our own “washed” gravel to reduce the contaminants in the system. We also “seed” the entire system with chlorine pellets, which are the enemy of Iron Bacteria, and prevents its multiplication. With occasional maintenance such as adding chlorine pellets to the clean-outs and the sum pit, we can provide a full system warranty.

If you have an existing drain tile system and are experiencing seepage around the perimeter of the basement, check the sump pit for the tell-tale signs of Iron Bacteria. If there is a slight tinge of orange, you might have a clogged perimeter drain tile system.

Click here to Book Online for a free in-home, no-obligation consultation with one of our Waterproofing Experts.  Or call (815) 245-6890…Ask for Chris