Manganese and Iron Removal from Drinking Water

Manganese and iron, mitigated utilizing the same technologies, are prevalent in New England groundwater and are therefore often found in drinking water supplies in concentrations exceeding the Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level. Elevated concentrations of manganese and iron can cause physical effects such as damage to water equipment and reduced effectiveness of water treatment for other contaminants, causing additional costs to water utilities. However, new information regarding manganese is cause for far greater concern.

Manganese in Drinking Water: A Serious Concern

manganese removal drinking water treatmentManganese concentrations above 0.05mg/L cause aesthetic issues to customers as well as excessive amounts of oxidized materials in water mains. However, recent information from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicates that manganese removal from drinking water needs to be a public water supply priority:

  • Health Risks in Infants: The Office of Research and Standards and the EPA have indicated that long-term exposure to manganese exceeding 0.3 mg/L can have negative health effects on infants less than six months of age. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), further recognizing the issues associated with elevated manganese in drinking water, has included a more stringent age cutoff of one year in Drinking Water Standards and Guidelines.
  • Additional Risks: The Connecticut Department of Public Health has set a drinking water Action Level for manganese of 0.5mg/L.  They have found that long-term exposure to elevated manganese levels in drinking water produces a nervous system syndrome similar to Parkinson’s Disease, to which the elderly are particularly susceptible.

How We Can Help

manganese element periodic tableIt is imperative that communities take action to reduce manganese in drinking water supplies to safe levels. Tata & Howard appreciates that mitigating manganese levels in drinking water requires a well-thought out and executed balance between maximizing quality while minimizing costs.  Many options are available, including polyphosphate addition, ultrafiltration, pressure filtration, and revised operational procedures. Contact us for more information on how we can help you preserve your valuable water supply sources.

Manganese Treatment Terms

Filtration Media used with pre-oxidation to entrap and screen out oxidized particles of manganese. Usually requires backwashing.
Manganese Greensand Adsorbs and filters dissolved manganese and requires chemical regeneration.
Ozonation A highly effective form of oxidation using ozone to convert soluble manganese to insoluble.
Sequestering Adding chemical agents to water to keep metals in solution to prevent stains.
Chlorination Chemical oxidizer used to convert soluble manganese to an insoluble, filterable form.

Project Experience

Tata & Howard has assisted numerous water systems with manganese and iron removal. Recently, we completed the design of a new Mangazur® water treatment plant in Shrewsbury, MA to treat manganese. The project is currently under construction.