Iron Ochre In Basements

Our basements constantly deal with the outside environment throughout the whole year. With all the issues that we face, the last thing a homeowner wants to hear is that there's bacteria in their basement. The kind of bacteria we are talking about is iron ochre since it's common in wet basements. Curious on what it is, what causes it, and what solutions would be best? This article will answer all 3 of those questions so that you're more aware on this issue!


Iron Ochre In Basements - Image 1

What Is Iron Ochre? 

Iron Ochre is a substance that results from iron, oxygen and soil being in the soil. This forms due to a chemical or biological process, at times it can be formed from both at the same time. 


Chemical Reaction: A chemical reaction happens when iron in the soil migrates with water towards the drainage system of a basement. As soon as the soil and water makes contact with the atmosphere, iron hydroxide forms, which is the sludge-like substance you see in pictures.


Biological Reaction: When iron bacterium in the water table makes contact with the atmosphere, oxidization occurs in the iron, creating the orange-like gel. 


What Conditions Lead to Iron Ochre?

  • High water table 
  • A region that has a high risk of flooding 
  • Neutral soil
  • Sandy, aerated soil with slit
  • A warped drain
  • Waterlogged areas with high organic matter

Consequences of Iron Ochre 

Iron ochre can lead to water damage in your home if it isn't dealt with. The orange gel-like substance can build up in pipes or sump pits, clogging the system as a whole. Along with that, side effects such as a musty smell, stains and a strange taste in drinking water may occur as well. 


What Can I Do To Prevent This?

You can prevent bacteria build up in your basement by adding a water repellent coating to the foundation, this will keep the moisture away. Our company is also able to install a WaterGuard IOS (iron ochre system) interior drainage system. This is an ideal solution for managing this problem, as the open design of the drain helps resist clogs. It also comes with a removable lid for easy maintenance, so we can ensure that the channel isn't clogged! 

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