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Most wells are biologically colonized. Not scaled. And when wells are scaled, bacteria can set in and cover scale, hindering acids access to dissolve the scale. Sulfurous avid, in the presence of iron, has shown to not dissolve scale.  Commonly noticed when starting up a well and observing the reddish water. This is a growing problem in the well, as bacteria colonize the well perforations, gradually reducing water production.  

While the reproduction rate of organisms is elevated by warmer temperatures, to their destruction by excessive heat / steam, organisms reproduce exponentially. Temperature dependent, bacteria growth can be exponential every 15 minutes.


Hundreds of thousands of types of bacteria with one thing in common – their bacteria. Whether in water wells, irrigations lines or soils, the primary bacteria are referred to as iron reducing, and sulfate reducing.


Iron Reducing Bacteria (IRB)


•               Typically thrive with oxygen

•               Consume iron

•               Form slime barriers resistant to many chemicals including strong acids

•               Films that block acids access to scale

•               Produce water

•               Also known as iron bacteria, aerobic bacteria

•               Medically the slime is called polysaccharide


Sulfate Reducing Bacteria (SRB - also recognized in soils as black layer, root rot and anaerobic bacteria)


•               Typically thrive where oxygen is depleted

•               Consumes sulfur and sulfate

•               Perpetuates fungi, mold, mildew and yeast

•               Release hydrogen sulfide gas (rotten egg odor, deathly to vegetation and humans)

•               Produce sulfurous acid

•               Produce water

•               Consumes oxygen

•               Wastes are attributed under nodules to reduce most carbon alloys to 4 mils per year, ¼ inch over 10 years. Commonly referred to as Microbiologically Induced Corrosion (MIC), which has breached stainless steel through the intergranular structure of the metal substrate. Also a concern to less noble alloys in wells at the perorations where the perf, or at welds, where the elemental metals are exposed. Both areas, perforations and welds can be compromised; loss of casing structure integrity and retention of filter pack. 


Manganese Reducing Bacteria (MRB)


•               Not much known from our perspective. 

•               Definitely film forming but to what extend is not known by HCT.

•               Similar to IRB but does not appear to produce the difficult slime barriers (polysaccharide). 

•               Consumes manganese

Common Solutions;


Chlorine, pH adjusted. A well-known disinfectant of hard surface and pool water, in ideal conditions. Not labeled for mitigating (nor effective for) bio-films and anaerobic bacteria (SRB). Extremely Corrosive.


Hydrogen Peroxide. Extremely effective if properly applied however it tends to oxidizer everything. Difficult to prevent damage to roots at use rates necessary to correct soils. Extremely Corrosive.


Bacteria Cleaning Efficacy


The more bacteria removed from the environment, the longer it takes for the well to be colonized by bacteria. Not operating the well, stagnant water with bacteria and their food sources, will exponentially promote bacteria reproduction, colonization, leading towards restrained water flow. Aerobic bacteria tend to find attachment sites at welds and at perforations beginning at low flow low turbulent areas and working their magic to colonize the well into the more active flow areas. Anaerobic bacteria, much easier to clean. Are not film formers. However, Anaerobic bacteria exude the toxic H2S and corrode alloys, similar to sulfurous acids

Biocides for Industrial Use



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