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Manganese Removal From The Drinking Water – Does the Berkey remove Manganese?

By October 29, 2018November 29th, 2020No Comments

Manganese is a type of metal that is commonly found in the well water around the world. It occurs naturally in the soil. It is washed into the drinking water from the rain plus the surface water that seeps into the ground. 

Indeed, the manganese in the water can be a nuisance. It produces a metallic aftertaste on the water, it stains the clothes, it clogs the valve and produces a crusty sheen on the surface of the water. 

Due to the stains, bad taste, and general nuisance of manganese in the water, the federal government created a standard for it. It was clearly discussed in the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974.

The good news is, there are various water treatment options that can enable the water to become safe for drinking. As such, you don’t have to live your life drinking contaminated water.

Thus, this article aims to introduce ways in the removal of manganese in the water. Also, this would tackle the drinking water standards and the initiatives of the authorities to protect its citizens. 

Sources of Manganese

The natural sources of manganese can be found in the deep wells that have contact with rocks for a long period of time. In areas of coal mining, this metal can be found in the deep mining surfaces. The manganese often occurs together with iron in the groundwater. However, manganese may occur in much lower concentration versus the iron.

Manganese is indeed apparent in the drinking water of most modern homes nowadays. It can give a strong metallic taste to the water and cause staining in the clothes. The water that comes from the springs and in the wells with high manganese level can appear colorless initially. However, as the water is exposed to oxygen, it can go orange-brown or black.

Finally, manganese can appear commonly in western and northern countries. A study conducted by the Pennsylvania State University found out that there are excessive manganese concentrations for about 17% of water supplies throughout the state.

Standards of Drinking Water

The presence of manganese in the drinking water is not a major health concern. Instead, it has recommended or secondary drinking water standards because it can cause health problems that can make the water unsuitable for home use. This is due to its bitter metallic taste which makes it unpleasant to drink for humans and animals.

Manganese can lead to the browning of the laundry sinks. Also, it can result in solid or dense black stains.

As such, it is advised that the drinking water must have manganese of no less than 0.05 mg/L. Take note that the private water systems that cater to individual households are not under the auspices of federal or state drinking water standards. Thus, the standards can only provide guidelines for the right management of these types of water supplies. 

Testing for Manganese

If the water has an orange-brown stain plus a bitter and metallic taste, then you can identify easily the presence of manganese in your home. However, before you treat the issue, it is best to have the water tested first. With this, you can know the amount, concentration, and the kinds of chemicals from out of this metal.

Meanwhile, there are two types of metals inside the home water, and these are known as the oxidized and the reduced.

Water with reduced manganese will look clear initially. But over time, it will form into solid particles that will look black or orange-brown. On the other hand, water with oxidized manganese will have visible solid particles as it is drawn from the well.

Water Treatment Options

As soon as you have tested your water and determined what kind of manganese is in the water supply, you can be able to narrow down the treatment options suitable inside your home.

Indeed, manganese can be effectively removed from the water with the use of various treatment options which depends on the concentration and the form of the metals.

Since the presence of manganese is a type of aesthetic problem, it can potentially affect all users of the water. As such, it can be removed through the use of Point-of-Entry (POE) treatment devices. 

Oxidation filtration

The oxidation filtration has the ability to inject oxygen in the water so it can remove the impurities found in it.

Indeed, this technique can be able to remove iron in the water. However, it will require additional chemical treatment such as the chlorine bleach to eliminate the manganese.

When the multiple treatment processes are applicable to your issues, make sure that your canvas and compare the units and prices among various brands. See to it that you understand the maintenance requirements for every unit and have a written warranty for the device before buying.

Water Softener

The water softener is commonly used to treat hard water, however, it can also eliminate the small amounts of manganese and iron.

This method features the use of an ion exchange process, upon which, the manganese and calcium are replaced with sodium.

Manganese and iron removal can be achieved similarly by exchanging manganese and iron with sodium. Thereafter, the backwashing process can remove the metals from the softening filtering resin.

The removal efficiencies of the water softeners vary depending on the pH level, iron concentration, and the water hardness. In general, water softeners are recommended when the pH level of the water is more than 6.7, the hardness is around 3 to 20 grains per gallon (50-350 mg/L), and the dissolved iron concentration is less than 5 mg/L.

The oxidized manganese and iron forms will produce a foul smell to the softener resin. As such, it is recommended that the raw water will not come in contact with any oxidizing agents such as chlorine or even the air before it enters into the softener.

It is not advised to use the softener resin bed as a mechanical filter for the oxidized manganese and iron. With this, it can cause damage to the resin bed and even require more backwashing. If oxidized manganese and iron are available in the water, then, one should opt for filtration for its removal.

Point-of-use Reverse Osmosis

Meanwhile, the point-of-use reverse osmosis treats the water at an individual tap. This is where the cooking and other domestic activities’ water are drawn.

This filter includes the use of a membrane to eliminate the unwanted molecules from the water while enabling the passage of the purified water on the other side.

Indeed, this method is easy to install, and it is common nowadays. However, the drawback can be it uses a lot of water on it. But for homeowners who wanted to remove manganese from the drinking water, this can be the best option.

Polyphosphate Addition

Household water that contains iron concentrations of less than 2 mg/L can be treated with the use of polyphosphate addition. The phosphate addition can be less effective in the treatment of manganese.

Phosphate will be fed into the water with the use of a chemical feed pump that often requires trial and error when it comes to the dose adjustments.

In such example, the iron can be surrounded by the phosphate, and it cannot be actually eliminated from the water.

However, there are some consequences with this process. It can be obvious that the iron will not lead to stains, but it can nevertheless produce a metallic aftertaste.

Furthermore, if there is too much phosphate added to the water, it can produce a slippery liquid which can cause diarrhea. Also, the polyphosphate can be degraded in a water heater which can result in the release of a sequestered iron.

Oxidizing Filters

The oxidizing filters can both filter and oxidize the manganese that can be found in one unit. Usually, the filter is made of manganese treated greensand. However, there can also be other materials used such as the brim.

In the manganese greensand filter, the filter media is made of potassium permanganate. It forms a coating that oxidizes the dissolved manganese and removes them to the water. With the powerful combination of filtration and oxidation, it can be effectively used to the treatment of raw water with dissolved and or oxidized manganese.

The manganese greensand filter will need substantial maintenance. This includes regular regeneration with the use of a potassium permanganate solution as it is consumed during the oxidation of the metals dissolved.

Furthermore, these units will allow frequent backwashing to eliminate the oxidized manganese particles. Take note that the potassium permanganate solution which is used for regeneration is toxic. As such, it must be stored and handled accordingly with the use of specific safety measures.

When maintained properly, the manganese greensand filters can work best for the moderate levels of both oxidized and dissolved manganese. In general, both are advised whenever the manganese and iron concentration is around 3 to 10 mg/L. However, bear in mind that the occurrence of maintenance such as the regeneration and backwashing will increase directly with the increase of the concentration of metals.

Meanwhile, brim filters are just like the manganese greensand filters. However, they do not need regeneration they use the oxygen found in the raw water in the oxidation of the metals. As such, the raw water must contain dissolved oxygen, and the pH level should be at least 7.5 for the removal of manganese.

Even when under ideal conditions, the efficiency of manganese removal is highly variable with the brim filters. The brim filters do not need any backwashing in the elimination of the accumulated oxidized particles of metals.

Oxidation Followed by Filtration

Whenever the levels of the combined manganese and iron exceed 10 mg/L, one actual treatment will involve oxidation plus filtration.

In a process like this, it will feature the use of a chemical which is added to convert any dissolved manganese and iron into the oxidized and solid forms. As such, this can be easily filtered out of the water.

Chlorine is one of the mostly used oxidants. Although, the potassium permanganate and hydrogen peroxide can also be used.

There is a small chemical feed pump that can push the chlorine (or sodium hypochlorite) solution in the water upstream from a coil of plastic pipe or mixing tank. The pipe coil or the mixing tank is needed to provide contact time for the manganese and iron precipitates to form.

Also, it may be needed to install an activated carbon filter in the elimination of the foul taste and odor the residual chlorine. Chlorine is not the advised oxidant for high manganese levels because it will be needed to have a very high pH level to oxidize completely the manganese.

With these units, one need to perform significant system maintenance on a regular basis. As such, the solution tanks must be filled from time to time. Also, the mechanical filters must be backwashed to eliminate the manganese particles accumulated.

If there is a carbon filter installed, the carbon must be replaced from time to time because it will become exhausted. The type of maintenance required is determined by the metal concentration in the raw water plus the amount of water utilized.

Berkey Water Filter System 

The Berkey water filter system has been proved and tested to remove heavy metal contaminants such as aluminum, arsenic, lead, iron, and manganese. According to the laboratory test made, the Berkey products have the ability to remove greater than 99.9% of the manganese. 

The innovative products of the Berkey filtration systems are available in 7 various models and sizes. The systems are all identical apart from their maximum filtration rate plus storage capacity. However, they all feature the use of the same filters. 

Some of the large size products of the Berkey are the Imperial Berkey Water Filter and the Crown Berkey Water Filter. 

Imperial Berkey Water Filter 

The Imperial Berkey Water Filter can remove hundreds of contaminants, parasites, and bacteria in the water. Examples of heavy metals that can be eliminated are mercury, VOCs, benzene, and manganese. 

This system features 2 Black Berkey purification elements, but it can be upgraded into 4 or 6. Also, this can be used by small to mid to large-sized families. 

With the 4.5 gallons storage capacity, surely no one will go thirsty inside the home. Thus, grab yours now here! 

Crown Berkey Water Filter 

The largest product of ours is the Crown Berkey Water Filter. This one can also remove up to 99.1% of heavy metals such as manganese in the drinking water. Apart from this, it can also eliminate the fluoride, viruses, bacteria, lead, arsenic, and mercury, thereby producing clean water for the family.

The Crown Berkey model is the largest type of unit from the company. As such, it can provide clean drinking water to a large number of people up to 150. Indeed, this can be used at the hospital, churches, orphanages, and other outdoor activities. 

With this, surely, no kid, elderly, or sickly will ever have to drink dirty water again. Thus, grab yours now here! 


In sum, while there are various treatment devices that can reduce the manganese and iron from the water, some options must not be overlooked.

The alternative water sources should be investing in water treatment options just like what the Berkey Water Filters offer to its customers. is a replacement water and air filter company located in the United States. The views and opinions contained herein are solely those of the original author and do not represent Eco Blue Life or its affiliates. This article was originally published on  
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