How to Prevent Irrigation Staining from Iron in Water

Irrigation Staining - A safe solution for iron stains - Cascadian Water

Gabe Ergler |

What is Irrigation Staining?

Irrigation staining happens when the water used to irrigate our lawns and gardens contains iron. When the water is sprayed upon a surface the iron turns to rust and causes red / orange staining. If you have this problem you know how embarrassing and ugly it is and how damaging it can be to your home, sidewalks, driveways and even your vehicles.

Why does your irrigation water have iron in it?

There are two primary reasons irrigation water has iron in it. First, there is iron in your water supply. Second, a typical residential water treatment system is installed to treat the water in the home and irrigation water is not treated so the iron remains causing staining when used. Irrigation water is not often treated because of several reasons including;

  • Higher cost for typical larger equipment needed to treat the additional water used for irrigation.
  • Increased maintenance and operating cost because the system uses more salt
  • Higher volumes of salty waste water are produced because of the larger system and treating more water
  • Larger systems have a bigger space requirement and when space is a premium it may not be available
  • If a salt is used in the treatment process to remove the iron;
    • You will be spraying water high in sodium on your lawn, plants and gardens
    • High Sodium water causes problems of its own:
      • It will cause the ground to become hard and this creates a problem where water can't penetrate the surface and so it does not get to the roots and irrigation becomes ineffective
      • Many plants and grasses do not tolerate high levels of sodium and they do not do very well or may even die when water is treated with a system using salt 

How to Fix Irrigation Staining

If you want to address irrigation staining you have to treat the irrigation water. As we learned above, salt softeners are not the best treatment. An alternative is to use a good sediment and iron filter along with PolyHalt®. With the iron removed you won't have iron staining. Irrigation staining from iron in the water is simply eliminated with the ICS-SIP system, our best treatment for iron.

Advantages of ICS-SIP with PolyHalt®

  • Treatment is simple and effective
  • PolyHalt® treatment does not use salt so it's safe for lawns, gardens and plants
  • Treatment systems using PolyHalt® do not produce waste water
  • No power is required
  • Lower cost for the treatment compared to a softener
  • Low maintenance and operating costs
  • Smaller sized treatment system. Can fit more places
  • PolyHalt® treats more than iron, other problems treated with PolyHalt® include;
    • hardness
    • silica and
    • manganese


Treatment with PolyHalt® gives you a realistic solution to your irrigation staining problems. If you need to prevent the staining while not causing harm to your lawns, plants and gardens PolyHalt® products from Cascadian Water are a great solution.

Good To Know

Discover what PolyHalt® is and what it can do for you

Deep dive into our Guide to Iron Removal

Expand your knowledge about a variety of water quality issues

The best iron treatment system is the ICS-SIP