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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

The Occurrence and Cause of Iron Oxide Deposits in Tile Drains1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 27 No. 2, p. 134-137
    Received: Apr 16, 1962
    Accepted: June 7, 1962

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  1. W. F. Spencer,
  2. R. Patrick and
  3. H. W. Ford2



A red sludge-like deposit was found in several tile systems in Florida citrus groves. This deposit prevented the tile from functioning properly by blocking the passageway through which water entered the title. The deposit was found to be due primarily to “iron bacteria” which oxidize and precipitate reduced iron in the drainage water. Chemical analyses indicated a large proportion of the material was organic—probably bacterial cell bodies and waste products. The inorganic portion was mainly hydrated iron and aluminum oxides. Bacteriological studies of the material indicated the following genera of bacteria were responsible for the formation of the deposits: Gallionella, Leptrothrix, Thiothrix, Thiobacillus, Crenothrix and Cladothrix. The predominating genera within a tile line varied with location. The deposits occur in both bituminous pipe and clay tile whether installed in sawdust filter or wrapped with fiberglass. The relative amounts of the deposit in tile at various locations were related to the amounts of reduced iron extracted from the soils with an aluminum chloride solution.

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