Pollution Vs Iron Bacteria

Iron bacteria

If you have noticed a slimy brown/orange residue in your local creek or drain, it may be iron bacteria – a naturally occurring micro-organism.

There are two quick tests to indicate whether it is iron bacteria or a pollution incident:

  • Surface test – Poke a stick into the oily looking water. If the surface fractures like ice and does not join back together, it is likely iron bacteria. However, if the surface film clings to your stick and does join back together, then it could be oil
  • Smell test – If the odour smells like decaying matter it is most likely caused from the bacteria dying. However, it should not have a toxic smell like sewage, chemicals, petrol, or oil.

If you are unsure whether it is iron bacteria and are concerned a pollution incident has occurred, please contact Council to investigate.

Report Water Pollution