Source of Color
Color in water is almost always due to organic material, which is usually extracted from decaying vegetation. Color is common in surface water supplies, while it is virtually non-existent in spring water and deep wells. Color in water may also be the result of natural metallic ions (iron and manganese). A yellow tint to the water indicates that humic acids are present, referred to as "tannins". A reddish color would indicate the presence of precipitated iron. Stains on bathroom fixtures and on laundry are often associated with color also. Reddish-brown is ferric hydroxide (iron) will precipitate when the water is exposed to air. Dark brown to black stains are created by manganese. Excess copper can create blue stains.
Treatment of Color
Color is removed by chemical feed, retention and filtration. Activated carbon filtration will work most effectively to remove color in general. Anion scavenger resin will remove tannins, but must be preceded by a softener or mixed with fine mesh softener resin. See the headings Iron, Manganese, and Copper for information their removal or reduction.