While this form of bacteria does have the word ‘bacteria’ in it, it has no pathogenic properties and exists more as a nuisance than anything else. You can expect to find this form of bacteria in drinking water showing up in soil, ground water, and surface water. In a household environment you may encounter this form of bacteria lingering around the metal parts of plumbing fixtures and/or in dark areas such as spaces hidden under the toilet lid tank. Appearance-wise this form of iron in drinking water can look like a slimy or gelatinous substance hanging in the water. With regard to color, the substance will typically appear brown, red or sometimes even white.
Can you test for it? Yes, but no simple, at-home method exists that we know of. Usually the proof of iron bacteria will manifest itself in a form that homeowners will see and/or smell.
With regard to treating iron bacteria, experts in the field pretty much agree on the following:
“Because it is difficult to get rid of iron bacteria once they exist in well systems, prevention is the best safeguard against accompanying problems. For well drillers, prevention means disinfecting everything that goes into the the ground with a strong (250 ppm) chlorine solution. Iron bacteria are nourished by carbon and other organics, and it is essential that these are not introduced into any part of the well system during the drilling process.” (source)