Iron oxide is an excellent, regenerable adsorbent, and often controls free metals through adsorption reaction. The utilization of heating process for coating iron oxide on sand surface allowed the media to be used in a packed column. Iron-coated sand was investigated for adsorbing metal ions and natural organic matter from water by batch and column experiments. Chemical analysis (energy dispersive analysis of X-ray, EDAX) was used for characterizing the copper and lead adsorption sites on iron-coated sand. From the batch experiment results, the copper and lead ions could be removed simultaneously by the iron-coated sand in the competition adsorption system. The interaction between copper, lead ions and iron oxide on sand surface was primarily the chemical bonds. The maximum adsorption capacities of iron-coated sand for copper and lead were 0.259 mg Cu/g-sand and 1.211 mg Pb/g-sand, respectively. The presence of humic acid led to increase the adsorption of copper and lead. Results from column experiments indicated that the copper ions, lead ions and humic acid could be removed completely before the breakpoint. Consequently, the iron-coated sand may be applied for the adsorption/filtration of metal ions and natural organic matters from water.