WATER SOFTENER OR OTHER WATER FILTRATION OPTIONS
As a Tewksbury, Massachusetts resident, a water filtration or water softener system may greatly benefit your home’s water quality. Whether you have a private well or town supplied water to your home, a properly designed and installed system will noticeably improve water quality. Later in this write-up, specific contaminants that are commonly found in Tewksbury private wells and the public water supply are identified. Additionally, various proven water quality improvement methods are covered as well. Desireable water quality is achievable with the proper approach, including testing, analysis & professional installation. Water filtration system and water softener maintenance is also important to achieve continuing years of consistent high quality water. Maintenance is also important to optimize the useful life of your water softener or water filtration equipment.
Where Does Your Public Water Supply Come From?
From the Tewksbury Water Department, the following is identified in its 2015 Consumer Confidence Report;
Where Does My Water Come From? Source Water: Merrimack River- The Merrimack River covers over 4,672 square miles between the States of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The Merrimack River actually starts at Weirs Beach, Lake Winnipesauke. Because of the large recharge area the Merrimack River has a very large capacity to supply water even during extended droughts. Over the last 28 years the river has undergone a tremendous change as far as water quality is concerned. Upstream wastewater plants installed in the late 1980’s and elimination of hidden outfalls has contributed to the “B” classification of the river water. To see the Annual Report, go to the link at: http://www.tewksbury-ma.gov/sites/tewksburyma/files/file/file/ccr_2015.pdf.
WATER FILTRATION OR WATER SOFTENER DETERMINED BY WATER TESTING
If you have a private well, water testing should be conducted by an EPA or Massachusetts state certified laboratory and should include analysis for at least the parameters in the table below. Depending on your specific situation, testing for a wider range of potential contaminants may be advisable. If you are uncertain as to how to take a proper sample and get it to a lab, you should contact a lab or water treatment professional for assistance. If your water is town supplied, they frequently test for health threat contaminants, therefore, an in-home water test can be performed on items such as iron, hard water minerals, pH or chlorine level. Typical items tested for at a lab are as follows:
|Hardness||Total Dissolved Solids|
FREQUENTLY FOUND CONTAMINANTS
Common issues encountered in Tewksbury, MA private wells are manganese and iron along with low pH (see below for types of water filtration systems). Additionally, some homeowners are surprised when their water test reveals the health threats radon and arsenic. This is not uncommon in this region. Even in the public water supply, you may notice symptoms of iron, manganese or low pH in the water. For a chart of symptoms, causes and solutions, see the link at Common Regional Water Problems.
Hydrogen Sulfide is evidenced typically by a rotten egg smell in your water. This may also be caused by high Manganese levels in the water as well. This problem is easily correctable with a water filtration system design specifically for this purpose.
The Arsenic maximum allowable level in drinking water per the EPA is .01 mg/L (miligrams per liter) or 10 parts per billion. For more information on this see the link at http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/water-faqs.html
The current Massachusetts radon remediation action level is at Ten Thousand (10,000) pCi/L (Pico curries per liter) in water. The radon must be removed from the water and it is also recommended testing the air for Radon gas as well. Please note New Hampshire requires action if radon is only at 2,000 pCi/L. while Maine & Rhode Island actionable levels are at 4,000 pCi/L. For more information on radon, see the link at Radon Information
Water Filtration Systems To Remove Common Contaminants
A water softener is typically installed to remove hard water minerals, dissolved iron or manganese in the water with a technology called Ion Exchange. If your water test indicates high levels of iron or manganese, an “upflow” water softener is highly recommended to reduce the chance of mineral accumulation in the lower section of the water softener. Particulate manganese or iron (which you can see in the water) can be removed with a properly sized sediment filtration set up. Other types of water filtration systems may be required to remove some of the other contaminants identified in your water test. For additional information on manganese in water, see the article at the following link, Manganese in Water Article in Water Technology. For additional information on Iron in Water, see the article link at Iron Article in Water Technology Magazine.
Removing Arsenic from water is performed by installing water filtration tanks containing a specific media that grabs the arsenic out of the water. The media inside the tanks have a limited capacity, therefore they must be exchanged out for tanks with new resin at appropriately determined time intervals. A safe system will include a “lead-lag” set up with two tanks in line. Once media in the first tank exhausts, the second tank will be in place to continue removing it.
Removing radon from water requires a water filtration system in which the water is agitated in a sealed chamber then vented safely to outside ambient air. Other technologies and systems are used to remove other contaminants. Any properly designed water filtration system should start with a water test before an informed recommendation can be made.
Removing chlorine from water
You may notice odor and taste issues if your home is supplied by town water, typically associated with Chlorine. Chlorine is used for disinfection purposes by the town to control microorganisms including bacteria and others. Carbon water filtration systems are effective at removing chlorine and the associated taste and odors that come with it. These systems can either be installed at the point of entry in your home, typically in the basement, or at a point of use for drinking water only.