WATER FILTRATION SYSTEMS FOR IMPROVED QUALITY
As a Littleton, MA resident, you likely have the town supplying water to your home with water but may have a private well, both of which may benefit from water filtration or a water softener. Later in this write-up, specific contaminants that are commonly found in Littleton private wells and the public water supply are identified and effective water quality improvement methods are covered. Excellent water quality is achievable with the proper approach. As is the case with many wells and water supplies in Massachusetts, there are certain common contaminants that find their way into the water supply.
WATER TESTING & ANALYSIS AS A FIRST STEP
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 and potentially more depending on the situation. 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. They can walk you through the steps required to complete this task. 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, manganese, pH or chlorine level. Typical items tested for at a lab are as follows:
|Hardness||Total Dissolved Solids|
Common issues encountered in Littleton, MA private wells are manganese and iron along with low pH. 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
BAD ODORS & TASTE IN WATER
There are many other types of systems to remove bad tastes & odors, sediment and many other objectionable minerals and contaminants in the water. There are “point of entry” systems that will provide filtration for all of the water entering your home or facility. Also, there are “point of use” water filtration systems that will provide filtered water at a sink or other single point of use, typically by feeding the filtered water to a designated, separate faucet. Starting with a water test will help steer to the right approach for you. For more on bad odors & taste in your water, see the link at http://h2ocare.com/bad-odor-taste-water/.
RADON IN WATER
Currently the Massachusetts radon remediation action level is at 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. Note that New Hampshire requires action if radon is only at 2,000 pCi/L. while Maine and Rhode Island actionable levels are at 4,000 pCi/L. For more radon information see the link at http://h2ocare.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/radon-removal-from-well-water-91015.pdf. Removal of radon from water is identified below.
ARSENIC IN WATER
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. Removal of arsenic from water is identified below.
WATER FILTRATION & WATER SOFTENER SYSTEMS
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 the water testing section above. 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. 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.
Removing Arsenic from water is performed by installing 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 the media in the first tank is exhausted, the second tank will be in place to continue removing arsenic. To only remove arsenic from your drinking water, a reverse osmosis purification system can be installed either under the kitchen sink or in the basement feeding a line to a separate faucet at the kitchen sink.
Removing radon from water requires a system in which the water is agitated in a sealed chamber then vented safely to outside, sending the radon gas to 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.
CONCERNS REGARDING POTENTIAL LEAD IN DRINKING WATER
The following regarding the potential for lead in water comes from the Littleton Water Department website at http://www.lelwd.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Lead-FAQ.pdf
Q: How often does LWD test for lead?
A: Our annual Water Quality Report summarizes the most recent lead and copper test results, and it shows the system complies with water quality standards. The state only requires LWD to conduct lead and copper sampling once every three years because past years’ results show little risk for lead contamination throughout the town. Read the Water Quality Reports here. http://www.lelwd.com/water-department/conservation-and-environmental-programs/ Q: How does lead get into drinking water? A: Untreated groundwater is often corrosive and can cause the toxic metal to leach into drinking water from lead pipes or solder if it is present in the system or a building’s plumbing. LWD takes the following steps to address and monitor this issue: – LWD tests regularly for lead and copper per state regulations, and our results are well within drinking water standards. The next routine sampling is scheduled for this summer. – LWD raises the pH of the water to a target level of 7.4 to minimize the potential for leaching of any lead in the system, especially in homes with lead solder in the plumbing. – LWD treats the water with enough chlorine to address any potential bacterial contamination, but not enough to cause corrosion. – A small amount of orthophosphate is added to form a protective coating inside the pipes, creating a barrier between any lead material and the water.