Residents of Shrewsbury, MA may benefit from a water filtration or water softening system whether their water is from the town’s public water supply or their own private well. The following discusses both situations with regard to potential water quality issues or concerns and the possible need for a water filtration system or water softener.
SHREWSBURY, MA PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY
According to the Annual Water Quality Report, the town’s water supply comes entirely from a series of seven (7) active gravel packed groundwater supply wells, located in the northwest quadrant of Town. The six wells are pumped to the Home Farm Water Treatment Plant facility for treatment before entering the distribution system. State and federal drinking water regulations require certain chemical treatments before groundwater enters the distribution system: Air stripping is performed on the waters from the Home Farm, 6-1, Home Farm 6-3 & 6-4 satellite wells and 6- 2 wells to remove VOC’S (Volatile Organic Compounds). After treatment, levels have remained undetectable. Chlorine is added to disinfect the water to prevent waterborne diseases Potassium Hydroxide which adjusts the pH of the water and a phosphate based corrosion inhibitor is added to minimize lead and copper. Also, manganese is sequestered in the process to prevent problems in the distribution system Fluoride is added for tooth decay prevention. For more detail, see the Annual report at the following link: Shrewsbury, MA Annual Reports. The Shrewsbury Water Department, 100 Maple Ave, can be contacted at (508) 841-8506 for more information.The most common calls we get from Shrewsbury residents is regarding hard water, manganese and taste & odor issues.
COMMON WATER QUALITY ISSUES IN PRIVATE WELLS
Shrewsbury residents with private well water often inquire about water filtration systems or water softeners (water softening) with regard to correcting low pH (corrosion), Iron, Manganese, Hard Water and High Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). When water test results show low pH combined with High TDS, a properly designed water filtration system can become more complicated. In this case, a non-traditional, but effective approach may have to be taken to neutralize the low pH. Hydrogen Sulfide is evidenced typically by a rotten egg smell in your water, however this may also be caused by high Manganese levels in the water as well. A water filtration specifically for this problem is effective in correcting this. Water softening is very effective when properly specified, installed and serviced. See articles in Water Technology Magazine on Iron in water and Manganese in water at the following link: http://h2ocare.com/publications/.
BAD ODORS & TASTES
In addition to the above systems described, there are many other types of systems to remove bad tastes & odors, sediment and many other objectionable minerals and contaminants that may be present in the water. For more detailed information on bad odors and tastes in your water, see the link at: http://h2ocare.com/bad-odor-taste-water/.
As a home buyer or seller, there are always questions that come up regarding testing the water when a home is serviced by a private well. If you are buying, have bought or are selling a home that has its own well water in Shrewsbury, you will need to make sure it is tested. Informed decisions regarding the need for a water softener (water softening) or any other water filtration system cannot be made without a complete water test being performed and analyzed.
Water testing should be conducted by an EPA or Massachusetts state certified laboratory and should include minimally, an analysis for the parameters in the table below. If you are uncertain as to what to have tested and how to take a proper sample and get it to a lab, you should contact a lab or water treatment professional for assistance. In addition to hard water minerals, other typical items tested for are as follows:
If the testing results for Radon exceed the current Massachusetts guideline of ten thousand (10,000) pCi/L in water, then the radon must be removed from the water and it is recommended that testing the air for Radon is performed as well. It should be noted that New Hampshire requires action if radon is 2,000 pCi/L (pico curries per liter), Maine and Rhode Island are at 4,000 pCi/L. A water filtration system that will agitate and remove the radon gas by venting it outside will correct the radon in water issue. If the results for Arsenic come in at or above .01 parts per billion, then a water filtration system for removing the Arsenic must be installed.
WATER FILTRATION SYSTEMS
Water filtration or water softening systems can be installed to soften hard water or for the removal of any of the contaminants listed in the above table and more. Water softeners are typically installed to remove hard water minerals (calcium & magnesium) and dissolved iron or manganese in the water through a technology called Ion Exchange. Arsenic is removed with tanks containing a specific media that “grabs” the arsenic out of the water. Removing radon from water requires a system which agitates the water in a sealed compartment, then vents the radon gas safely to the outside ambient air. Other technologies and systems may be used to remove the other contaminants. Any water filtration system designed should start with a water test before an informed recommendation can be made.