If your water comes from a private well and contains elevated levels of the minerals or contaminants identified later in this report, you may need a water filtration system or water softener to provide you with improved water quality. If you are on the town’s water supply, you may see some evidence of iron and other minerals in the water as well. See the lower section of this write-up describing symptoms of some of these common water quality concerns.
WATER SOFTENER SYSTEMS
IRON can show up in two forms; Dissolved in solution (ferrous form – clear water iron, can’t see until it stains) or precipitated particulate (ferric) iron which you can see in the water. Typical symptoms of iron in your water include Red/Brown stains in sinks, tub, dishwasher, laundry and/or Metallic taste. Iron may also show up in the form of Iron bacteria. Although harmless, iron bacteria can form gelatinous growths that my plug pipes or break free in slugs of dirty iron-laden water with unpleasant tastes and odors. The EPA drinking water regulations set a recommended secondary maximum contaminant level of iron at .3 milligrams per liter. The reason they call it a secondary contaminants is that iron isn’t considered a primary health threat. See the link at Iron Article in Water Tech for more information on Iron in water and related water filtration challenges. A water softener will be effective in removing dissolved iron from the water. A water softener will also remove hard water minerals and provide you with soft water for cleaning, bathing, etc. An “up-flow” water softener is recommended for water that contains high levels of dissolved iron as the contaminant can build up in the lower section of the softener over time with down-flow systems. A water treatment professional can explain this more fully. Sediment filters are effective in removing particulate iron from the water and would typically be installed before the water softener.
MANGANESE also shows up dissolved in solution or precipitated (particulate) which you can see in the water. Typical symptoms of manganese in your water include brownish-black staining in the dishwasher and other plumbing fixtures. Manganese may also show up in the form of manganese bacteria. Although harmless, manganese bacteria can form gelatinous growths that my plug pipes or break free in slugs of dirty manganese-laden water with unpleasant tastes and odors. The U.S. EPA drinking water regulations set a recommended secondary maximum contaminant level of manganese at .05 milligrams per liter. Manganese is also considered a secondary health threat, however at certain high levels, especially in children, can be a health threat. For more information on this topic, see the link at Manganese Article Water Tech . As with Iron, a water softener will be effective in removing dissolved manganese from the water. Also as with Iron, an up-flow water softener is recommended to prevent potential build up in the lower section of the water softener.
HARD WATER (magnesium & calcium), evidenced by white scale build-up, can have damaging affects on your home’s plumbing as well as your ability to clean, even though the EPA has no published limits on this. Hard water interferes with almost every cleaning task, from doing the laundry to washing dishes to taking a shower. Clothing can look dingy and feel rough and scratchy. Dishes and glasses get spotted and a film may build up on shower doors, bathtubs, sinks and faucets. Washing your hair in hard water may leave it feeling sticky and dull. Hard water can also cause a residue to build-up in pipes that can lower water pressure throughout the house and ruin water using appliances.
OTHER BAD ODORS & TASTES
There are various types of odors and tastes that may appear in your water. Hydrogen sulfide, for example, is evidenced typically by a rotten egg smell in your water. This problem is easily correctable with a water filtration system designed specifically for this purpose. Depending on the level in the water, either a carbon filtration system, ozone system or aeration system will correct this annoying water quality issue. For more on the removal of other bad odors and tastes in water, such as fishy, metallic, musty, etc., see the link at http://bad-odor-taste-water/.
RADON & ARSENIC IN PRIVATE WELLS
RADON in water typically originates in deep wells that tap radon contaminated groundwater. It is impossible to detect radon gas without appropriate and properly taken laboratory water tests. The gas releases into air when water is turned on in your home via showers, faucets, dishwashers, washing machines, etc. If radon is present in your home’s water, it may also be present in the air and should be tested accordingly. Radon can be a serious health threat. For more information, see the link at: Radon in Water Article. Water filtration systems that effectively remove radon from water will include a sealed, agitation chamber that churns the water to release the radon gas, and then vents it safely outside. The vent must be installed to release the gas at a high enough level outside of the home to allow it to safely mix with ambient air. This proper venting is critical to a safely designed system.
ARSENIC IN PRIVATE WELLS
ARSENIC in water can have severe health consequences as it has been linked to cancer. The maximum allowable level of Arsenic in drinking water per the EPA is .01 mg/L (miligrams per liter) or 10 parts per billion. Depending on the level of arsenic found in the water, certain sized tanks are filled with arsenic-specific media that will grab the arsenic out of the water. Proper installation and maintenance is critical, but these systems are very effective and proven. For an article we had published in Water Technology Magazine regarding arsenic in water, see the following link Arsenic Article in Water Tech.