WATER SOFTENER FOR HARD WATER, IRON AND MANGANESE
The most commonly found water quality issues in private wells in Lowell are Iron, Manganese, and the hard water minerals Calcium and Magnesium which can be corrected with a water softener. Manganese and Iron are naturally occurring minerals commonly found in New England’s water supply and can cause of orange (Iron) or black (Manganese) staining. Small amounts of these minerals can have huge aesthetic affects on your home’s fixtures, appliances and plumbing distribution system, while high levels of manganese can pose a health threat.
Iron can show up in two forms; Dissolved in solution (ferrous form – clear water iron, can’t see until it stains) or precipitated (ferric) particulate 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. 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.
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. 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 is evidenced by a white scale build-up on plumbing fixtures, including shower and bath surfaces, faucets and other places. Hard water leaves streaks on glassware and dishes after removing them from the dishwasher, creates dull laundry and makes it more difficult to get a good wash of your hair and skin. Also, hard water can be very damaging to your piping distribution system and water using appliances. For more on hard water, see hard water usgs.
Starting with a water test will help steer to the right approach. For more on bad odors & taste in your water, see the link at http://bad-odor-taste-water/.