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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. While Radon and Arsenic are less likely to be found, they should be tested for due to the potential health risks associated with them. While naturally occurring, the effects of these contaminants on your home’s water can either cause potential health concerns or aesthetic and other problems. Manganese and Iron are naturally occurring minerals commonly found in New England’s water supply. Together, they are commonly referred to as “The Stainers” in the water treatment industry. 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.

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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. See the link at Iron Article in Water Technology Magazine 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.

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 Magazine. 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.

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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 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://bad-odor-taste-water/.

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H2O Care is an established, Massachusetts based full service water filtration and testing organization, originally formed in 1989, based in Middleton, MA on route 114  with an additional office in Hudson, MA.  See our written and published articles in Water Technology Magazine by going to our website, http://h2ocare.wpengine.com and going to the publications tab at the top of the home page. You can contact us by email at service@h2ocare.com or by calling us at 978-777-8330