WATER SOFTENER CONSIDERATIONS
If your water comes from a private well 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. Other than visible symptoms of water quality issues, a water test is the only way to know whether or not you have minerals or other contaminants at levels that need to be addressed. The public water supply in Amesbury is supplied by the Powwow river, supplemented by Tuxbury Pond, Lake Attitash and Meadowbrook. There are also two groundwater wells available during peak season. The water treatment process consists of a combination of mechanical and chemical processes to deliver safe drinking water. See the link for more detail on the Annual report Annual Water Quality Report.
WATER SOFTENER FOR HARD WATER & THE STAINERS
The most commonly found water quality issues in private wells in Amesbury are Iron, Manganese, and the hard water minerals Calcium and Magnesium. While Radon and Arsenic are less likely to be found, they should be tested for. While naturally occurring, the effects of these contaminants on your home’s water can either cause potential health concerns or aesthetic and other problems. (Arsenic can also be the result of Apple Orchard spraying or preserved wood manufacturing). For more detailed information on these contaminants, see the paragraphs below.
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.
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. 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 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 typically evidenced by white scale build-up on plumbing fixtures, showers, faucets, glassware, dishes and also inside the piping distribution system. Hard water makes it more difficult to clean kitchen items and your bathrooms, but it also creates problems with soaps, shampoos and detergents, making them much less effective and requiring the use of more of them. Soft water makes a significant and noticeable impact. Water using appliances such as hot water heaters, dishwasher and washing machines can be ruined way before their useful lives with the constant feed of hard water.
BAD ODORS & TASTE IN WATER
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, typically carbon filtration, aeration or ozone depending on the level detected.
For more on the removal of other bad odors and tastes in water, such as fishy, metallic, musty, etc., see the link at http://h2ocare.com/bad-odor-taste-water/.
ARSENIC & RADON IN PRIVATE WELLS
RADON usually 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 WELL WATER
ARSENIC can have severe health consequences as it has been linked to cancer. The EPA has set a maximum allowable level (MAL) of Arsenic in drinking water at .01 mg/L (miligrams per liter) or 10 parts per billion. Depending on the level of arsenic found in the water, fiberglass tanks are filled with arsenic-specific media that will grab the arsenic out of the water as it flows through. 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.