WATER SOFTENER – Hard Water, Iron & Manganese
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. See the lower section of this write-up describing symptoms of some of these common water quality concerns. Iron and Manganese are naturally occurring minerals commonly found in New England’s water supply and can cause staining and corrosion.
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 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.
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, it can be a health threat. As with Iron, a water softener will be effective in removing dissolved manganese from the water.
HARD WATER is typically evidenced by white scale build-up on plumbing fixtures, glassware, dishes, and shower & bath surfaces. Hard water interferes with many cleaning tasks; doing the laundry, washing dishes & glassware, shampooing your hair, cleaning your skin, cleaning bathroom fixtures & surfaces. Washing your hair in hard water may leave it feeling sticky and dull. Dishes and glasses get spotted and a film may build up on shower doors, bathtubs, sinks and faucets. Clothes can look dingy and feel rough and scratchy. Hard water can also cause a residue to build-up in pipes that can lower water pressure and prematurely end the useful life of water using appliances such as hot water heaters, dishwashers and washing machines.
Beginning with a water test and analysis will lead to the best solution for your water quality improvement. For more on hard water, see the link at hard water usgs.