Iron levels as low as 0.5 parts per million in your water can produce rust stains in laundry and on fixtures, even though water with an iron content of more than 3 parts per million may still appear clear. A water softener is usually the best and least expensive treatment method. With a softener alone, we recommend a cartridge pre-filter. Iron combined with color often requires pre-treatment with granular activated carbon.
Managing the Manganese
Manganese, when oxidized, leaves a blackish/dull brown stain, especially in dishwashers, when levels exceed .05 parts per million. At levels above 0.5 mg/l, manganese has been linked to neurological problems. Generally a water softener is the simplest and best treatment method.
Water Can Be Hard on Everything
Hardness refers to the amount of calcium in water, which leaves a hard white or gray build-up on shower and faucet heads, shower walls, in water heaters, on clothing, and inside pipes. Hardness typically is measured in grains (17.1 mg/l equals one grain). At just three grains of hardness, laundry requires twice the detergent. That’s why soft water makes clothes cleaner, brighter, and softer – and helps them last longer. Soft water saves time and money on cleaning, saves energy because it doesn’t build up on heating coils, and helps plumbing fixtures last longer. A meter-controlled water softener will save water and salt/or potassium.
pH is Basic … and Acidic
pH levels express the acidity or basity of a solution on a scale of 0 to 14. (7 is neutral. Below 7 is acidic. Above 7 is basic.) An acidic pH corrodes plumbing and fixtures, leaving blue/green stains from corroded copper. The most common treatment methods are calcite filters (neutralizers) and soda ash injection. These methods can be augmented with polyphosphate.
What’s That Smell?
Odors can be difficult to identify and treat. The most common odors are sulfur, iron, manganese, and bacteria. They may exist in cold water, in hot and cold, or in just hot water. They may or may not readily dissipate. Iron odors are generally treated by removing the iron. Manganese odors usually require chlorination and granular activated carbon. Bacterial odors typically result from dead rodents in wells, requiring the wells to be chlorinated and protected with a sealed cap. Sulfur odors can be removed in a number of ways: aeration, catalytic carbon, greensand, or chemical injection.
But I Don’t Smell Anything
Not all bacterial contaminations produce an odor. The most common causes of bacterial contamination are small animals – or surface water – that get into wells. Wells can be treated with chlorine to eliminate the bacteria – and protected with a sealed cap to prevent further contamination. For chronic problems, the most common treatment methods are ultra violet disinfection – or on-going chlorination, followed by de-chlorination with granular activated carbon.
Getting Rid of Radon
Radon is a colorless, odorless gas created by the decay of uranium found in almost all soils. It typically enters homes through cracks in foundations. It also can be picked up by water and released into the air when running. The two main treatment methods are granular activated carbon and diffused bubble aeration. Aeration is the preferred method.