common water problems

 

ACIDITY AND HARDNESS

 

The pH level in your drinking water reflects how acidic it is.  The pH stands for “potential hydrogen” which refers to the amount of hydrogen that is mixed with the water.  The level of pH is measured on a scale from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral.  Measurements below 7 are considered acidic and levels above 7 indicate alkalinity. 

 

 

nitrate diagram

Water with a low pH can be acidic, soft and corrosive.  Acidic water causes metals such as copper, lead, iron, zinc and manganese to leach from pipes and fixtures.  Stained laundry, blue-green stains in sinks and drains and metallic or sour tasting water are indications of low pH.

 

An elevation of toxic metals in water can also indicate low pH levels. 

 

 

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nitrate diagram

 

Hard water has pH levels above 8.5.  The primary source of hard water comes from weathered rock formations containing calcium and magnesium. These hard minerals combine with soap and leave bathtub rings, scum that clings to hair, and clogs skin pores.  Hard water deposits can cause a build-up of scale in pipes and fixtures which reduces water pressure. 

 

Build-up of deposits in washing machines, water heaters and other water using appliances can cause them to work inefficiently, which creates additional monthly costs (check out the EcoWater Savings chart on the home page).  Hard water often has an alkali taste which can make beverages bitter.  The Environmental Protection Agency does not regulate pH levels in drinking water because it is considered a secondary contaminant. 

 

qUnited States Hardness Levels Map

[view a detailed us map ]

 

 

 

 

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