Technical Q&A

Water Problems

What is Conductivity & Resistivity?

What is TDS?

What is Sulfur (S)?

Problem – Sulfur or Hydrogen Sulfide

Symptoms:  Sulfur produces that distinct "rotten egg" odor and sulfate-reducing bacteria produce a slime and can promote the growth of other bacteria, such as iron bacteria. The slime can clog wells, plumbing, and irrigation systems. Bacterial slime may be white, grey, black, or reddish brown if associated with iron bacteria. Hydrogen sulfide gas in water can cause black stains on silverware and plumbing fixtures. It can also corrode pipes and other metal components of the water distribution system.

Causes:  Hydrogen sulfide gas can result from a number of different sources. It can occur naturally in groundwater. It can be produced by certain "sulfur bacteria" in the groundwater, in the well, or in the water distribution system.

Health Concerns:  Sulfur in wells does not cause health problems, but can have the following unpleasant and possibly expensive effects: horrible odors, corrosion of plumbing and appliances, black stains and sulfur reducing bacteria problems.

Action Level: Any level of sulfur is undesirable.

Why there is Tannins (Color) in the water?

Problem – Tannin - Color

Symptoms:  If you have ever had a hot cup of Earl Grey tea or a cool iced tea, the distinct brownish color of the product comes from tannin. It may be desirable in tea, but not in water. Tannins can cause a yellow to brown cast in water and may also impart a taste and odor

Causes:  Tannins are formed upon the decomposition of vegetation. These compounds are large molecular weight organics that fall under two large primary categories: Humic acids and Fulvic acids. The structure of the tannin varies, depending on the plant life in a given area.

Health Concerns:  Tannins are not a health problem but are rather an aesthetic problem due to massive amounts of color in the water supply.

Action Level: Any level of tannin is undesirable. The structure of the tannin varies, depending on the plant life in a given area. Tannins can cause a yellow to brown cast in water and may also impart a taste and odor. They will generally be found in surface water supplies or shallow wells. Although these compounds are not a health risk, they are aesthetically displeasing.

More Information: Tannins are difficult to remove from water. One treatment method may be effective in one area, but may be totally ineffective 10 miles down the road. It is all dependent on the vegetation in a given area. Styrene based macroporous anion resin has long been used to remove tannins from water. This type of resin has worked well in some areas but poorly in others. More recently, acrylic based resins have emerged on the market and are producing better results when removing tannins from water. The acrylics are manufactured with a macroporous structure. The additional porosity enables the tannins to be regenerated from the resin more effectively.

Application: It is usually recommended that the water be treated by a softener prior to the tannin removal unit. The softener removes hardness and metals. It should be noted, that tannins will pass through softening resin (cation resin) without any detrimental effects. Hardness levels greater than 10 grains passing into the tannin unit may precipitate calcium carbonate. This is a white precipitate that will restrict flow through the unit. Metals like iron can also foul the anion resin, reducing the anions ability to remove tannins.

The removal of tannins via anion resins occurs through both an ion exchange process and an absorption process. Tannins have a slight negative charge. Because of this, they are exchanged for chloride onto the anion resin. Organics will also be absorbed by the anion resin. Tannins will tend to migrate into the inner matrix of the anion resin. Once this occurs, it is very difficult to regenerate the tannins from the resin. Since an anion resin is being used to remove tannins, it will also remove other negatively charged anions. Alkalinity will be removed during the initial part of the service cycle. With the reduction in alkalinity, a corresponding decrease in pH will occur. Once the resins' capacity for alkalinity has been reached, the pH will ultimately go back to its original level. Nitrates are also frequently removed by tannin removal resin.

Salt is used to regenerate the anion resin. Generally, the resin will be brined at 10 lbs per cubic foot. Most importantly, this regeneration should be performed every two to three days. Frequent regeneration will reduce the likelihood of organic fouling. Longer regeneration intervals will promote organic fouling, whether the anion is an acrylic or styrene based resin.

Frequently, tannin resin is mixed with softening resin. This reduces the amount of space required by the equipment and reduces the cost of the equipment. This type of design has performed satisfactorily when properly designed. If a unit is backwashed at a flowrate typical for cation resin, the anion resin can be backwashed out of the unit. An upper screen or basket can be used to eliminate the loss of tannin resin. Improper design can also lead to pressure drop and higher hardness leakage. This is due to calcium carbonate precipitation during the regeneration process. US Water has tannin and cation water softeners in one tank and the cation resin is in the top chamber while the tannin resin is in the bottom chamber (pictured at right).

Cleaning Methods: If organic fouling occurs, soda ash can be added to the brine (~1 lb-per regeneration). Soda ash will convert some of the resin to the carbonate form, which will cause the resin to swell. This swelling will make the pores of the resin slightly larger, so that more of the tannins can be eluted from the resin. The soda ash will also increase the pH of the salt. Tannins become more soluble in higher pH environmental conditions. Finally, with a portion of the anion in the carbonate form, the pH reduction that would normally occur during the service cycle, will be less.

One draw back to this treatment is the potential for a fishy odor. The anion resins (Type 1) are functionalized with trimethylamine (TMA). Under high pH conditions the TMA that is released by the resin can produce a fishy odor. Unfortunately, it only requires approximately 1 part per billion (ppb) of TMA to cause a fishy odor. The odor will generally dissipate over a period of time. When the manufacturer properly post treats resin after it is made, the resin will generally lose its odor quickly, usually within a regeneration or two. It should be noted that a macroporous anion resin will generally clean-up faster and easier than gel type anion resins.

Treating water with a pH greater than 8 also increases the potential for fishy odor. When treating water with a high pH, there is really no good way to eliminate the odor. Putting the resin through several regenerations and exhaustion cycles should reduce the fishy odor. Probably the worst case scenario for fishy odor will occur when there is both high pH and chlorine. As chlorine ‘degrades the tannin resin, the combination of these by-products and high pH produce the fishy odor that may never completely go away. Chloroamines will generally produce this type of environment. The use of soda ash with salt should only be used on anion resin. Passing soda ash through a cation resin may precipitate calcium carbonate.

Organic fouling that occurs in industrial applications can be treated with a brine/caustic clean-up procedure. Separate solutions of brine and caustic (sodium hydroxide) are passed through the bed of anion resin. This causes the resin to shrink and swell to its greatest degree, helping to push the tannins from the inner matrix of the bead. This procedure can be used in residential applications, if the technician is experienced in this process.

Once this treatment is performed, the resin must be converted completely back to the chloride form. If the conversion is incomplete, the effluent pH will be very high. This treatment method should not be performed on cation resin, unless it has been fully regenerated to the sodium form. Metal precipitates will readily form if the cation is not fully regenerated. The brine/caustic cleaning procedure should not be performed by the home owner.

If the previous procedures are unable to clean the anion resin, a bleach solution can be used as a last resort. Place 4 ounces of a standard household bleach, without detergent, (approximately 5.25%) into the brine well. Start-to regenerate the resin. When the chlorine odor can be detected in the spent brine, shut the system down for 2 hours, then continue the regeneration to completion. Put the system through a standard regeneration before putting the system back online. This procedure is very hard on the resin and should only be performed when nothing else works. If this treatment does not work, the resin will have to be replaced.

Iron is probably the chief culprit when it comes to metal fouling. Iron can be stripped from the bed using a reducing agent such as sodium bisulfite or sodium hydrosulfite. Do not use a cleaning agent containing any organic cleaners, as these may foul the anion resin. Calcium carbonate precipitation occurs as a milky white sludge. When this occurs, pressure drop and channeling may result and elevated hardness leakage may also be realized. A mild acid such as phosphoric acid will dissolve the precipitate. Once this procedure is performed, a complete regeneration with salt is recommended.

Other Methods: Oxidizing agents such as Chlorine and ozone are effective at breaking down tannins. A simple jar test will show the concentration and retention time required to oxidize the tannins. An activated carbon unit following the retention tank will remove the oxidant and adsorb any additional organic compounds in the water. It should be noted that some activated carbons alone may not have a significant amount of capacity for tannins. Consult your carbon manufacturer for the appropriate type of carbon. Reverse osmosis is another effective method of removing tannins. Since tannins are high molecular weight organics, R/O will reject them very effectively. When treating for tannins, there is no method that is 100 % effective. A treatment method that works well in one area may be ineffective in another area. Once a treatment method is found to be viable in a given area, it is best to stick to that technology.

What is Silica (SiO2)?

Problem – Silica

Symptoms:  Scale build-up in boilers and cooling systems.

Causes:  It is naturally occurring in granite, quartz, and other materials from the earth. From here, silica can leach in to multiple water sources.

Health Concerns:  The buildup of scale can inhibit the performance of reverse osmosis membranes, boilers and coolers. Inhaling scale dust particles over time can cause cancer.

Action Level: 10 - 15ppm 

How to remove Sediments from water?

Problem – Sediment, Sand, Silt & Turbidity

Symptoms: Cloudy water, particles in water, sediment and silt, plugged screens and faucets, damage to appliances and washing machines.

Causes:  Typically occurs with wells that are in sandy areas or with surface water that may contain a great deal of silt.  Turbidity is the cloudiness or haziness of water caused by individual particles that are generally invisible to the naked eye.  It can be caused by soil erosion, waste discharge, urban runoff, eroding stream banks, bottom feeding fish and algae growth.

Health Concerns:  There is probably no health concerns with this (other than grit between your teeth), but it is a nuisance that creates problems throughout the home.

Action Level: Any level that creates problems.

More Information: Removing sand, silt, sediment or turbidity is an inexact science - you simply have to try micron sizes and types of filters in order to remove the above properly. This will give you a good start.

What is Radioative Water?

Problem – Radioactivity

Symptoms:   The side effects of radiation include cancer.

Causes:  Certain rock types naturally contain radioactive elements referred to as NORM (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials). When a source of drinking water comes in contact with NORM-bearing rocks, radionuclides may accumulate in the water to levels of concern. The predominant radionuclides found in water include radium (and its decay products), thorium (and its decay products), uranium (and its decay products).

Health Concerns:   Cancer is considered by most people the primary health effect from radiation exposure.   Damage occurring at the cellular or molecular level, can allow the uncontrolled growth of cells--cancer.  Radiation can cause changes in DNA, the "blueprints" that ensure cell repair and replacement produces a perfect copy of the original cell. Changes in DNA are called mutations. Sometimes the body fails to repair these mutations or even creates mutations during repair.

Action Level: Any level can be considered dangerous.

More Information: There is no pat answer for removing radiation from the water, but treatment methods include filtration, ion-exchange softening and reverse osmosis. High levels may not be treatable.

What is Nitrates (NO3)?

Problem – Nitrate - Nitrite

Symptoms:  Serious illness and even death, especially due to "Blue Baby Syndrome."

Causes: Since they are very soluble and do not bind to soils, nitrates have a high potential to migrate to ground water. Because they do not evaporate, nitrates/nitrites are likely to remain in water until consumed by plants or other organisms

Health Concerns:  Excessive levels of nitrate in drinking water have caused serious illness and sometimes death. The serious illness in infants or "Blue Baby Syndrome" is due to the conversion of nitrate to nitrite by the body, which can interfere with the oxygen-carrying capacity of the childs blood. This can be an acute condition in which health deteriorates rapidly over a period of days. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blueness of the skin, diuresis, increased starchy deposits and hemorrhaging of the spleen.

Action Level: Over 10.0 ppm (parts per million).

More Information: Nitrates are often found in water supplies which are in areas where there is moderate to heavy use of fertilizers. Nitrates can cause Methemoglobinemia, which is alo know as "Blue Baby Syndrome". This is a serious condition occuring in infants and newborn animals, whereby the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood is reduced. Nitrates and nitrites are nitrogen-oxygen chemical units which combines with various organic and inorganic compounds. Once taken into the body, nitrates are converted into nitrites. The greatest use of nitrates is as a fertilizer.

The EPA has an excellent INFORMATION PAGE ON NITRATE and has approved Ion Exchange and Reverse Osmosis as treatment methods for the removal of nitrates from drinking water. However, because of their small chemical size, nitrates are sometimes difficult to remove through the process of reverse osmosis drinking water units. Typically these systems operate at a household pressure of about 50 PSI and remove less than 80% of the nitrates. Commercial reverse osmosis units operating at 150 PSI or more will remove 92% or more.

In applications where higher percentages of nitrate removal are required or where total house treatment is required for a lower cost than whole house reverse osmosis, ion exchange is the best answer.

What is Iron & Maganese (Fe & Mn)?

Problem – Iron (Rust) & Manganese

Symptoms:  Black, grey or orangish-red stains on fixtures, clothes and showerwalls.  Buildup inside pipes and toilet tanks.  Metallic taste and/or smell.

Causes:  Many wells have significant amounts of iron and/or manganese  because the underground rock and gravel formations contain large amounts of these elements.

Manganese is one of the most abundant metals in the earth's crust and usually occurs in conjunction with iron.

Health Concerns:  Drinking water with iron is not necessarily unhealthy, but is generally a nusiance and something that homeowners will not tolerate.  At extremely high concentrations, manganese can be a health risk to the central nervous system.

Action Level: Any level over 0.3 mg/l (or ppm) of iron and causes stains and 0.05 mg/l of manganese which is where it form stains.

More Information: When treating for iron or manganese in your water, it is imperative that a good analysis of the water be performed. Not just for iron and manganese, but for a number of other contaminants, including hardness, manganesesymbollarge.jpgpH, nitrate, tannin, sulfur, TDS and others. The inter-relationships of the different contaminats will help in chosing the best technology to solve your problem.

What is Water Hardness?

Problem – Hardness

Symptoms: Scale build-up in plumbing systems, including pipes, faucets, appliances, and water heaters.  High soap and detergent usage and stiffer dingy clothes.

Causes: As water moves through soil and rock, it dissolves very small amounts of minerals and holds them in solution. Calcium and magnesium dissolved in water are the two most common minerals that make water hard.

Health Concerns: Hard water is high in dissolved minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium. Hard water is not a health risk, but a nuisance because of mineral buildup on fixtures and inside pipes as well as poor soap and/or detergent performance.

Action Level: Water over 10.5 gpg (180 mg/l) is considered extremely hard, but savings are realized at levels over 3 gpg (51 mg/l).

More Information: Hard water is high in dissolved minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium. Hard water is not a health risk, but a nuisance because of mineral buildup on fixtures and inside pipes as well as poor soap and/or detergent performance.

Water is a good solvent and picks up impurities easily. Pure water is tasteless, colorless, and odorless, and is often called the universal solvent. When water is combined with carbon dioxide to form very weak carbonic acid, an even better solvent results.

As water moves through soil and rock, it dissolves very small amounts of minerals and holds them in solution. Calcium and magnesium dissolved in water are the two most common minerals that make water hard. The degree of hardness becomes greater as the calcium and magnesium content increases.

Hard Water Problems

Clothes washed in hard water often look dingy and feel harsh and scratchy. The hardness minerals combine with some elements to form insoluble salts, making them difficult to remove. Soil on clothes can introduce even more hardness minerals into the wash water. Continuous laundering in hard water can damage fibers and shorten the life of clothes by up to 40 percent.

Bathing with soap in hard water leaves a film of sticky soap curd on the skin. The film may prevent removal of soil and bacteria. Soap curd interferes with the return of skin to its normal, slightly acid condition, and may lead to irritation. Soap curd on hair may make it dull, lifeless and difficult to manage.

When washing dishes, especially in a dishwasher, hard water may cause spotting and filming on your glassware and other utensils. The minerals from hard water are released faster when it comes into contact with heat, causing an increase in the amount of spotting and filming that occurs. This problem is not a health risk, but it can be a nuisance to clean and makes your glasses and silver spotted and dingy.

Water Hardness Problems in Water Heating Systems and Pipes
Hard water also contributes to inefficient and costly operation of water-using appliances. Heated hard water forms a scale of calcium and magnesium minerals, limescale deposits, that can contribute to the inefficient operation or failure of water-using appliances. Pipes can become clogged with scale that reduces water flow and ultimately requires pipe replacement. Limescale has been known to increase energy bills by up to 25%

Limescale in Solar Heating Systems
Solar heating, often used for heating swimming pools is prone to limescale buildup, which can reduce the efficiency of the electronic pump and therefore the overall systems performance will deteriorate.

Hard Water Benefits
Hard water is not a health hazard. In fact, the hard drinking water generally contributes a small amount toward total calcium and magnesium human dietary needs, and in some instances, where dissolved calcium and magnesium are very high, water could be a major contributor of calcium and magnesium to the diet.

The ideal solution would be to leave the calcium in the water, but alter its state so that it couldn't form limescale. This is what the Evolet Salt-Free System does.

Water Hardness Guide - mg/l (ppm)
Soft = 0 - 17.1 
Slightly Hard = 17.1 - 60
Moderately Hard = 60 - 120 
Hard = 120 - 180
Very Hard = 180 & over

What is Fluoride (F-)?

Problem – Fluoride

Symptoms: This is a very polarizing debate:  One side says that flouride is good for the teeth and preventing cavities while the other side says that fluoride is a deadly poison and causes long-lasting health issues.

Causes: Many cities add flouride to the water which is why it is many water supplies.

Health Concerns:  An active ingredient in many pesticides and rodenticides is fluoride. which is accutely more poisonous than lead.  Overdose leads to serious toxic symptoms.  Some experts feel that chronic doses of fluoride can lead to cancer, diabetes, throid and neurologoical disorders, heart disease, arthritis and osteoporosis.

Action Level: Any level is frequently undesirable.

More Information: Here is what one expert says: "Fluoride and fluoridation will go down as one of the greatest controversies of the 20th century. Up until the early 1940's, fluorine's effect on life was always deemed poisonous. It was proven to be altering enzymes used by living organisms to carry out a multitude of essential processes. Fluorine, the most reactive element on the planet, is also the strongest free radical. Scientists in the 1930's and 1940's experimented with this element to create the most deadly nerve gasses, rocket fuel, and radioactive U235 for the bomb. As a wood preservative, rodentcide and insecticide, fluorine compounds are second to none. As an Orthodontist, I began investigating the increasingly prevalent lines and spots that I saw on the enamel of children. Like rings on a tree, they indicate excessive fluorine exposure. I started to ask the question, 'How does fluorine cause these marks?' Chronic doses of fluoride, like arsenic and lead, accumulate in our bodies causing a blockage in the way cells breathe and leads to the malformation of collagen. Cancer, diabetes, thyroid and neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, heart disease, arthritis and osteoporosis have all been linked to chronic fluoride ingestion. We are now exposed to increasing doses of fluoride from toothpaste, rinses, water, food, medicines, showering, bathing, and even the air that we breathe. Our environment has become a literal fluoride dumping ground."

What is the cause of Corrosion?

Problem – Corrosion

Symptoms: Blue-green stains on plumbing fixtures, showers, tubs, faucets and drains, and possibly pinhole leaks in copper plumbing, but the pH is neutral.

Causes: High dissolved oxygen, poor plumbing practices (excessive flux, improper de-burring of copper pipes), improper electrical grounding, excessive sand or sediment and/or high velocity flow rates. In a high percentage of the cases, the source of the corrosion may not be determined.

Health Concerns: Though a small amount of copper is required by the human body as an essential nutrient, long-term exposure to elevated levels of copper in drinking water may cause serious health problems. Short periods of exposure to high levels of copper can cause gastrointestinal problems, including nausea and vomiting and longer intervals may cause liver or kidney damage.

Action Level: Over 1.0 mg/l (milligram per liter).

More Information: In cases where the pH is over 7.0, but the water still causes bluish-green stains and copper levels are still elevated, the source of the corrision is not the pH and raising the pH will generally do nothing. You should cheek and see if everything is grounded properly and make sure that there in not a galvanized to copper connection in the system causing electrolysis. Unfortuneately, in many cases, the source of the problem is not always readily apparent. In that event, the solution is simply to add a polyshosphate injection system. This system is much like an anti-acid for your stomach - it doesn't treat the problem - it simply masks it.

What is Chlorine (Cl)?

Problem – Chlorine

Symptoms:  Smell of chlorine coming from the tap or shower.  Dry, itchy, irritated skin, hair and burning eyes.  Vegetables may not be as green, and along with other foods may have a strange taste.  Plants and gardens can be adversely affected and plumbing parts that are rubber can leak.

Causes:  Municipalities add chlorine to the water to prevent waterborne diseases such as chloera, typhoid and the like.  However, chlorine reacts with organics in the water to form disinfection by-products (DBP) such as trihalomethanes (THM).  Once the water arrives at your home, the chlorine has done its job.  You don't need it or the DBP's anymore.

Health Concerns: The DBP's are frequently carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and are linked to developmental disorders, liver and kidney problems and respiratory problems.  Chlorine is not just ingested, but is absorbed through the skin and inhaled during showering.

Action Level: Any residual is undesirable.

More Information: Before the beginning of the Twentieth Century, two of leading causes of death in this country were cholera and typhoid, both waterborne diseases. When municipalities started chlorination, these diseases were virtually wiped-out. With cholera and typhoid, you were dead in a matter of days. Now, we find out that exposure to chlorinated water and it's disinfection by-products over a number of years can cause cancer.

Chlorine is an oxidizer which is commonly used to reduce organic matter or disinfect water by municipalities. Once the water has been disinfected and arrives in your home, there is no further need for the chemical, and prolonged contact can be detrimental, according to many experts.

Chlorine is objectionable for bathing and drinking in concentrations as low as .5 PPM. A swimming pool may be 2.0 to 3.0 PPM. According to the EPA, chlorine combines with organics in the water to form THM's (trihalomethanes) which are known carcinogens.

“Showering is suspected as the primary cause of elevated levels of chloroform in nearly every home because of the chlorine in the water.” - DR. LANCE WALLACE - U.S.E.P.A.

“A long hot shower can be dangerous. The toxic chemicals are inhaled in high concentrations.” - Dr. John Andelman - BOTTOM LINE

“Skin absorption of contaminant has been underestimated and ingestion may not constitute the sole or even primary route of exposure.” - Dr. Halina Brown - AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

“Showers - and to a lessor extent baths - lead to a greater exposure to toxic chemicals contained in drinking water supplies than does drinking the water.”- Ian Anderson - NEW SCIENTIST

“Drinking chlorinated water may double the risk of bladder cancer, which strikes 400,000 people a year.”- IS YOUR WATER SAFE? - U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT

We believe that municipalities do a wonderful job of protecting you and your family by chlorinating the water, but now in the Twenty-first Century, we have the technology available to remove the clorine. After all, drinking chlorinated water is not the primary way you are exposed to it. Inhalation and skin-absorbtion are elimianted as well with a Hybrid water softener or carbon filter.

Clean Drinking Water Is A Powerful Healing Substance!

“The Most Powerful Healing Substance Known To Man”. The human body is primarily composed of water. Water is not only beneficial but also vital to life — only oxygen is more important to human survival. Water plays an enormous role in how well our body functions.

Simply put, the more fresh water we drink, the healthier we become. Knowing all this, it never ceases to amaze us when we hear people saying they “forget” to drink water. Would these people need a reminder to breathe? Water increases not only the quality but also the length of our lives! Don’t believe it? Let’s take a closer look.

Water helps to:

Relieve/Prevent: lower back pain, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, headaches, migraines, asthma, allergies, colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, hypertension, cholesterol, hangovers, neck pain, muscle pain, joint pain, bloating, constipation, ulcers, low energy levels, stomach pain, confusion and disorientation.

Maintain: muscle tone, weight loss, clear and healthy skin.

Regulate: body temperature, remove toxins and wastes, cushion and lubricate joints, decrease risk of kidney stones, protect tissues, organs and the spinal cord from shock and damage.

Assist In: the digestion & absorption of food, and in transporting oxygen and nutrients to the cells.


What is Chloride (Cl-)?

Problem – Chloride

Symptoms:  Salty tasting drinking water.

Causes:  Chloride is naturally occurring in all natural water sources at moderately low levels. It can also get in to water sources when road salts leech in to the ground or when water supplies are mixed with seawater.

Health Concerns:  Chloride typically does not affect humans unless there is an abnormally large amount in the water supply. This can be detrimental to those on a low sodium diet. Chloride is an essential electrolyte that helps to maintain pH, transmit nerve impulses and regulate cellular fluids. A typical person has about 81.7g of chloride their body.

The adverse effects of chloride are primarily aesthetic or plumbing-related:
- Excessive chloride (above 250mg/L) can make drinking water taste salty.
- When concentrated, chloride can cause corrosion of metal piping. Iron is leached into water from metal pipes when high levels of chloride are present.
- Chloride is the main cause of pitting of stainless steel.
- Chloride combines with hydrogen to produce hydrochloric acid.

Action Level: 250 mg/l

More Information: Chloride is one of the most prevalent anions found in water, commonly combining with the cations sodium, calcium, and magnesium to form salts. Chlorides have a wide range of uses; they're used in foods, de-icing salts for roads, fertilizers, animal feeds, and chemical manufacturing.

Chlorides arrive in surface and ground water both naturally, as from sea water, and as a result of human activity. Chloride levels in most waters range from 10 to 100 mg/l, and sea water contains over 30,000 mg/l of sodium chloride. Chloride levels may increase with water treatment involving chlorine or chloride.

Water Treatment for Chloride: Reverse osmosis removes around 95% of chloride, and electrodialysis and distillation are also effective. In industrial settings, strong base anion exchangers can be used.

Because of chloride's corrosive effects, when treating water high in chloride, plastic is usually preferred to stainless steel for reverse osmosis membrane housings.

What is Chloramines?

Problem – Chloramine

Symptoms: Bad taste, odor,  skin irritation and eye irritation.

Causes: Chloramine, or NH2Cl, is commonly used in low concentrations as a secondary disinfectant in municipal water distribution systems as an alternative to free chlorine chlorination. Chloramines are disinfectants used to treat drinking water. Chloramines are most commonly formed when ammonia is added to chlorine to treat drinking water. The typical purpose of chloramines is to provide longer-lasting water treatment as the water moves through pipes to consumers.

Health Concerns: Chloramine can be deadly to fish in aquariums and ponds and to patients on dialysis machines. For regular home use, water with chloramine presents aesthetic issues of bad taste, odor and skin irritation.  There is also evidence that exposure to chloramine can contribute to respiratory problems, including asthma.  Other side effects are suspected, but more study is needed.

Action Level: Any level is unacceptable.

More Information: Chloramine or NH2Cl is commonly used in low concentrations as a secondary disinfectant in municipal water distribution systems as an alternative to free chlorine chlorination. This application is increasing, and chlorine (sometimes referred to as free chlorine),is being displaced by chloramine, which is much more stable and does not dissipate from the water before it reaches consumers.

NH2Cl also has a very much lower tendency than free chlorine to convert organic materials into chlorocarbons such as chloroform and carbon tetrachloride.

Such compounds have been identified as carcinogens and in 1979 the United States Environmental Protection Agency began regulating their levels in U.S. drinking water. Furthermore, water treated with chloramine lacks the distinct chlorine odor of the gaseous treatment and so has improved taste. In swimming pools, chloramines are formed by the reaction of free chlorine with organic substances.

Chloramines, compared to free chlorine, are both less effective as a sanitizer and more irritating to the eyes of swimmers. When swimmers complain of eye irritation from "too much chlorine" in a pool, the problem is typically a high level of chloramines. Pool test kits designed for use by homeowners are sensitive to both free chlorine and chloramines, which can be misleading.

Chloramines are disinfectants used to treat drinking water. Chloramines are most commonly formed when ammonia is added to chlorine to treat drinking water. The typical purpose of chloramines is to provide longer-lasting water treatment as the water moves through pipes to consumers. This type of disinfection is known as secondary disinfection. Chloramines have been used by water utilities for almost 90 years, and their use is closely regulated. More than one in five Americans uses drinking water treated with chloramines. Water that contains chloramines and meets EPA regulatory standards is safe to use for drinking, cooking, bathing and other household uses, according to some.

Many utilities use chlorine as their secondary disinfectant; however, in recent years, some of them changed their secondary disinfectant to chloramines to meet disinfection byproduct regulations.

EPA continues to research drinking water disinfectants and expects to periodically evaluate and possibly update the questions and answers about chloramines when new information becomes available.

Chloramine-treated water has a greenish cast, the source of the color is uncertain. Pure water by contrast normally is bluish. This greenish color may be observed by filling a white polyethylene bucket with chlorinated tap water and comparing it to chloramine-free water such as distilled water or a sample from a swimming pool.

Adding chloramine to the water supply can increase exposure to lead in drinking water, especially in areas with older housing; this exposure can result in increased lead levels in the bloodstream and can pose a significant health risk.

There is also evidence that exposure to chloramine can contribute to respiratory problems, including asthma, among swimmers. Respiratory problems related to chloramine exposure are common and prevalent among competitive swimmers.

Chloramine use, together with chlorine dioxide, ozone, and ultraviolet, has been described as a public health concern and an example of the outcome of poorly implemented environmental regulation. These methods of disinfection decrease the formation of regulated byproducts, which has led to their widespread use. However, they can increase the formation of a number of unregulated byproducts, some of which pose greater health risks than the regulated chemicals.

Many animals are sensitive to chloramine and it must be removed from water given to many animals in zoos. Aquarium owners remove the chloramine from their tap water because it is toxic to fish. Aging the water for a few days removes chlorine but not the more stable chloramine, which can be neutralized using products available at pet stores.

Chloramine must also be removed from the water prior to use in kidney dialysis machines, as it would come in contact with the bloodstream across a permeable membrane.

Chloramine cannot be removed from water by boiling, distilling or reverse osmosis, which at least helps to narrow your options! Beware of any company trying to sell you one of these as they simply don't work.

How do i know if there is Chemical in the water?

Problem – Chemicals, Toxins, PCB, MTBE, TCE & THM

Symptoms: Unfortunately, these contaminants are very hard to detect and are often unregulated, so symptoms may not be seen for years.

Causes:  Chlorionation disinfection byproducts produce trihalomethanes, which are known carginogens, while other toxins such as pesticides, PCB and TCE and others, are industrial discharges from years ago.  Additionally, prescription medications and hazardous wastes improperly disposed of can be an issue.  We even find out that perchlorate from rocket fuel can contaminate our water.

Health Concerns: Many of these contaminants are known as endocrine disruptors, which can be ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin.  These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects and other developmental disorders.

Action Level: Not always known.

More Information: There are a plethora of chemical contaminats which can affect a water supply. Included in this category are trihalomethanes (THM), pesticides, industrial solvents, halogenated hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls PCBs, trichloroethylene TCE, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons PAHs. THMs are a byproduct of the chlorination process that most public drinking water systems use for disinfection. Chloroform is the primary THM of concern.

The best technology available for removing them is activated carbon or GAC. For the vast majority of the water contaminants listed by the EPA, filter carbon, often called charcoal, is the preferred treatment.

Because of carbon's effectiveness at chemical removal, most water filtration systems remove chemicals to some degree, since most systems contain some filter carbon. Often the effectiveness of the filtration system has a direct relationship to the amount of carbon and to the way the carbon is pretreated or arranged.

Granular Activated Carbon works by attracting and holding certain chemicals as water passes through it. Because Granular Activated Carbon is a highly porous material, it has an extremely high surface area for contaminant adsorption. The equivalent surface area of 1 pound of AC ranges from 60 to 150 acres.

Granular Activated Carbon is made of tiny clusters of carbon atoms stacked upon one another. The carbon source is a variety of materials, such as peanut shells or coal. The raw carbon source is slowly heated in the absence of air to produce a high carbon material. The carbon is activated by passing oxidizing gases through the material at extremely high temperatures. The activation process produces the pores that result in such high adsorptive properties.

The absorption process depends on the following factors:
1.Physical properties of the Granular Activated Carbon , such as pore size distribution and surface area;
2.The chemical nature of the carbon source, or the amount of oxygen and hydrogen associated with it;
3.Chemical composition and concentration of the contaminant;
4.The temperature and pH of the water; and
5.The flow rate or time exposure of water to Granular Activated Carbon .

Drinking water units, countertop filters, undersink filters, and reverse osmosis units (which normally have at least two high quality carbon filters) for the most part rely upon filter carbon for their effectiveness at chemical removal. For the whole house, cartridge style carbon filters and backwashing carbon filters with granular activated carbon and catalytic carbon are the best choice for the removal of chemicals.

Activated carbon filters used in many water treatment devices can, in themselves, become a source of contamination. Over time, the filter can become saturated with chemical contaminants, resulting in the release of these compounds into the finished water, possibly in even higher concentrations than in the source water. Additionally, build up of organic matter on the filter can lead to bacterial growth over even short periods of time, even overnight. Therefore, it is an excellent idea to use ultraviolet disinfection or UV after any carbon filters installed on well water, unless other disinfection processes such as ozone, hydrogen peroxide or chlorine are utilized.

What is Boron?

Problem – Boron

Symptoms:  Boron can be detrimental to humans’ health when consumed in large amounts by effecting normal functions.

Causes:  Boron is a naturally occurring element in nature that occurs in rocks, soil and water. Boron takes two forms in drinking water (or seawater): boric and borate.

Health Concerns: High levels of boron can cause causing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and blood clotting, while abnormally high levels can be life threatening.

Action Level: 0.5 mg/l

What is Bacteria? How do i remove it?

Problem – Bacteria, Cysts & Virus

Symptoms: Gastrointestinal illness with flu-like symptoms, especially in the young, immune-compromised or elderly.

Causes: Fecal coliform bacteria appear in great quantities in the intestines and feces of people and animals.  Additionally, cryptosporidium and giardia cysts are from surface water contaminanted with feces of mammals such as beavers and muskrats.

Health Concerns: Cyst and acterial contamination can lead to very serious diseases such as hepatitis, giardiasis, typhoid, dysentery, and/or cholera which result in severe illness or even death.

Action Level: If any presence of such bacteria and/or cysts are detected.

More Information: Coliform bacteria are organisms that are present in the environment and in the feces of all warm-blooded animals and humans.

Coliform bacteria will not likely cause illness, however, their presence in drinking water indicates that disease-causing organisms (pathogens) could be in the water system.

Most pathogens that can contaminate water supplies come from the feces of humans or animals. Testing drinking water for all possible pathogens is complex, time-consuming, and expensive. It is relatively easy and inexpensive to test for coliform bacteria. If coliform bacteria are found in a water sample, water system operators work to find the source of contamination and restore safe drinking water. There are three different groups of coliform bacteria; each has a different level of risk:
• Total coliform
• Fecal coliform
• E-coli

Total coliform, fecal coliform, and E. coli are all indicators of drinking water quality. The total coliform group is a large collection of different kinds of bacteria. Fecal coliforms are types of total coliform that mostly exist in feces. E. coli is a sub-group of fecal coliform. When a water sample is sent to a lab, it is tested for total coliform. If total coliform is present, the sample will also be tested for either fecal coliform or E. coli, depending on the lab testing method.

Total coliform bacteria are commonly found in the environment (e.g., soil or vegetation) and are generally harmless. If only total coliform bacteria are detected in drinking water, the source is probably environmental. Fecal contamination is not likely. However, if environmental contamination can enter the system, there may also be a way for pathogens to enter the system. Therefore, it is important to find the source and resolve the problem.

Fecal coliform bacteria are a sub-group of total coliform bacteria. They appear in great quantities in the intestines and feces of people and animals. The presence of fecal coliform in a drinking water sample often indicates recent fecal contamination » meaning that there is a greater risk that pathogens are present than if only total coliform bacteria is detected.

E. coli is a sub-group of the fecal coliform group. Most E. coli bacteria are harmless and are found in great quantities in the intestines of people and warm-blooded animals. Some strains, however, can cause illness. The presence of E. coli in a drinking water sample almost always indicates recent fecal contamination » meaning there is a greater risk that pathogens are present.

A note about E. coli: E. coli outbreaks receive much media coverage. Most outbreaks have been caused by a specific strain of E. coli bacteria known as E. coli O157:H7. When a drinking water sample is reported as "E. coli present" it does not mean that this dangerous strain is present and in fact, it is probably not present. However, it does indicate recent fecal contamination. Boiling or treating contaminated drinking water with a disinfectant destroys all forms of E. coli, including O157:H7.

When coliform bacteria are found, water systems investigate to find out how the contamination got into the water. They collect additional, or "repeat," water samples for testing, and often inspect the entire system. Taking repeat samples helps determine whether an actual problem exists in the system. If any of the repeat samples detect coliform bacteria, the initial findings are considered confirmed.

The Solution: If total coliform bacteria are confirmed in your drinking water, your water system should be inspected to find and eliminate any possible sources of contamination. Once the source is identified, it can usually be resolved by making system repairs, flushing, shocking the well with chlorine for a short period of time or continiously chlorinating the well. If you are on a private water suppply, we strongly encourage you to protect yourself and your family's health with an ultraviolet disinfection system which renders all type of bacteria harmless. Ultraviolet or UV is the Technology of Choice to provide Bacteria-Free Water.

What is Arsenic? and how to remove it?

Problem – Arsenic

Symptoms: There are really no "common symptoms" which indicate arsenic is present in your water supply.  It is odoress and tasteless, so it must be specifically tested. If you are on a well, you should have this done periodically.

Causes:  Arsenic is a semi-metal element in the periodic table. It is odorless and tasteless, and enters drinking water supplies from natural deposits in the earth or from agricultural and industrial practices.

Health Concerns: Health effects can include thickening and discoloration of the skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, numbness in hands and feet, partial paralysis and blindness.  Arsenic has also been linked to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver, and prostate.    Unless your arsenic level is over 500 ppb , showering, bathing and other household uses are safe. Arsenic is not easily absorbed through the skin and does not evaporate into the air.

Action Level: Any level over .010 ppm (10 ppb) should be treated.

The Problem: Arsenic is a semi-metal element in the periodic table. It is odorless and tasteless. It enters drinking water supplies from natural deposits in the earth or from agricultural and industrial practices.

Arsenic occurs naturally in rocks and soil, water, air, and plants and animals. It can be further released into the environment through natural activities such as volcanic action, erosion of rocks and forest fires, or through human actions. Approximately 90 percent of industrial arsenic in the U.S. is currently used as a wood preservative, but arsenic is also used in paints, dyes, metals, drugs, soaps and semi-conductors. High arsenic levels can also come from certain fertilizers and animal feeding operations. Industry practices such as copper smelting, mining and coal burning also contribute to arsenic in our environment.

Higher levels of arsenic tend to be found more in ground water sources than in surface water sources, such as lakes and rivers, of drinking water. The demand on ground water from municipal systems and private drinking water wells may cause water levels to drop and release arsenic from rock formations. Compared to the rest of the United States, western states have more systems with arsenic levels greater than EPA’s standard of 10 parts per billion or ppb. Parts of the Midwest and New England have some systems whose current arsenic levels are greater than 10 ppb, but more systems with arsenic levels that range from 2-10 ppb. While many systems may not have detected arsenic in their drinking water above 10 ppb, there may be geographic hot spots with systems that may have higher levels of arsenic than the predicted occurrence for that area.

Non-cancer effects can include thickening and discoloration of the skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting; diarrhea; numbness in hands and feet; partial paralysis; and blindness. Arsenic has been linked to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver, and prostate.

EPA has set the arsenic standard for drinking water at .010 parts per million or 10 parts per billion to protect consumers served by public water systems from the effects of long-term, chronic exposure to arsenic. Water systems must comply with this standard by January 23, 2006, providing additional protection to an estimated 13 million Americans.

Like many contaminants that enter drinking water supplies, arsenic is potentially hazardous at high levels. Because you cannot see or taste arsenic in water, it is up to the well owner to test for arsenic. Arsenic tends to occur more frequently in ground water supplies, especially when demand causes significant drops in water levels in certain areas. It is best to consult your local health department about this situation and ask about your area. You may also wish to talk with your state geological survey office or USDA agent.

What are arsenic's health effects?
Human exposure to arsenic can cause both short and long term health effects. Short or acute effects can occur within hours or days of exposure. Long or chronic effects occur over many years. Long term exposure to arsenic has been linked to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidneys, nasal passages, liver and prostate. Short term exposure to high doses of arsenic can cause other adverse health effects, but such effects are unlikely to occur from U.S. public water supplies that are in compliance with the arsenic standard.

The Solution: Depending upon what a detailed water analysis of your water reveals, there are multiple ways of removing arsenic from water supplies. If there is also iron present in the water, then there are medias which bind the arsenic with the iron or rust in the water. Before any sizing or determination of system design can be started, a detailed water analysis must be completed.

What is Acidic water?

Problem – Acid Water, Low pH

Symptoms: Blue-green stains on plumbing fixtures, showers, tubs, faucets and drains, and possibly pinhole leaks in copper plumbing.

Causes: Naturally low pH water, high dissolved oxygen, poor plumbing practices (excessive flux, improper de-burring of copper pipes), improper electrical grounding, excessive sand or sediment and/or high velocity flow rates. In a high percentage of the cases, the source of the corrosion may not be determined.

Health Concerns: Though a small amount of copper is required by the human body as an essential nutrient, long-term exposure to elevated levels of copper in drinking water may cause serious health problems. Short periods of exposure to high levels of copper can cause gastrointestinal problems, including nausea and vomiting and longer intervals may cause liver or kidney damage.

Action Level: Over 1.0 mg/l (milligram per liter).

More Information: pH is that it is a measure of the activity of the hydrogen ion H+. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14.
• 0 is Acidic
• 7 is Neutral
• 14 is Basic
In general, water with a pH of less than 7 is considered acidic and with a pH greater than 7 is considered basic. The normal range for pH in surface water systems is 6.5 to 8.5 and for groundwater systems 6 to 8.5. Alkalinity is a measure of the capacity of the water to resists a change in pH that would tend to make the water more acidic. The measurement of alkalinity and pH are both needed to determine the corrosivity of the water.
The pH of pure water or H20 is 7, but when exposed to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere this results in a pH of approximately 5.2.
In general, water with a low pH less than 6.5 could be acidic and corrosive. Therefore, the water could leach metal ions such as: iron, manganese, copper, lead, and zinc from the aquifer, plumbing fixtures, and piping. Also, a water with a low pH could contain elevated levels of toxic metals, cause premature damage to metal piping, and have associated aesthetic problems such as a metallic or sour taste, staining of laundry, and the characteristic blue-green staining of sinks and drains . The primary way to treat the problem of low pH water is with the use of a neutralizer.
There are two ways of providing neutralization of acidic waters:
1.Calcite Filter - This is the most common way to neutralize pH. The water flows through a tank containing a mixture of a nautural mineral called calcium carbonate (calcite) or magnesium oxide (sometimes called corsex), which is absorbed by the water and raises the pH. This method works best on water which has a pH of 5.5 or higher. The main advantage of this is that it is simple to use! The main disadvantage is that when the water sits in contact with the Calcite, like overnight, the first water which comes out may have a higher pH, but under extremely high flow rates, the pH level may be raised only slightly. A Calcite filter also add hardness to the water, so in many cases you would want to follow it with a water softener.

2.Proportional Injection System - The second method, which is superior on low pH water, but most costly, involves using a chemical feed pump to inject a precise amount of soda solution into the water to prevent the water from reacting with the house plumbing or contributing to electrolytic corrosion - a typical neutralizing chemical is soda ash. The Proportional Neutralization System assures that the pH is uniform regardless of flow rate and does not add any hardness back to the water.