What Might Be in My Water Supply?
According to the U.S. Geologic Survey, 85 percent of the country has hard water. Excessive levels of calcium and magnesium cause hard water. Earlier generations coined the phrase “hard water” because it made cleaning difficult.
While hard water is not unhealthy, it does cause other problems. Clothes and dishes become harder to clean, and the scale buildup from hardness can reduce the efficiency of a water heater by up to 29 percent. It will clog pipes and decrease the life of toilet flushing units and water faucets.
Naturally occurring in New England’s geology, these minerals dissolve into groundwater as acidic rain percolates through soil and rock. Iron and manganese are the culprits for stains on laundry and fixtures, metallic taste, clogging of pipes, and oily appearance to your water. While these minerals are not considered health risks by the EPA, they can make your water unappealing to drink and frustrating to use for cleaning.
When present in water, the organisms in the total coliform group may or may not carry disease. E-coli is a specific species of coliform that originates only in the intestines of animals and humans. The presence of e-coli suggests human or animal waste is entering the water system. A total coliform test should assess all water facilities and their operation to determine how these organisms entered the water.
A component in fertilizer, nitrate, and nitrite are also found in human and animal waste. While not very common in New Hampshire wells, excessive levels have been known to cause serious illness and death in children less than six months of age.
Commonly known as “salt,” these elements generally contaminate water supplies when road salt enters the water supply.
Alkalinity and acidity are measured through pH. A low pH is acidic and corrosive to household plumbing. When water is acidic, it can cause dissolved copper and lead to contaminate your water and create leaks and other plumbing problems. Look for blue/green staining in sinks, toilets, and tubs to know if your water supply is acidic.
Found in water with low pH, lead and copper rarely occur naturally and are introduced to water supplies when acidic water is present.
Exposure to arsenic, a recognized cancer-causing agent, in drinking water is a particular concern in New England. This is where the soil and water naturally contain levels of arsenic that are substantially higher than those found in other areas of the U.S.
Radon is a radioactive gas released from the normal decay of uranium in rocks and soil. It is also the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute.
This element is an invisible, odorless, and tasteless gas that seeps up through the ground and diffuses into the air. In a few areas, depending on local geology, radon dissolves into groundwater and can be released into the air when water is used. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute.
The presence of MTBE indicates that gasoline contamination has entered the well. High levels of MTBE can cause stomach irritation, liver and kidney damage, and affect the nervous system.
A rotten egg smell indicates the presence of sulfide, which is not a health risk but makes drinking water and showering unpleasant. It is often difficult to measure the levels of sulfide through lab tests.
How Will My Water Supply Be Made Drinkable?
At Inter-State Artesian Well Co. Inc, our systems are custom-built with the appropriately sized filter and filter media to accommodate the flow rates and water quality in each individual home. Because of this, they are far more effective than the off-the-shelf filtration and softening systems.
Use calcite or limestone to adjust the pH in water, which makes it less corrosive. These filters are helpful when corroding water pipes cause blue-green staining.
Solution feed systems inject soda ash or other alkaline solutions into the water to adjust the pH. This treatment is used in very low pH conditions.
There are a number of ways to remove iron from your water. Old style greensand is now being replaced with more environmentally friendly materials such as filox and birm. Depending on the hardness/iron ratio, iron may also be removed through a water softener.
Filters using carbon remove a variety of contaminants including chlorine, volatile organic compounds such as MTBE, and low levels of radon.
Filters using a special granular media are used when water contains heavy sediment and when traditional cartridge filters plug up too quickly to be useful.
Aeration systems inject air into the water to oxidize and filter unwanted contaminants. This treatment is very effective when the water contains hydrogen sulfide (sulfur) and/or low levels of iron. These systems are also used to raise pH levels.
Water softeners use resin to remove hard minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese. These softeners are also used to remove health-related contaminants such as arsenic and uranium.
Our water softener systems are demand regeneration initiated, which means they adjust to the amount of water used instead of regenerating at pre-set intervals. This enables the softener to consume up to 50 percent less salt and water than preset automatic softeners.
If your home is supplied with town or city water, you may experience an unpleasant chlorine taste and smell. Our drinking water systems filter out these factors so you can enjoy your water.
These systems are used for drinking water that contains health-related contaminants such as arsenic, bacteria, and uranium, as well as contaminants that affect the taste, color, and odor of the water.
The Benefits of Whole-House Water Filtration Systems
There are several benefits to adding a water filtration system to your whole house. There will be neither additional electricity costs nor wasted water. Filtered water also improves indoor air quality by removing chemicals that are used to treat the water before it arrives in your home. Whole-house filtration systems need virtually no maintenance and can even lengthen the life of your plumbing fixtures and appliances.
With a standard whole-house water filter, water enters your home via pipes and into the filter, which is usually made of activated carbon. The filtration system is able to treat approximately one million gallons of water which are enough to last an average family five or more years. The activated carbon removes odors, chlorine, metals, chemicals, impurities, and bad taste. It automatically backwashes and recycles itself whenever a preset amount of water usage or elapsed time has occurred
Point-of-use water filters, such as water filtration pitchers and devices that attach to individual spigots, can effectively reduce the level of contaminants that you drink. However, some chemicals are absorbed through the skin in concentrated amounts during showers or baths.
Chemicals that readily transform into gasses, such as radon, disinfection by-products, and some organic chemicals, are more easily combatted with a whole house water filter system. To find out if your water system has high concentrations of these chemicals, ask your water system for an annual report or get your water tested.
The size of your home should be a major factor in your consideration about which whole house water filter to choose. Smaller whole house water filters will service houses with between one and three bathrooms, while larger whole house water filters are appropriate for houses with four or more bathrooms.
Drinking water is exposed to different contaminants based on whether it comes from surface water, like rivers and lakes, or groundwater, like wells and other public water supplies. Surface water can be compromised by acid rain, industrial waste, and runoff from storms and pesticides so installing a whole-house water filter will really be helpful.
The EPA estimates that between 0.1% and 0.4% of usable surface aquifers are contaminated by industrial impoundments and landfills. These dumps and landfills are threats to water supplies when water seeps through waste. During this process, it picks up a variety of substances such as minerals, organic chemicals, bacteria, viruses, metals, explosives, flammables, and other toxic materials. This results in drinking water contamination.
Most whole-house water filtration systems follow a simple three-step system. First, chlorine is filtered out with a mineral media, such as zinc or copper. Next, the water’s taste and clarity are enhanced with bituminous charcoal. Finally, the water passes through high-grade carbon media, commonly coconut shell, for final cleaning. This provides you with great-tasting, healthy water.
Because bottled water is held to the same standards as tap water, buying bottled water won’t necessarily protect you from the specific chemicals, minerals or pollutants that you’re trying to avoid. The leeway in mineral and chemical limits is what accounts for the different taste between bottled water and tap water. Read the treatment information provided on the bottled water label to make sure that the quality of the bottled water is worth the extra price.
The only way to make sure you’re doing all you can to avoid specific minerals in your drinking water is to purchase drinking water filters that are engineered to filter those minerals. Iron water filters, carbon water filters, and more are available to keep you safe from whichever contaminant you are concerned about.
Before you decide on a whole-house water filter, have your water tested to find out what type of filter you need. If your home receives water from a local water system, you’ll be able to find general information about the quality of your water in their annual water quality report.
However, the presence of some chemicals, such as lead, can vary from house to house, so you should also have your home tested individually so that you can purchase the best whole house water filter for your water. A good water filtration company will test your water before giving you an estimate.
POE water filter systems are another name for whole-house water filter systems. An example of a POE system is a basic water softener. They typically treat most of the water used in the household. Most often, they are installed after the water meter.
Water meters are usually located in the basement of a house. Where climates are warmer, the water meter may be in the garage or outside of the house.
A good home water filtration company will offer periodic testing and maintenance services. This service will cost you, so compare the offers of different companies.
If you’re on a budget, ask the home water filter installers to show you how to maintain your home filtration system. The process is relatively easy, and all of the necessary supplies are available at most hardware stores. Even if you choose to maintain your home water filter on your own, hire a professional to test your water annually to make sure the contaminants you’re concerned about are at sufficiently low levels.