Water should be absolutely clear in appearance. There should
be no cloudiness, turbidity or color. Tannins or dissolved matter
can cause problems.
Water should have NO detectable odor. Odor can be caused by
organisms, gases, metallic or organic compounds in the water.
A common odor problem in water is "sulfur smell".
Sometimes described as "the rotten egg smell", this
odor may be caused by a number of factors and are usually microbiological
in nature, resulting in the creation of hydrogen sulfide gas.
This gas reacts with many things changing their chemistry and
color, such as changing silver to black and the taste of food
MATTER: Water should have NO visible suspended materials
(sediment). Particles of sand, rust, plastic, organic matter,
pipe scale, manganese or other introduced matter are sources
of this problem.
Water should have no detectable flavor. Trust your tongue, it
is very sensitive to outside factors.
Is the measure of acidity or alkalinity of water. Neutral water
is 7.0. Lower is acid, higher is alkaline. The range is 0 to
14, like the 'Richter Scale' in earthquakes, it is geometric.
This means that water with a pH of 5.0 is ten times more acid
than water that is 6.0. Water with a pH of 4.0 is 100 times
more acid than that of 6.0. Alkaline water is hard on the skin,
hair or any appliance. Acid water slowly dissolves metals such
as copper, lead, aluminum, iron and zinc, which are used or
have been used in plumbing systems. We call it "drinking
your pipes". Symptoms of corrosive water are blue-green
stains. Correction is recommended for any pH below 6.5 or above
Water may be contaminated by animal and vegetable matter such
as bacteria, viruses, cysts, algae, fungi, spores, smut, etc.
Most are harmless but some are pathogenic (harmful). Some signs
of microbiological contamination are; foul odors, oily, black,
slimy or fluorescent films. Contaminated water can cause unexplained
illnesses and more. If in doubt, take no chances. A certified
water test is essential.
Hard water simply means that the water is 'hard to use'. Hard
water has dissolved limestone in it. Limestone is mostly calcium
carbonate. Calcium carbonate is everywhere, and of which, teeth,
bones, seashells, pearls, mother of pearl. Stalactites and stalagmites,
the "White Cliffs of Dover", marble and the "Carlsbad
Caverns", for example, are made. When hard water is heated,
it causes scale to form inside pipes, causing constriction.
Hard water reacts with soap causing soap scum, the stuff of
which bathtub rings are made. It coats your skin, your hair,
your appliances, your dishes and flatware. It can cause dry
skin, rashes and acne. Correction is recommended for any reading
over 3.5 grains per gallon, and pays for itself in cost savings.
& MANGANESE: Called the "Staining Twins",
as little as 0.3 parts per million (ppm) of iron causes orange
stains. Just 0.050 ppm of manganese causes black smoky stains.
The 'twins' are usually found together and the stain colors
are usually that 'terra cotta' rust color we associate with
iron. More orange or blacker tones are simply different proportions
of the 'twins'. Iron and manganese give water a bad taste and
odor. They make cleaning and laundry a nightmare.
Free chlorine is not usually found in wells. Most municipal
water supplies chlorinate their water resulting in residuals
of from 0.1 to 2.0 ppm to kill microbiology. Chlorine is very
effective in destroying bacteria, viruses and other organisms.
Unfortunately, it is a two edged sword. In the early 1970's
it was discovered that the chlorine reacts with common organic
substances in the water to produce chemicals called trihalomethanes
(THM's). THM's are cancer-causing substances and have recently
been linked to increased risk of colon and rectal cancer. Naturally,
these substances should not be in the water with which we drink
Radon is a gas that is the by-product of the decay of radioactive
Radium. Radium is present in granite and other igneous, sedimentary
and metamorphic rock. Radon decays into its 'daughters', radioactive
isotopes of polonium, bismuth and lead, which do the damage.
We breathe them in and they lodge in the lungs where they radiate
their harmful carcinogenic rays. Radon can be detected in water
and as a result can rise through cracks and openings in the
foundation of a house and as a result, be detected in air. There
is yet no official maximum contaminant level for radon. The
Federal EPA is considering levels as low as 300 pCu/L (Pico
Curies per Liter). The last official level was 10,000 pCu/L.
New Hampshire is using a 'soft' level of 2,000 pCu/L at the
present time. Radon in air has a 'soft' level of 4 pCu.
& NITRITES: Usually the result of over-fertilizing in
agriculture or signs of a failed septic system, nitrates &
nitrites are a serious health concern that, like lead and other
toxic heavy metals, affect brain growth and development. It
is known as a neurological dysfunction agent. Thus it is more
severe to the young. Infants and the unborn are more affected
than adults are. Correction for contamination near and above
10 ppm is strongly recommended.
further information contact us
at the numbers above or read the Better Business Publication,
"Tips on Water Quality Improvement". Ask for the Reader's
Digest reprint, "Is your Water Safe?", or visit the
Water Quality Association at WQA.org.
Pelletier, Engineer - Certified Water Specialist, CWS-VI, Certified