Common Problems

with Public Water

The most difficult thing to control when it comes to water quality is the distribution system. The pipes that deliver water to your home may be over 50 years old and many miles long. It doesn’t matter how good the water is when it leaves the treatment plant. It matters how good it is when it comes out of your faucet.

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Typical issues with Public Water

Rain hits the ground as a weak acid H2CO3 (Carbonic Acid). If it runs across calcium and/or magnesium in the ground on the way to a well or reservoir it dissolves some of it. These two minerals raise the ph (acid) condition of the water up to neutral but they constitute the hardness found in water. Hardness is not considered a health threat and therefore it is not treated in public water supplies. Public water is just as likely to be hard as well water. Hard water will shorten the life and ruin the efficiency of any kind of Water Heater. It will also significantly shorten the life and ruin the appearance of all faucets and plumbing fixtures. Hard water uses up soap products at a rate 3 to 4 times greater than soft water. It leaves the film on fixtures, tubs and showers that is so hard to clean. Soft water allows you to eliminate the use of many cleaning products. The thing you still use will work just as well or better with 1/3 or 1/4 as much as you are presently using. It is not unusual for a family of four to save the cost of the water softener in just a few years on cleaning products they buy at the grocery store.

Chlorine is added to most public water supplies. It is a powerful and reactive oxidizing chemical. The active ingredient sodium hypochlorite that is also the active ingredient in household bleaches. Chlorine is used to make water microbiologically safe and since residuals of chlorine are maintained throughout the public water system it continues to disinfect to each individual tap. Once the water enters your home the chlorine’s job is finished. Chlorine, being a powerful oxidizer reacts with all sorts of other things in the water. Some of these by-products of chlorination are regulated carcinogens. Chlorine and its by-products such as Trihalomethanes are effectively removed with granulated activated carbon (GAC). These filters are highly recommended on all public water supplies.

Manganese is often found in deeper wells where the water has been in contact with rock for a long amount of time.  Iron and Manganese often occur together in groundwater. Manganese usually occurs in much lower levels than iron. Manganese does make the water undesirable to drink and use.  Regularly consuming water with a Manganese level of 0.3mg/L can influence your neurological health. 

  • Manganese will impart a strong metallic taste to your water. 
  • Manganese will stain the laundry, inside of the dishwasher, and sinks, often as a dense black or solid stain.  
    • It has about ten times the staining ability of iron. It loves to stain the inside of dishwashers. The stain is initially brown but as it builds in toilet tanks and the like it becomes very dark chocolate brown, nearly black, as opposed to the rust-orange stain of iron. 

These organisms are a danger to public water supplies because they are highly resistant to chlorination. They are, however, large in comparison to other microbes. There are good carbon block filters that are rated for the removal of cryptosporidium and Giardia as well as chlorine and by-products of chlorination. A drinking water filter of this type is highly recommended on any public water supply.

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