Hardness – The most common problem associated with ground water may be hardness. Hard water contains a high amount of calcium and magnesium as well as other minerals. Problems caused by hard water include the reduction of cleaning strength of soaps and detergents and the build up of scale in hot water heaters, boilers and hot water pipes. thereby shortening appliance life.
Iron – A rusty taste in water is a result of iron in ground water. Iron is a common water contaminant which can cause stains on porcelain fixtures and laundry in concentrations as low as .3 mg/l as well as producing an off taste in beverages. In its insoluble forms, iron can form sludge deposits in pressure tanks, pipe lines, water heaters, and other plumbing appliances and fixtures.
Manganese – Manganese causes a bitter taste in water and can cause brown-black stains on laundry and plumbing fixtures especially when mixed with chlorine.
Acidity (pH) – A pH scale of 0-14 is used to indicate the varying degrees of acidity, with 7 being neutral. Anything below 7 is acidic, so the lower the pH, the higher the acidity. Left untreated, acidic water will corroded copper pipes, metal fixtures and pipes under sinks adding the corroded material to drinking water. Blue green stains usually indicate acidic water.
Total Dissolved Solids – As the name implies, TDS is a measure of all solids dissolved in a samples. This is, however, also an indirect measure of the mineral level. The higher the TDS, the higher the mineral level.
Sulfur (Hydrogen Sulfide) – To obtain accurate levels of sulfur this compound must be tested on site as it is a gas and will dissipate after the water is drawn from the faucet. There is, however, a characteristic “rotten egg” odor. Sulfur can promote corrosion, tarnish silver and while high concentrations are rare, can be flammable and poisonous. Sulfur gas results from the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter.
Colloidal Clay – Colloidal clay consists of very fine solid particles suspended in water. These particles are so light in weight that they will not settle even after standing for an indefinite period. Coagulation of these particles is necessary and then filtration.
Chlorine – Chlorine is added to water by municipalities and other public water systems to kill bacteria. Carbon is a simple and inexpensive way to eliminate the taste, odor and health risks associated with chlorinated drinking water.
Methane – Methane or marsh gas, is a colorless, odorless and highly flammable gas. While not a health threat, methane can be ignited when escapes from the water. Signs of methane include rattling pipes, sputtering at the faucets and a milky look to the water.
Bacteria – Bacteria and other microbes are the oldest and most dangerous contaminants in drinking water. Water contaminated with bacteria may be an indication that human or animal wastes have entered the water supply, however, contamination may be due to any number of factors. Harmful bacteria are generally called pathogens. Pathogens can cause a variety of health problems including intestinal problems, weight loss, chronic fatigue and sometimes more serious illnesses. Children are often more vulnerable. Frequent testing for potability is recommended.