All posts by Aric Huckstep

Sulphur In Your Water

Should Water Stink?



It’s pretty easy to tell if there is sulphur in your water; if you turn on your tap and the room begins to smell like rotten eggs

you have Sulphur in your water.



What is Sulphur?

 

Sulphur is a brittle, pale-yellow, naturally-occurring element found in nature. Sulphur-containing minerals are found in most rocks and soils around the world.

At it’s source, Sulphur is not necessarily a bad thing- in fact- a proper amount is good for you. You’ll find sulphur in a lot of the foods you consume- poultry, fish, eggs, chocolate, beans, broccoli, tomatoes … the list goes on and on.

All the sulphur you need can be found in a well balanced diet. 



Problems Caused By Excess Sulphur:

 

  • Rotten Egg Smell
  • Laxative Effect
  • Dehydration
  • Yellow Stains
  • Various Slime Buildup
  • Clogs In Pipes / Plumbing Fixtures
  • Corrosion In Pipes / Plumbing Fixtures

How Do I Get It Out Of My Water?

 

The easiest way to remove sulphur from water is to add Chlorine to it, but by adding Chlorine you effectively make it even less safe to drink.

The most effective way to remove sulphur is through the use of a catalytic carbon filter

 

 

 

 

Get To Know Your Water- Iron Content



Water shouldn’t be orange.

Water shouldn’t taste like a rusty pipe.



What is it?

 

Iron content is present in almost all Well Water Systems and can also be found in some Municipal Water.

It’s directly responsible for:

  • the rust stains in your toilet or in your sink
  • the orange water that flows from your tap
  • the discoloration in your clothes
  • the stains on your dishes
  • metallic taste of your water
  • clogs in your pipes/in your well

Is It In My Water?

Iron enters the water through the soil around your well, through oxidation inside your plumbing, and in naturally-occurring chemical reactions.

There are 3 different types of Iron found in water, each having it’s own, individualistic set of characteristics and issues, but can all be treated with one, proper filter.



Forms Of Iron In Wells

Bacterial Iron:

Iron Bacteria is a collection of small living organisms which naturally occur in soil, groundwater, and other surface waters.

The bacteria combines iron (or manganese) and oxygen to form deposits often responsible for slime-like buildup in toilet reservoirs or the presence of a slimy mass polluting your water softeners or filters.

Ferric Iron:

Ferric Iron, also known as “Redwater Iron”, is Iron inside of your water that has been exposed to oxygen, subjecting the iron to oxidation, creating a orange tint, and a rusty presence inside the water.

Where most Ferric Iron exists in the form of large, metallic flakes, there is also “Colloidal Iron” which are individual particles that all have a positive ion charge, causing them to repel each other and remain in such a small form that it can be incredibly difficult to filter out.

Ferrous iron:

Ferrous Iron, also known as “Clearwater Iron”, is a non-oxidized Iron that exists in water though is not visible until it becomes oxidized, consequently turning it into Ferric Iron.

Get To Know Your Water Quality- Hardwater



“Hard Water” is a reference to the high mineral content within water, and is considered the most common of all water problems.



Water picks up a little part of everything that it touches, including natural minerals from the ground. Excess Sulphur, Magnesium, Calcium, Manganese, Iron, are all contributors to the hardness of your water. A homeowner reading their yearly water quality report will see that “hardness” is listed as parts per million (ppm) or grains per gallon (gpg).

The average hardness level in the United States is 10 Grains, meaning roughly 85% of the United States’s water is actually classified as Hard Water.

Most municipal water in the St. Louis area ranges between 7-11 grains of hardness with some areas reaching as high as 24 grains. 

 

Hardness Classification Table


Watertable

Table adapted from Water Treatment Fundamentals, prepared and distributed by the Water Quality Association : U.S. Geological Survey Water Hardness Explanation | Water Quality Association Water Hardness Classifications


Is Hard Water Harmful?

High mineral content is not particularly harmful to the majority of people, BUT, Hard water creates a lot of problems and costs the average family of 4 over $2,000 per year to have it flowing through the pipes.

Common Hard Water Problems:

  • Dry itchy skin and dull brittle hair
  • Wastes soap and detergents
  • Yellows laundry, dulls colors and shortens the life of the material
  • Unsightly soap scum in shower, bathtub, and sink
  • Spots and streaks on glassware and dishes
  • Damaging scale buildup in water appliances and plumbing

 

Softening Water Is NOT A Choice

What most people don’t know is that buying a “water softener” is not really a choice at all. Popular brands of laundry detergents / misc. soaps are bought because they work.

The chemists that formulate them know 85% of the United States has hard water and things don’t come clean until the hard minerals in the water are neutralized.

Most of the soap and cleaning products that are used in the home are full of water softening chemicals to help neutralize the hardness or minerals in the water so that the little bit of soap and surfactants in the container can actually do their job cleaning.

The truth is most everyone has to softener their tap water. The only choice a homeowner has is which way to soften their water:

Spend money to fight the water Chemically—a bottle, bar, box or tube at a time and deal with all the aggravation.



How do I get it out of my Water?

The best, and by far the most effective way to remove hard minerals from water, is to use an Ion Exchange Resin Filter or otherwise known as a Water Softener.

The Benefits of Soft water are known and loved by those that have it. The only downside to a water softener is having to put salt or potassium in the brine tank from time to time but it’s a minor inconvenience compared to the life-changing benefits and tremendous savings that a homeowner will enjoy by having it.

The Trionics Series Eco-CM and CMT (Twin) Water Softeners provide soft water at every tap in your home at an affordable price with the durability and reliability of a commercial-grade construction. These systems provide superior removal of hard water ions that damage expensive plumbing and appliances. The resulting soft water will provide a host of benefits including money savings and protection for your home.

Invest in your own whole house water softener and enjoy all of these benefits:

  • Softer, healthier skin and hair
  • Cleaner, healthier showers and baths
  • Cleaner clothes & dishes
  • 75% savings on soap and cleaning products
  • Water Heater –Energy Savings
  • Protection for your home’s plumming

Warning about Salt-Free Water Softeners

Products such as salt-free, magnet and electromagnet systems that make claims of softening the water are not really water softeners at all. These types of systems do not remove the hard water minerals from the water but rather restructure it so that it does not build up inside the plumbing. The reality is that the minerals are still there and the claims made by many if not all of these types of systems are overstated.

The Economics of Hard/Soft Water.

Hard water cost homeowners thousands of dollars yearly. Below is a hard water cost study. The study found an average family of 4 spends about $190 per month in areas like plumbing and appliances, beverages, clothing, but the biggest area of cost to the family was in the area of soap and cleaning products.

The figures below are national average figures based upon the average family of 4 with an average water hardness of 10 grains per gallon.

watercosttable

Compiled from the following sources: U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Labor, National Industrial Conference Board, Water Conditioning Research Council, National Restaurant Association, American Laundry Institute, and Orange county California Research Study, U.S. Bureau of Standards, University of Illinois, and University of New Mexico.

Cost /Savings associated with removing minerals (soft water)

A Trionics consumer research study found the A family of 2, on average spends approximately $60-$70 a month to buy soaps, chemical cleaners, skin lotions and others cleaning and personal products to help fight the direct and indirect effects of hard water.

  • A family of 3 ……$70-$80
  • A family of 4 ……$80-$90
  • add $10 a month per family member to the total bill

Here is how the money adds up for a family of 4.

  • $80 x 12 months= $960.00
  • $960.00 x 5 years = $4,800.00

That’s $4,800.00 over the next 5 years for chemical water softeners but unfortunately without the benefits of actual real soft water and you will still be dealing with all the negative effects of your hard water.
According to the study an average family of 4 homeowner can save up to 75% of their soap and cleaning bill with softened water.
When you consider that you really don’t use anything in your home more than water doesn’t it make sense that it should be the best for your family and home? Especially when you consider that you have to spend the money anyway.

What About the EPA and My Water Provider?

The EPA does not regulate the Hardness Level of tap water. Because excessive levels of hardness can make it expensive to maintain water service some water providers will reduce the hardness level in the water by using industrial water softeners.

Get To Know Your Water Quality- Total Dissolved Solids and Pharmaceuticals



Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is a measure of the total amount of all contaminants contained in drinking water, both natural and man-made.



What are they?

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is a measure of the total amount of all contaminants contained in drinking water, both natural and man-made. TDS’s are smaller than most metals and chemicals found in water and cannot be removed by a traditional filter.

Are They In My Water?

Missouri and Illinois drinking water sources include rivers, lakes, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it absorbs a piece of everything that it touches.

Examples of TDS contaminates are:

  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Arsenic
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Hormones
  • Nitrates from fertilizers
  • Pesticides, Herbicides, Insecticides

Since there are over 75,000 chemicals used in our everyday environment means there could be any number of different TDS contaminates in your water on any given day.

Yes, you no doubt have TDS in your water.



Are Total Dissolved Solids Harmful?

Most often, high levels of TDS are caused by the presence of potassium, chlorides, and sodium. These ions have little or no short-term effects. But since TDS incorporates anything that can be dissolved by water (which is everything), there is also the possibility that any of the other 75,000+ Chemicals we use may also be in your glass of water.

Recent test have detected a vast array of pharmaceuticals in municipal drinking water supplies including antibiotics, anti-convulsants’, mood stabilizers, and sex hormones. Pharmaceuticals were detected in 28 out of 35 watersheds used by major water providers in the U.S.

The problem isn’t confined to surface water either. Federal scientists drew water in 24 states from aquifers near contaminate sources such as landfills and animal feed and found small levels of hormones, antibiotics, and other drugs-AP drugs in the drinking water.

There are any number of water contaminants that contribute to the Total Dissolved Solid Category (literally anything that can be dissolved) that may pose long-term health risks if they exceed certain levels.

Water that is high in TDS may taste bitter, salty, or metallic and may have unpleasant odors.

The water is less thirst quenching, and can interfere with the taste of foods and beverages making them less desirable to consume.



How do I get out of my Water?

Reverse Osmosis (RO) is the only Proven Technology for the effective filtering of Total Dissolved Solids.

RO removes TDS by forcing the water, under pressure, through a synthetic membrane. The membrane contains microscopic pores which will allow only molecules smaller than 0.001 microns to pass through. By comparison, a, human blood cell is 5 microns. Since the dissolved solid molecules are large compared to the water molecules, the water will squeeze through the membrane leaving the contaminants behind and producing purified water.

The Trionics FOY-RO (Reverse Osmosis) Drinking water Purifier/Enhancer is capable of removing 90-99% of TDS from the water.

TDS—The EPA and My Water Provider

Interestingly enough, Total Dissolved Solids are classified by the EPA as a “secondary contaminate” and are considered a “nuisance”. The EPA does not require water providers to conduct any testing and has not set any safety limits for drugs in drinking water. The EPA does make recommendations to water providers regarding TDS testing but it is not mandatory but rather totally volunteer.

The EPA Secondary Regulations advise a maximum contamination level (MCL) of 500mg/liter, or 500 parts per million (ppm) for TDS. Numerous water suppliers exceed this level. When TDS levels exceed 1000mg/L it is generally considered unfit for human consumption.

 

 

Get To Know Your Water Quality- Pathogens



The term “pathogen” is used to describe a parasite or infectious agent that causes disease



What are they?

The term pathogen is used to describe a parasite or infectious agent that causes disease. Diseases caused by organisms in humans are known as pathogenic diseases. Pathogenic microorganisms are most commonly transmitted in contaminated fresh water. Infection commonly results during bathing, washing, drinking, in the preparation of food, or the consumption of infected food.

How Are Pathogens Harmful?

According to the EPA these pathogens pose a special health risk or infants, young children, elderly and people with compromised immune systems.

 

Common Pathogens found in Tap Water:

  • Coliforms

Source— Coliforms are bacteria that are naturally present in the environment and indicate that other potentially harmful bacteria like E. coli may be present.

  • Cryptosporidium

Source—Human or Animal Fecal Waste

Symptoms—Gastrointestinal illness (diarrhea, vomiting, cramps)

  • Fecal coliform and E.coli

Source— Human or Animal Fecal Waste

Symptoms— Gastrointestinal illness (diarrhea, vomiting, cramps) or headaches

  • Giardia Lambia

Source—Human and animal fecal waste

Symptoms—Gastrointestinal illness (diarrhea, vomiting, cramps)

  • Legionella

Source— Contaminated water: the organism thrives in warm aquatic environments.

Symptoms—Legionnaires’ disease has severe symptoms such as fever, chills, pneumonia (with cough that sometimes produces sputum-a mucus that is coughed up from the lower airways), ataxia, anorexia, muscle aches, malaise or “out of sorts” and occasionally diarrhea and vomiting.

  • Viruses

Source—Human and animal fecal waste

Symptoms—Short term—Gastrointestinal illness (diarrhea, vomiting, cramps). Some of the diseases that are caused by viral pathogens include:

  • Influenza
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Chickenpox
  • Smallpox
  • Ebola
  • Rubella.

Wikipedia provides a list 31 potential waterborne pathogens along with the source and symptoms associated with them.

How do I get them out of my Water?

Treatment to eliminate water-borne microbes is by (POE) point of entry or (POU) point of use UV (ultra-violet light) eradication or RO (Reverse Osmosis) purification technologies. The Trionics ECO-UV made by Sterilight™ is a reliable, economical and chemical-free way to destroy chlorine-resistant pathogens and many other water-borne microbes.

What About the EPA and My Water Provider?

For the most part, today’s water treatment facilities are much the same as they were at the turn of the century. Since the early 1900’s Municipalities primary water treatment techniques for killing pathogens in tap water detailed utilizing chlorine to disinfect drinking water, thus reducing the incidence of waterborne diseases, such as dysentery, typhoid and cholera.

Over time as our understanding of microbial contaminants has improved. Scientists and health professionals have found that a wide range of microorganisms such as parasites/protozoa, bacteria, and viruses may persist in “potable” or what is classified by the EPA as “safe” drinking water.

While chlorine is fairly effective for disinfection of bacteria and viruses it does not provide complete disinfection against parasites such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Cryptosporidium parasites are protected by outer shells that allow them to survive for long periods of time and make them very resistant to disinfectants such as chlorine and chloramine. Over the past 20 years, Cryptosporidium has become recognized as one of the most common causes of waterborne disease (recreational water and drinking water) in humans in the United States.

According to the EPA, the very young, very old and those with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk. In addition water providers are switching to Chloramine (chlorine and ammonia) in order to reduce cancer-causing THM disinfection by-products. However, Chloramine effectiveness as a germicide comes with a warning by the World Health Organization. WHO states that Chloramine is 2,000X to 100,000X less effective at killing water-borne microbes than free chlorine. Yes, you read that right. These days we have the “super bugs” which are much more complex. They resist conventional water treatment and in some cases may increase the surviving organism’s resistance to antibiotics. Utilizing Chloramines as a Disinfectant is not recommended by the World Health Organization.

The fact remains that at any time water can change and become contaminated with harmful pathogens.

For a full Explanation of the EPA regulations regarding Pathogens and water-borne microbes see EPA ‘s Official Report –Water on Tap. What you need to Know.