Water Problems

WATER TREATMENT, WATER PURIFICATION, REVERSE OSMOSIS, WATER FILTRATION, IRON REMOVAL, MICRO BIOLOGICAL, DESCALING AND DE-IONISED WATER SPECIALISTS

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT US IF YOUR WATER PROBLEM AND TREATMENT ARE NOT LISTED BELOW

    Click on your water problem for more and the treatment of each:

1. BACTERIA:

Bacteria are tiny organisms occurring naturally in water. Not all types of bacteria are harmful. Many organisms found in water are of no health concern since they do not cause disease.

Biological contamination may be separated into two groups:

(1) Pathogenic (disease causing)

(2) Non-pathogenic (non disease causing).

Pathogenic bacteria cause illnesses such as typhoid fever, dysentery, gastroenteritis, infectious hepatitis, and cholera. All water supplies should be tested for biological content prior to use and consumption.

E.Coli (Escherichia Coli) is the coliform bacterial organism which is looked for when testing the water. This organism is found in the intestines and fecal matter of humans and animals. When E.Coli is found in a water supply along with high nitrate and chloride levels, it usually indicates that waste has contaminated the supply from a septic system or sewage dumping, and has entered by way of runoff, a fractured well casing, or broken lines.

If coliform bacteria are present, it is an indication that disease causing bacteria may also be present.

TREATMENT FOR BACTERIA:

Bacteria can be treated by microfiltration, reverse osmosis, or chemical oxidation and disinfection.

Ultraviolet sterilization will also kill bacteria; but turbidity, colour, and organic impurities interfere with the transmission of ultraviolet energy and may decrease the disinfection efficiency below levels to insure destruction.

Ultraviolet treatment also does not provide residual bactericidal action; therefore periodic flushing and disinfection must be done. Ultraviolet sterilization is usually followed by 0.2 micron filtration when dealing with high purity water systems.

The most common and undisputed method of bacteria destruction is chemical oxidation and disinfection.

Ozone injection into a water supply is one form of chemical oxidation and disinfection.

Chlorine injection is the most widely recognized method of chemical oxidation and disinfection. Reverse Osmosis will remove 99+ % of the bacteria in a drinking water system.

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2. CHLORIDE:

A natural forming mineral in sea water and sedimentary rock. The main problems with chlorides have to do with taste, corrosion to pipes, and chlorides are well known for being toxic to plants.

TREATMENT FOR CHLORIDE:

The best way to get rid of chlorides is through Reverse Osmosis or distillation.

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3. COLOUR:

Colour in water is almost always due to organic material which is usually extracted from decaying vegetation. Colour is common in surface water supplies, while it is virtually non-existent in spring water and deep wells. Colour in water may also be the result of natural metallic ions (iron and manganese).

A yellow tint to the water indicates that humic acids are present, referred to as “tannins”.

A reddish colour would indicate the presence of precipitated iron. Stains on bathroom fixtures and on laundry are often associated with this colour.

Reddish-brown is ferric hydroxide (iron) will precipitate when the water is exposed to air.

Dark brown to black stains are created by manganese.

Excess copper can create blue stains.

TREATMENT FOR COLOUR:

Colour is removed by chemical feed, retention and filtration. Activated carbon filtration will work most effectively to remove colour in general. Anion scavenger resin will remove tannins, but must be preceded by a softener or mixed with fine mesh softener resin.

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4. COPPER:

Caused by corrosion of interior household and building pipes. Causes stomach and intestinal distress.

Wilson’s disease. a rare hereditary disease resulting from an inability to metabolize copper and marked by cirrhosis of the liver, damage to other organs, and psychiatric disorder.

TREATMENT FOR COPPER:

Ion exchange, reverse osmosis, distillation.

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5. HARDNESS:

Hardness is due to calcium and magnesium dissolved in water and is measured in grains or ppm.  Iron can also contribute to hardness. These elements form scale in piping, water heaters, and dishwashers causing expensive repairs. Hard water increases soap consumption, starches your laundry, leaves a scratchy feeling after bathing, hair that’s hard to manage, scales glasses and dishes, and affects taste and tenderness of many cooked foods.

TREATMENT FOR HARDNESS:

Hardness is removed with a water conditioner (or water softener). The proper size and type of treatment device depends upon:

1. The compensated hardness (iron content determined)

2. The amount of water used per day (outside faucets excluded)

3. Flow rate required

While this is a matter of opinion to many consumers, usually a water treatment device should be installed when the water has over 5 grains of hardness. By most accounts, anything 5 grains and over is considered hard water and will scale.  It is important to understand that the word “hardness” is not a technical term, merely a term of descriptive convenience; hence the difficulty sometimes in determining what exactly is hard water.

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6. IRON:

Iron in water imparts a disagreeable metallic taste. It combines with the tannin in tea, coffee, and alcoholic beverages to produce an unpleasant grey to black appearance. It causes red stains in toilets, plumbing fixtures, tableware and laundry.

TREATMENT FOR IRON:

Iron can exist in water in one of two forms or both. Treatment depends on the form of iron present. Waters containing “ferrous iron” are clear and colourless when drawn. Exposure to air converts ferrous iron into the insoluble, reddish brown “ferric iron”.

Iron may be removed from water by the following methods, depending upon the amount and type of iron present.

FERROUS IRON – A water softener can remove up to 5 ppm of ferrous iron depending upon size and the type of softener. Very large water softeners can remove up to 10 ppm of iron.

FERRIC IRON – If the water contains considerable ferric iron as evidenced by a reddish brown colour, use a sediment filter ahead of the water softener. A sediment filter will remove a portion of the insoluble ferric iron and the water softener the soluble ferrous iron.

Oxidizing iron filters (greensand filters) – Oxidizing filters can remove up to 10 ppm of both ferric (oxidized) and ferrous (clear) iron.

NOTE: WATERS WITH PH BELOW 5.5 REQUIRE SPECIAL ATTENTION. SEND A SAMPLE TO US FOR ANALYSIS AND RECOMMENDATION.

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7. MANGANESE:

Naturally occurring in metamorphic and sedimentary rocks, industrial contaminant. Staining, scaling, and discoloration of water. Taste is affected.

TREATMENT FOR MAGANESE:

Water softening.

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8. NITRATES:

Nitrates occur in water as a result of seepage through nitrate bearing rocks or soils. The nitrate may also come from fertilizers or pollution with organic wastes.

Cyanosis (“blue baby syndrome”) may occur in infants whose drinking or formula water contains a high concentration of nitrates.

Cyanosis a condition in which the skin and mucous membranes take on a bluish colour because there is not enough oxygen in the blood

Water containing more than 10-20 ppm of nitrate expressed as nitrogen should NOT be used for infant feeding.  Nitrate is reduced to Nitrite in the body.

TREATMENT FOR NITRATES:

Nitrates can be removed from drinking water through reverse osmosis. Reductions of up to 96% are achieved.

Nitrates may also be removed throughout the whole house with a nitrate selective anion resin water softener.

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9. NITRITE:

Nitrites are not usually found in drinking water supplies at concentrations above 1 or 2 mg/l (ppm).

Nitrates are reduced to nitrites in the saliva of the mouth and upper GI tract.

This occurs to a much greater degree in infants than in adults, because of the higher alkaline conditions in their GI tract. The nitrite then oxidizes haemoglobin in the blood stream to methemoglobin, thus limiting the ability of the blood to carry oxygen throughout the body. Anoxia (an insufficiency of oxygen) and death can occur.  (See NITRATE)

TREATMENT FOR NITRITE:

Nitrites are removed in the same manner as nitrates; reverse osmosis, anion exchange, or distillation.

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10. ODOR:

Taste and odour problems of many different types can be encountered in drinking water.

Troublesome compounds may result from biological growth or industrial activities.  Tastes and odours may be produced in the water supply, in the water treatment plant from reactions with treatment chemicals, in the distribution system, and/or in the plumbing of consumers.

Tastes and odours can be caused by mineral contaminants in the water, such as the “salty” taste of water when chlorides are 500 mg/l or above, or the “rotten egg” odour caused by hydrogen sulphide.

Odour in the drinking water is usually caused by blue-green algae. Moderate concentrations of algae in the water can cause it to have a “grassy”, “musty” or “spicy” odour.

Large quantities can cause the water to have a “rotten”, “septic”, “fishy” or “medicinal” odour.

Decaying vegetation is probably the most common cause for taste and odour in surface water supplies. In treated water supplies chlorine can react with organics and cause odour problems.

TREATMENT FOR ODOUR:

Odour can be removed by oxidation-reduction or by activated carbon adsorption.

Aeration can be utilized if the contaminant is in the form of a gas, such as H2S (hydrogen sulphide).

Chlorine is the most common oxidant used in water treatment, but is only partially effective on taste and odour.

Potassium permanganate and oxygen are also only partially effective.

Chloramines are not at all effective for the treatment of taste and odour.

The most effective oxidizers for treating taste and odour are chlorine dioxide and ozone.

Activated carbon has an excellent history of success in treating taste and odour problems. The life of the carbon depends on the presence of organics competing for sites and the concentration of the odour causing compound.

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11. PH:

Carbonates, bicarbonates, carbon dioxide, industrial contaminants. If highly acidic (less than 6.5) it causes corrosion to pipes. If highly basic (greater than 8.5) it causes staining.

Many water treatment processes are PH dependant, meaning that in order to treat the water the PH need to be adjusted.

TREATMENT FOR PH:

Calcite Feeder for low pH, Dealkalyzer for high pH.

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12. PESTICIDES:

Pesticides are common synthetic organic chemicals (SOCs). Pesticides reach surface and well water supplies from the runoff in agricultural areas where they are used. Certain pesticides are banned by the government because of their toxicity to humans or their adverse effect on the environment.

Pesticides usually decompose and break down as they perform their intended function. Low levels of pesticides are found where complete breakdown does not occur. There is no US EPA maximum contamination level (MCL) for pesticides as a total, each substance is considered separately.

TREATMENT FOR PESTICIDES:

Activated carbon filtration is the most effective way to remove organics whether synthetic (like pesticides) or natural. Reverse Osmosis will remove 97 – 99% of the pesticides.

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13. ROTTON EGG ODOUR IN WATER:

Caused by hydrogen sulphide gas. This gas is very corrosive and will react with iron to form a black sludge of iron sulphide.  Most sulphur waters contain from 1 to 5 ppm of hydrogen sulphide. (See ODOR)

TREATMENT FOR ROTTON EGG ODOUR:

Use a chemical feed pump to feed chlorine (bleach) into the line ahead of the pressure tank (3 ppm of chlorine is required for each ppm of hydrogen sulphide).

Chlorine causes the formation of sulphur particles that can be filtered. Install an activated carbon filter following the pressure tank to remove the sulphur particles as well as any excess chlorine.

If it is your desire to have a no-maintenance, non-chemical solution, an aerator (up to 5 ppm of hydrogen sulphide) will solve your problem.

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14. SALTY OR BRACKISH TASTE:

Caused by high chloride or sulphate content. When the total of chlorides and sulphates exceeds 65 grains per gallon, the disagreeable taste will be noticed by almost all people.

A very common problem in rural areas.

TREATMENT SALTY OR BRACKISH TASTE:

Filtering by Reverse Osmosis is the best way to solve this problem.

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15. SODIUM:

High concentrations of sodium tend to increase the corrosive action of water, give it an unpleasant taste, and tend to hamper the operation of ion exchange softeners in the removal of hardness.

TREATMENT FOR SODIUM:

Reverse Osmosis, distillation, and deionization remove sodium from water.

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16. TANNIN:

 Tannins are large molecular weight organic compounds. They are formed through the decomposition of plants and, to a much lesser degree, animals. These organics are generally found in surface waters or shallow wells. There are two primary categories in which tannin fall: Humic acid and Fulvic acid . These are simplified structures of very large molecules. Gallic acid, guaiacyl, syringyl and cresylic moieties are the building blocks of these organic molecules (Kunin, 1986). The structure of the tannin varies from location to location, depending on the vegetation in the area. Tannins can cause a yellow to dark tea color in water and may impart taste and odor. 

TREATMENT FOR TANNIN:

Tannins can be difficult to remove from water. One treatment method may be effective in one area, but may be totally ineffective 10 km down the road. It is dependent on the vegetation in a given area.

Tannin can be removed by means of a water softener filled with a special tannin removal resin.

Reverse Osmosis is another effective method for removing tannins. Since tannins are high molecular weight organics RO should reject them effectively.

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17. TASTE:

Generally, individuals have a more acute sense of smell than taste.

Taste problems in water come from total dissolved solids (TDS) and the presence of such metals as iron, copper, manganese, or zinc. Magnesium chloride and magnesium bicarbonate are significant in terms of taste.

Fluoride may also cause a distinct taste.

Taste and odour problems of many different types can be encountered in drinking water. Troublesome compounds may result from biological growth or industrial activities.

Tastes and odours may be produced in the water supply, in the water treatment plant from reactions with treatment chemicals, in the distribution system, and /or in the plumbing of consumers.

Tastes and odours can be caused by mineral contaminants in the water, such as the “salty” taste of water when chlorides are 500 mg/l or above. (See SALTY OR BRACKISH TASTE)

Decaying vegetation is probably the most common cause for taste and odour in surface water supplies.

In treated water supplies chlorine can react with organics and cause taste and odour problems.

TREATMENT FOR TASTE:

Taste and odour can be removed by oxidation-reduction or by activated carbon adsorption.

Aeration can be utilized if the contaminant is in the form of a gas, such as H2S (hydrogen sulphide).

Chlorine is the most common oxidant used in water treatment, but is only partially effective on taste and odour.

Potassium permanganate and oxygen are also only partially effective.

Chloramines are not at all effective for the treatment of taste and odour. The most effective oxidizers for treating taste and odour are chlorine dioxide and ozone.

Activated carbon has an excellent history of success in treating taste and odour problems. The life of the carbon depends on the presence of organics competing for sites and the concentration of the taste and odour causing compound.

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18. TURBIDITY:

Turbidity is caused by erosion runoff and discharges.

It mainly has to do with measuring the light shining through a container holding water in question. The less the light, the more the turbidity, the more the light, the less the turbidity. Primarily, turbidity interferes with UV light or Chlorine disinfection. For this reason it needs to be removed.

TREATMENT FOR TURBIDITY:

Turbidity can be removed by filtration, Reverse Osmosis, distillation.

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