Water with a pH level below 6.5 could cause a health risk
That water flowing from your faucet looks cool and clear, exactly what you wanted on a hot summer’s day. However, even clear water can be chock full of unseen things like volatile organic chemicals, dissolved minerals and even lead from pipes. Learn more about well water contaminants.
One way to monitor these unseen visitors in your water is to regularly test your water and include a pH test. PH stands for potential of hydrogen and shows how acidic the water is. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 14, with 7 being the neutral reading. Below a reading of 7 and you have an acid reading and above is alkaline, or basic.
Ph Indicates Hard and Soft Water
While the Environmental Protection Agency does not regulate pH in water, it does recommend that municipal water sources have a pH level between 6.5 and 8.5. This is a good guideline for your water well also.
As we learned from the problems in Flynt Michigan, water that is below 6.5 is called soft water and can be corrosive. While it harms your pipes with physical corrosiveness, it also can leach heavy metals from those pipes such as copper, zinc and lead. The copper in the water can lead to blue-green stains in your sink as well as on your clothes as it finds its way through your washing machine. Furthermore, these metals can give water a sour taste.
On the other end of the scale, water with a PH above 8.5 is considered hard and can be harmful as it builds up scales in your plumbing and water fixtures, and perhaps worst of all, hard water can make coffee taste bitter.
Checking Your pH
Your water professional can help you find a certified lab to test your well water. Along with pH, it is a good idea to go ahead and test for copper and lead to see if you have any metals in your water. Often, labs will recommend you test for alkalinity and hardness if the pH levels are high.
Once you have your numbers back, your water professional can then help you assess what method would be best for managing the pH.
Managing Your pH Levels
Two choices you have for getting those levels just right are filters that neutralize the acid or chemical feed pumps that inject pH neutralizing solutions.
A filter uses gentle naturally occurring chemicals to correct the pH. A combination of calcite, calcium carbonate and magnesium oxide are used to bring the levels up. Sometimes this will make the hardness and alkalinity rise, so you will need to add a water softener to reduce the hardness. Filters do not work as well if your water has large levels of dissolved solids or carbon dioxide.
If you decide to use a feed pump, this works by mixing your well water with soda ash in a solution tank. Soda ash is much like baking soda. Then the mixture is pumped into the house’s pipes where it neutralizes the pH as it flows through a retention tank. One thing to consider is soda ash will raise the sodium content of your water just a bit, so those on a low sodium diet will need to make adjustments.
So, with your water and your family’s health, it is important to remember that old adage: don’t just judge your water by its looks. Contact Skillings & Sons about water testing. They can help you sure the water you're drinking is safe. Having a well means you are responsible for making sure the pH is at the right levels before your family uses it.