Question: Where does the water in my home come from, and what is in it?
Answer: Whether you receive water from a municipality, private company, or your own well, you should know that the source of the water varies. Because of that, testing is a must.
The Arizona Department of Health Services requires municipal providers and most private companies to perform regular tests on their water supply. Testing assures consumers a basic confidence level that their drinking water is safe. Visit the ADHS website at tucne.ws/1o3j for a list of Arizona-certified commercial drinking water laboratories.
NOTE: If your home is on well water, testing is your (the homeowner’s) responsibility.
What to test for is another issue. Depending on where you are in Arizona, testing can include:
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chloride, manganese, sodium, fluoride
Those are just some of the items to test for. Jon Owens with Kinetico Water Systems, a Rosie on the House certified partner, suggests that you ask the lab what tests to perform or contact a water professional in your area to assist in deciding what is right for you.
Recently, I heard about the “forever chemicals” in our water supply. Hundreds of products are made every day with toxic, fluorinated chemicals known as PFAs, PFOs and PFAS. These chemicals have been linked to cancer and reproductive and immune system harm, and they are hard to get rid of. Most testing labs can test for these and about 20 other contaminants in your water.
A common test is for water hardness. Owens says that hard water contains certain naturally occurring minerals. These are typically magnesium and calcium. According to the US Geological Survey, hardness occurs in 85% of our nation’s water. In Arizona, you can count on your water having some level of hardness. Testing companies will test your water’s composition and determine the degree of hardness. Water is considered hard if your water contains three grains of calcium and magnesium bicarbonates per gallon.
If your home has been around for a while, look at your faucets. Do you see a build-up of a white, hard, chalky substance? Chances are, if your water is untreated, you will. Your pipes and even your drains, those parts you never see, will likely have the same build-up in various areas. The white build-up indicates you need to treat your water, at the very least, for hardness.
Q: Can my water be fixed?
A: Yes, depending on your expectations. Let’s start with your expectations for the “fix” of the problem you are having with your water. Some common issues and their fixes are:
Smell and taste — Chlorine smell and taste or even a sulfur smell and taste are caused by gases trapped within the water. If this is your issue, carbon filtration usually solves it.
Floaties — That’s a real word and a real problem. If your expectation is to remove these particles from the water, then you will need to use a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system. An RO system pushes water through a series of filters that can remove sediments. Its carbon filter removes Volatile Organic Compounds and utilizes a semipermeable membrane to clean up or “fix” your water. To be effective, this system should be prefaced by a testing process.
Hardness — This can be “fixed” only through the exchange of sodium ions with the unwanted magnesium and calcium ions that are in the water. Sodium ions occur naturally in water. The hard water flows through a bed of plastic beads with sodium ions attached, and the exchange happens.
The water treatment industry can be confusing. Read Water Treatment Softening Myths (tucne.ws/1o3k) or Rosie’s Water Treatment Consumer Guide (tucne.ws/1o3l) for information before you decide on a system.
As noted earlier, there is a new concern regarding our water quality. PFAs, PFOAs and PFAS are acronyms for “forever chemicals.” In the last year or so, the EPA has decreased the allowable levels from 70 parts per trillion down to four parts per trillion. This is a staggering change that makes us wonder why. The fluorinated chemicals have been used in products since the 1940s and do not break down in the environment. The EPA has published an article, “PFAS Explained,” that gives us a good overview of the issue at epa.gov/pfas/pfas-explained.
Most filtration systems on the market do not remove PFAS. Municipalities and water providers are struggling to implement the necessary systems to treat water to the new EPA standard, as it is not easy and certainly expensive. There are systems, like the one Kinetico manufactures, that you can install in your home that can remove up to 99% of the harmful chemicals.
An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert for more than 40 years, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio broadcast, heard locally from 10 to 11 a.m. on KNST-AM (790) in Tucson.
Rosie Romero Special to the Arizona Daily Star tucson.com
2023-09-02 16:15:00 , "Chloride Arizona" – Vivrr Local