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Inorganics & Physical Factors

ALKALINITY refers to the capability of water to neutralize acids. Natural surface and well waters usually contain less alkalinity than sewage and wastewater. Most drinking water has an alkalinity ranging from 10 to 500 mg/l. High levels of alkalinity indicate the presence of strongly alkaline industrial waste. The presence of carbonates, bicarbonates and hydroxide are the most commons causes of alkalinity in natural waters.

(Cl) CHLORIDE (MCL=250 mg/l) is present in water, usually as a metallic salt. When sodium is present in drinking water, chloride concentrations in excess of 250 mg/l give a salty taste. If the chloride is present as calcium or magnesium salt, the taste detection level may be as high as 1000 mg/l. Chloride in water can be a residual of chlorine and has been attributed to use of salt to de-ice roads. Other sources of chloride in ground water may be related to seawater trapped in sediments. High levels are not known to have toxic effects on man but can contribute to corrosion of plumbing and may be accompanied by high sodium levels, which may be a health concern.

Recommended Treatment: Reverse Osmosis

(F) FLUORIDE (MCL=4 mg/l) is naturally occurring and may be added to municipal water systems. At a level of 1 mg/l, it has been shown to be effective in reducing dental cavities. Levels over 2 mg/l may cause mottling of teeth in normal individuals living in a temperate climate. Federal law requires a community well system to notify users when monitoring indicates fluoride levels exceed 2 mg/l. Your family dentist should be informed.

Recommended Treatment: Distillation, Reverse Osmosis, or Activated Alumina

(NO3) NITRATE (MCL-10 mg/l) & (NO2) NITRITE (MCL=1 mg/l) occur naturally, however the major sources in drinking water include fertilizer, sewage and feedlots. These can cause methemoglobinemia (blue baby syndrome). Notifying your babyís pediatrician of these levels is advisable.

Recommended Treatment: Distillation, Reverse Osmosis or Ion Exchange Systems

(SO4) SULFATE (MCL=250 mg/l) is found in most natural waters. It may enter through waste discharges and indicate septic leaching into the water supply. Sulfate presence can cause a pungent odor and taste in drinking water and may have a laxative effect.

Recommended Treatment: Aeration and Filtration, Chlorination and Filtration, Distillation, or Reverse Osmosis

HARDNESS is usually caused by presence of calcium and magnesium in water. They can combine with soap to form a scum on water and a ring around the tub. You may find larger amounts of soap are required to form washing suds. To convert mg/l to grains per gallon, divide by 17.1.

Recommended Treatment: Water Softener

pH is the measure of the hydrogen ion content of water. The suggested level is a range of 6.5 - 8.5. A value of 7 is neutral. Values lower than 7 are called "acidic", and values above 7 are called "basic". Acidic water can be corrosive to plumbing which can increase the amount of toxic metals leaching into the water. Drinking water with a high pH by itself is not necessarily a problem, although the underlying cause may be a health concern.

Recommended Treatment for low pH: Neutralizing Chemical Filter, "Soda Ash" Feed, or Limestone Tank

(TDS) TOTAL DISSOLVED SOLIDS (MCL=500 mg/l) values are a measure of the amount of solids dissolved in your water.

Recommended Treatment: Distillation or Reverse Osmosis

TURBIDITY (MCL=1 Tubidity Unit) in water is caused by suspended matter, such as clay, silt, fine particles, and microscopic organisms. A turbid sample may not appear clear to the naked eye.

Recommended Treatment: Distillation, Reverse Osmosis, or Cartridge Filtration


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