Common Water Problems

When it comes to discovering how your water can be healthier and cleaner, RainSoft specialists help solve and fix your water problems by diagnosing common water problems within your home. From ways to remove chlorine, iron, sulfur, lead and a host of other chemicals our specialists can come up with a solution that addresses any issue you may be having. Water testing ensures that you are getting a RainSoft water system that removes all containments that you might be dealing with, knowingly or unknowingly. Our specialists are trained in dealing with some of the most common water dangers that could threaten your water supply.

Lead - Lead, a metal found in natural deposits, is commonly used in household plumbing materials and water service lines. The greatest exposure to lead is swallowing lead paint chips or breathing in lead dust. But lead in drinking water can also cause a variety of adverse health effects. In babies and children, exposure to lead in drinking water above the action level of lead (0.015 milligram per liter) can result in delays in physical and mental development, along with slight deficits in attention span and learning abilities.

Adults who drink this water over many years could develop kidney problems or high blood pressure. Lead is rarely found in source water, but enters tap water through corrosion of plumbing materials. Very old and poorly maintained homes may be more likely to have lead pipes, joints, and solder. However, new homes are also at risk: pipes legally considered to be “lead-free” may contain up to eight percent lead. These pipes can leach significant amounts of lead in the water for the first several months after their installation.

Chlorine - Disinfection byproducts (DBPs) form when disinfectants used to treat drinking water react with naturally occurring materials in the water. The predominant byproducts that result from use of chlorine as a disinfectant are trihalomethanes (chloroform, bromoform, bromodichloromethane, and dibromochloromethane) and haloacetic acids (monochloro-, dichloro-, trichloro-, monobromo-, dibromo-). Trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs) form when chlorine reacts with organic and inorganic material in source water (which comes from decomposing plant material, pesticides, etc.). The amount of trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids in drinking water can change from day to day, depending on the season, water temperature, amount of chlorine added, the amount of plant material in the water, and a variety of other factors.

Chlorinating tap water is critical to protect the public from disease-causing microorganisms. Drinking water is chlorinated to kill bacteria and viruses that cause serious illnesses and, in some cases, death. Chlorination of drinking water has benefited public health enormously by lowering the rates of infectious diseases (for example, typhoid, hepatitis and cholera) spread through untreated water. In the beginning of the last century tens of thousands of people died from disease-causing microorganisms in the water supply.

EPA has regulated DBPs since 1979 to address health risks posed by a potential association between chlorinated drinking water and cancer. With respect to reproductive and developmental effects, we do not know for sure. Little is known about reproductive and developmental effects and the role of environmental exposures from these disinfection byproducts. However, the evidence available at this time raises concern about a possible link between chlorinated drinking water and reproductive and developmental effects. Although uncertain, this evidence has prompted EPA to begin developing a new drinking water regulation (the Stage 2 Disinfection Byproduct Rule) that will provide an incremental step towards mitigating potential reproductive and developmental risks and further reduce risks from cancer.

Arsenic - Sources of arsenic in drinking water comes from the erosion of natural deposits; runoff from orchards, runoff from glass & electronics production wastes which could result, if ingested through drinking water, could pose potential health risks such as skin damage or problems with circulatory systems, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

Fluoride - Sources of fluoride (a water additive which promotes strong teeth) in drinking water comes from erosion of natural deposits; discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories. Long term exposure could result in bone disease (pain and tenderness of the bones) and children may get mottled teeth.

Trihalomethanes -Trihalomethanes occur when naturally-occurring organic and inorganic materials in the water react with the disinfectants, chlorine and chloramine. Some people who drink water containing total trihalomethanes in excess of the maximum containment level over many years could experience liver, kidney, or central nervous system problems and increased risk of cancer.

Nitrites - Nitrates and nitrites are nitrogen-oxygen chemical units which combine with various organic and inorganic compounds. The greatest use of nitrates is as a fertilizer. Once taken into the body, nitrates are converted to nitrites. Infants below six months who drink water containing nitrate in excess of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue baby syndrome. The major sources of nitrates in drinking water are runoff from fertilizer use; leaking from septic tanks, sewage; and erosion of natural deposits.

Sulfur - Two forms of sulfur are commonly found in drinking water: hydrogen sulfide and sulfate-reducing bacteria. Both forms are nuisances that usually do not pose a health risk at the concentrations found in domestic wells. Hydrogen sulfide gas occurs naturally in some ground water that contains decaying organic matter, such as wetlands, marshes, swamps, river beds. It may be found in deep or shallow wells.

Hydrogen sulfide is often present in wells drilled in shale or sandstone, or near coal or peat deposits or oil fields. The EPA considers sulfur a secondary water contaminant, with no direct threat to human health. Sulfate gives water a bitter taste and can have a laxative effect that may lead to dehydration. Hydrogen sulfide gives water a “rotten egg” odor and taste, and can cause nausea.

Chromium - - Chromium is a metallic element in the periodic table. It is odorless and tasteless. Chromium is found naturally in rocks, plants, soil and volcanic dust, humans and animals. The most common forms of chromium in the environment are trivalent (chromium-3), hexavalent (chromium-6) and the metal form, chromium-0. Chromium-3 occurs naturally in many vegetables, fruits, meats, grains and yeast. Chromium-6 and -0 are generally produced by industrial processes.

Chromium-0 is used mainly for making steel and other alloys. Chromium compounds, in either the chromium-3 or -6 forms are used for chrome plating, dyes and pigments, leather and wood preservation. Chromium-3 is a nutritionally essential element in humans and is often added to vitamins as a dietary supplement. Chromium-3 has relatively low toxicity and would be a concern in drinking water only at very high levels of contamination, unlike chromium-6 and -0, which are more toxic and pose potential health risks to people. Some people who use water containing chromium (total) well in excess of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) over many years could experience allergic dermatitis.

Copper - Copper is a metal found in natural deposits such as ores containing other elements. Copper is widely used in household plumbing materials. Some people who drink water containing copper in excess of the action level may, with short term exposure, experience gastrointestinal distress, and with long-term exposure may experience liver or kidney damage. People with Wilson's Disease should consult their personal doctor if the amount of copper in their water exceeds the action level.

Acid Water - Loss of plant and animal life directly affects people by lessening the food supply and driving up the cost of food. Acidic water may be bad for your teeth, and it may be that it is bad for people because it changes the pH balance in the body and makes it harder for the body to dispose of acid waste products. Scientists are still studying the long-term effects of exposure to acidic water.

Alkaline Water - Alkaline water has a higher pH level than does tap water. Some proponents say that alkaline water can neutralize acid in your bloodstream, boost your energy level and metabolism, and help your body absorb nutrients more effectively. Others say that alkaline water can help you resist disease and slow the aging process. However, researchers haven't verified these claims.

Some research does suggest that alkaline water may slow bone loss, but further study is needed to determine if the positive effects can be maintained over the long term or influence bone mineral density overall.

Calcium - Water described as "hard" is high in dissolved minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium. Hard water is not a health risk, but a nuisance because of mineral buildup on fixtures and poor soap and/or detergent performance.

Hard water interferes with almost every cleaning task from laundering and dishwashing to bathing and personal grooming. Clothes laundered in hard water may look dingy and feel harsh and scratchy. Dishes and glasses may be spotted when dry. Hard water may cause a film on glass shower doors, shower walls, bathtubs, sinks, faucets, etc. Hair washed in hard water may feel sticky and look dull. Water flow may be reduced by deposits in pipes.

Iron and Manganese - Iron and manganese are minerals found in drinking water supplies. These minerals will not harm you, but they may cause reddish-brown or black stains on clothes or household fixtures. Under guidelines for public water supplies set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), iron and mangenese are considered secondary contaminants. Secondary standards apply to substances in water that cause offensive taste, odor, color, corrosion, foaming, or staining but have no direct affect on health.

The presence of iron and manganese in water is not considered health problem. In fact, small concentrations are essential to human health. However, high concentrations of iron may give the water an unpleasant metallic taste while still being safe to drink. When iron combines with tea, coffee, and alcoholic beverages, it produces an unappetizing inky, black appearance and a harsh, offensive taste. Vegetables cooked in iron-contaminated water turn dark and look unappetizing.

Iron bacteria (a harmless bacteria) , occur in soil, groundwater, and some surface waters. Iron bacteria are considered harmless to health, however, they may give water an off taste or color, cause splotchy yellow stains on laundry, and clog water systems. Iron bacteria usually appear as stringy, slimy, mucous-like substances suspended in fresh water and may be colored brown, red, or white. They thrive on iron in the sink or metal parts of the water system and are most easily seen on the inside surface of the toilet tank.

Radium - In the natural environment, radium occurs at very low levels in virtually all rock, soil, water, plants, and animals. When uranium (or thorium) occurs in high levels in rock, radium is often also found in high levels. Radium occurs naturally in the environment. As a decay product of uranium and thorium, it is common in virtually all rock, soil, and water. Usually concentrations are very low. However, geologic processes can form concentrations of naturally radioactive elements, especially uranium and radium. Radium and its salts are soluble in water. As a result, groundwater in areas where concentrations of radium are high in surrounding bedrock typically has relatively high radium content.

Since radium is present at low levels in the natural environment, everyone has some minor exposure to it. However, individuals may be exposed to higher levels of radium if they live in an area where there is an elevated level of radium in the surrounding rock and soil. Private well water in such areas can also be an added source of radium.

The concentration of radium in drinking water is generally low, but there are specific geographic regions in the United States where higher concentrations of radium occur in water due to geologic sources. Limited information is available about the amounts of radium that are typically present in food and air, but they are very low.

People can also be exposed to radium if it is released into the air from the burning of coal or other fuels. Certain occupations can also lead to high exposures to radium, such as working in a uranium mine or in a plant that processes ores. Phosphate rocks typically contain relatively high levels of both uranium and radium and can be a potential source of exposure in areas where phosphate is mined.

Barrium - is a lustrous, machinable metal which exists in nature only in ores containing mixtures of elements. It is used in making a wide variety of electronic components, in metal alloys, bleaches, dyes, fireworks, ceramics and glass. In particular, it is used in well drilling operations where it is directly released into the ground.

Some people who drink water containing barium well in excess of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for many years could experience an increase in their blood pressure.

The major sources of barium in drinking water are discharge of drilling wastes; discharge from metal refineries; and erosion of natural deposits.

A federal law called the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) requires facilities in certain industries, which manufacture, process, or use significant amounts of toxic chemicals, to report annually on their releases of these chemicals.

Silica (SiO2) - is an oxide of silicon, and is present in almost all minerals. It is found in surface and well water in the range of 1 - 100 mg/l. Silica in water is considered to be colloidal in nature because of the way it reacts with adsorbents. A colloid is a gelatinous substance made up of non-diffusible particles that remain suspended in a fluid medium. Silica is objectionable in cooling tower makeup and boiler feed water. Silica evaporates in a boiler at high temperatures and then re-deposits on the turbine blades. These deposits must be periodically removed or damage to the turbine will occur. Silica is not listed in the Primary or the Secondary Drinking Water Standards issued by the US EPA. Furthermore A study which followed subjects for 15 years found the effects of silica in water appeared to decrease the risk of dementia. The study found that for every 10 milligram-per-day intake of silica in drinking water, the risk of dementia dropped by 11%.

Tannins - Tannins are a natural organic material that can be the byproducts of nature’s fermentation process, be created as water passes through peaty soil and decaying vegetation. This can cause water to have a faint yellow to tea-like color, and can cause yellow staining on fabrics, fixtures, china and laundry. Tannins may give a tangy or tart aftertaste to water. They may also cause water to have a musty or earthy odor. Tannins – also known as fulvic or humic acid – are more common in surface water supplies and shallow wells than in deep wells. Water in marshy, low-lying, or coastal areas is also more susceptible to tannins.