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REVISITING WATER HARDNESS IN THE HIDEOUT

RS&W provides safe drinking water to the Hideout Community, via 5 wells that are treated for disinfection and pumped into a Central Distribution System. Each well being fed by natural groundwater aquifers, has a varying degree of natural hardness. Our South Well on Lakeview Dr East registers the hardest water. Homes around this well may experience more build-up than other areas, due to their closer proximity to this well. None of the levels of natural hardness are dangerous in your drinking water.          Below is an explanation of common hard water issues and remedies:

The Hideout water supply typically falls in the moderately hard range and is considered normal and balanced by water quality parameters. The supply is under the jurisdiction of the state and meets all standards. Samples are routinely taken from selected points at the sources, and throughout the distribution system for chemical and bacteriological analysis.

WHAT IS HARD WATER?

Hardness is due, principally, to calcium and magnesium ions that occur naturally in all surface and ground water. While rain or snow picks up slight amounts of impurities, such as dust, smoke, bacteria, and gases from the air, it is still almost pure H2O with zero hardness. However, when rain or snow comes in contact with the earth, soluble minerals present in the earth’s crust (calcium and magnesium) are dissolved and go into solution to make the water hard. The more calcium and magnesium present, the greater the hardness.

IS SOFT WATER MORE BENEFICIAL THAN HARD WATER?

Calcium and magnesium minerals, which cause hardness in water, are found in many foods. Health authorities agree that the small amounts of these minerals found in most water supplies have little or no detrimental effect on human health. Some studies have even suggested that drinking hard water offers some cardiovascular health benefits, but they have not been deemed conclusive, and there is no “recommended hardness” for human consumption.

IRONS AND BATTERIES

The manufacturers of some steam irons state that the water used in the irons should not exceed a certain hardness or should not contain more than a specified number of total solids. It is obvious that there will be a tendency for minerals to deposit in an iron when the water is evaporated to form steam. These deposits reduce the efficiency of the iron. Even very soft waters can leave deposits in a steam iron. Manufacturers of lead/acid batteries such as those used in vehicles warn that “topping off” the cells with tap water can reduce battery life and performance since the minerals present may affect the battery chemistry. For these reasons, distilled water, which may be purchased by the consumer, will extend the life of both steam irons and batteries.

SOAP AND WATER

When soap is added to hard water a chemical reaction takes place between the soap and the hardness-causing chemicals (calcium and magnesium). In this reaction the hardness of the water is neutralized so that a lather can be formed. Soap and the hardness – causing chemicals, when combined, form sticky, solid particles, which can be seen floating in the water. Some of these particles attach themselves to the sides of bathtubs and washing machines and cling to clothes. The harder the water, the more likely it is to form these deposits, particularly with certain types of soap. Today, detergents or cleaning agents that counteract the hardness in the water without forming solid particles are used. If these detergents are used instead of soap, the particles will not be formed. However, there are reports that some people are allergic to these detergents and experience excessive dryness of the skin after using detergents in the bath, laundry, and kitchen.

CLEANING AND REMOVING LIMESCALE

Whenever water containing hardness minerals is heated or allowed to evaporate, the minerals can precipitate out of the water to form chalky white deposits called limescale. Deposits on faucets and fixtures in shower and bathtub areas can be removed easily using commonly available cleaners that are specially formulated for this particular purpose. Deposits in coffee makers, electric kettles, and other similar appliances can usually be removed by filling them with a cleaning solution which typically contains an acid such as vinegar or citric acid. Make sure to consult the appliance manufacturer’s information for specific recommendations on cleaning and maintenance procedures since some espresso makers caution against the use of vinegar.

WATER SOFTENING

If water of minimal hardness is desired, a water softener can be installed in the home. The softener consists of a tank filled with a mineral (zeolite), which will remove calcium and magnesium from the water and replace them with sodium. This fact should be brought to the attention of consumer family members who may be on a low sodium diet. They may wish to consult with their physician on this point. Softened waters tend to be more corrosive than waters with some hardness and may, therefore, cause corrosion to the household plumbing system.

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