Water Filtration

1576025WE OFFER THREE TYPES OF WATER TREATMENT SYSTEMS

There are three types of water treatment systems commonly used in private homes to treat water for a variety of contaminants: water filtration, reverse osmosis and ion exchange. It may be necessary to remove a contaminant because it’s unhealthful to consume. Some examples are arsenic, nitrate and volatile organic compounds. Or you may want to remove something that is simply undesirable because it changes the taste of your water, makes your water hard, or stains your clothing. Iron, manganese, calcium and magnesium are examples of aesthetic contaminants that affect some of these properties of water and that homeowners often seek to remove.


WATER FILTRATION

Water Filtration is the simplest method of treating water. Water is forced through some physical barrier, with larger particles either “sticking” to the media, or they simply can’t fit through the pore spaces in the media and are “trapped”. Activated carbon filters have tremendous surface areas for contaminants to adhere to. They are effective at removing many contaminants that change the taste and odor of water, especially organic compounds. They are also very good at removing some radioactive elements like radon and uranium. Carbon filters are not effective at removing most inorganic compounds and should not be relied upon to remove arsenic, nitrates, or other inorganics. Finally, filters should not be used to remove anything that’s dissolved in water. It was a chemical reaction that caused the contaminants to dissolve, and will likely require a chemical reaction (ion exchange) or filtration at the atomic scale (reverse osmosis) to remove.


ION EXCHANGE

Ion exchange involves the swapping of an undesirable ion in your water with one that has similar chemical properties, but does not have negative effects on water quality. Water softeners are the most common ion exchange systems in use in most homes. Ion exchange systems can also remove iron, manganese, nitrate and if properly designed, arsenic. An ion is any atom or compound that has either a positive (cation) or negative (anion) charge, like the poles on a magnet. A positive ion will be attracted to a negative charge in the same way the “north” pole of a magnet is attracted to the “south” pole of another magnet. The “magnet” in these systems is usually a man made polystyrene resin. The process begins with thousands of resin beads with sodium cations attached. As water passes through the resin beads, cations like iron, manganese, or calcium, knock the sodium cations off and replace them. This is possible because the sodium cations have a weaker charge. After a period of time, the available locations for this exchange to take place start to be used up. At this point the system will “regenerate” itself. A brine solution is washed over the resin beads and the billions of sodium cations in the solution force themselves back into place, removing the iron, calcium, or other cations, and flushing them into a septic system or sewer.


REVERSE OSMOSIS

The most cost-effective method for removing arsenic and many other inorganic and organic compounds from a domestic water supply appears to be reverse osmosis (RO). RO can be loosely thought of as atomic scale filtration. It works by squeezing water through a special membrane. The membrane has microscopic holes, which are specially sized to allow relatively small water molecules to pass through, while trapping larger inorganic elements like lead, iron, chromium, and arsenic or organic compounds. Studies have shown RO to be up to 95% effective at removing the most common form of arsenic routinely found in Maine well water. RO requires very little regular maintenance, no chemical addition, is very reliable, and installation is fairly straightforward. The RO system most homeowners have installed is a point of use system, designed to treat only a small amount of water daily. It is usually located near the kitchen sink, and is capable of producing two or three gallons of treated water per day. It consists of a particulate pre-filter which removes sand and grit, the membrane where the reverse osmosis occurs, and an activated carbon polishing filter to aid in taste and odor control. Treated water is stored in a small tank, and is accessed through a faucet located next to the regular kitchen faucet.

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Recent Projects

PROBLEM: Customer contacted us with bluish-green staining and developing pin holes in their piping.
SOLUTION: Upon conducting a water test, determined PH level to be low, causing the issues. Installed a PH neutralizer to raise the level.
LOCATION: Windham, ME

IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM, WE’LL SOLVE IT.

PROBLEM: Customer was complaining about foul smell in the water.
SOLUTION: Upon testing, discovered the water to contain sulfur. Installed a nitro system to eliminate the sulfur.
LOCATION: North Yarmouth, ME

PROBLEM: Customer was complaining about staining.
SOLUTION: After testing the water discovered high iron. Installed a backwashing nitro system to eliminate iron, manganese, and sediment.
LOCATION: Yarmouth, ME

WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS ARE SAYING

I had called a-z because my water heater sounded louder than normal. Thinking that I may need a new tank I was a little nervous. Carl came the very next day and come to find out that all it needed was some air in the tank. He explained everything he was doing, and why which I thought to be very useful and showed how knowledgeable he was as well as his passion for his work. He put some air in my tank with his compressor, and the tank was running great! I will call him if I had any future issues because he was honest, reliable, prompt and knew his stuff. Thanks a-z!!
Anonymous
We needed a new well at our summer cottage in Casco to replace an old dug well. We called A-Z Water Systems. Carl was very conscientious about every aspect of the job. Carl’s professionalism and knowledge can’t be beat. We are completely satisfied and would recommend this company to anyone.
Paul and Kathy Mozzochi
If you need work done on your well or pump, this is the company for you. Carl called me back right away, came to my home quickly, did a great job and explained everything he was doing. The price for all the work he did was very fair, and he just seems like a really decent guy. Highly recommend.
Jamie Andrews, Cumberland, Me.
I had called Carl at A-Z water system after my ‘regular plumber” was unable to assist me with my plumbing issue. Carl was great, he promptly returned my phone call and was at my home within an hour. My plumbing issue was resolved in no time and the cost was reasonable in comparison to other estimates I had received. Carl appeared very knowledgeable of his trade and his professionalism was superb! I am confident in saying I will be calling A-Z water system for any future water/plumbing related problems. Thanks again A-Z water system.
Anonymous
When my water stopped working I figured I’d need a new pump for the well. Carl drove over an hour to my house to check it out and figured out it was some wires in the well that needed fixing and the pump was fine. He could have easily charged me for a new pump and I would have never known the difference. Instead he was honest, fixed the problem, and charged me for a service call. I will definitely be calling him again if there’s a next time. Thanks A-Z!
K. CARR, ANDOVER, MAINE

WATER CONCERNS

GERMS LIMIT CAN CAUSE
Coliform bacteria 0 Diarrhea and vomiting
Nitrate Nitrogene 10 mg/l or less Infant Blood Problems
Nitrite Nitrogene 1 mg/or less Infant Blood Problems
CHEMICALS LIMIT CAN CAUSE
Arsenic 10 ug/l or less Cancer/ Low birth weight
Radon 4000 pCi/l or less Cancer
Uranium 20 ug/or less Kidney Problems
MINERALS LIMIT CAN CAUSE
Iron .30 mg/l See more here
Maganese .05 mg/l See more here
Hardness 75 mg/l See more here
PH Levels 6.5 – 7.5 See more here
Copper 1.3 mg/l See more here
Sodium 100 mg/l See more here

IRON & 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 manganese 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 standard Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level (SMCL) for iron is 0.3 milligrams per liter (mg/L or ppm) and 0.05 mg/L for manganese. Private water supplies are not subject to federal standards, but these standards can be used as guidelines to evaluate the quality of water from wells or springs. The four forms of iron and manganese commonly found in drinking water are ferrous, ferric, organic and iron bacteria. Normally, water appears clear when first drawn from the cold water faucet. If yours is not, it may contain ferric iron or organic iron. Both color the water. Ferric iron precipitates or settles out. Organic iron does not settle out. In well water, insoluble iron oxide is converted to a soluble form of ferrous (dissolved) iron. Ferrous iron is colorless, but when in contact with air, it oxidizes readily, creating reddish- brown, solid particles that then settle out as ferric oxide. Manganese is similar to iron but forms a brownish-black precipitate and stains. Manganese is less commonly found in groundwater than iron, rarely found alone in a water source, and generally found with dissolved iron.

Health Considerations

The presence of iron and manganese in water is not considered a 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.

HARDNESS

Hard water interferes with almost every cleaning task from laundering and dish washing 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.

Dealing with hard water problems in the home can be a nuisance. The amount of hardness minerals in water affects the amount of soap and detergent necessary for cleaning. Soap used in hard water combines with the minerals to form a sticky soap curd. Some synthetic detergents are less effective in hard water because the active ingredient is partially inactivated by hardness, even though it stays dissolved. Bathing with soap in hard water leaves a film of sticky soap curd on the skin. The film may prevent removal of soil and bacteria. Soap curd interferes with the return of skin to its normal, slightly acid condition, and may lead to irritation. Soap curd on hair may make it dull, lifeless and difficult to manage.

When doing laundry in hard water, soap curds lodge in fabric during washing to make fabric stiff and rough. Incomplete soil removal from laundry causes graying of white fabric and the loss of brightness in colors. A sour odor can develop in clothes. Continuous laundering in hard water can shorten the life of clothes. In addition, soap curds can deposit on dishes, bathtubs and showers, and all water fixtures.

Hard water also contributes to inefficient and costly operation of water-using appliances. Heated hard water forms a scale of calcium and magnesium minerals that can contribute to the inefficient operation or failure of water-using appliances. Pipes can become clogged with scales that reduces water flow and ultimately requires pipe replacement.

PH LEVELS

For piping systems fed by water from a private well, one of the most common causes of corrosion is low pH. A low pH is water with a pH of less than 7.0 pH. Signs of acidic water are corrosion of fixtures, pinhole leaks, blue staining (from copper pipes) or rust staining (from iron pipes).

Common causes for acidic water are acid rainfall due to atmospheric carbon dioxide and other airborne pollutants, runoff from mining spoils, and decomposition of plant materials. Acidic waters can be high quality and are typically low in buffering calcium minerals, but are high in dissolved carbon-dioxide gas, which can cause the low pH or acidity.

Treatment is accomplished by neutralizing the water with the use of an automatic calcite neutralizer. These water filter tanks are filled with a blend of calcium and magnesium carbonates made from naturally occurring minerals, which dissolve into the water, making it less corrosive. Calcite is a white granular mineral that adds calcium to the water raising the pH and increasing the alkalinity. Periodically, (once or twice a year for a typical residential application) more mineral is added to the filter tank.

In some cases, instead of dissolved carbon dioxide causing the low pH or acidity, the acidity is caused by mineral acids, either natural or from mining or other industrial wastes. Often the pH is very low, less than 5.0. Treating this type of water requires injection of soda ash or sodium hydroxide with a metering pump, and generally, the neutralizing type mineral filters described above will not work well on this type of water.