LOW pH WATER
Water pH level reflects how acidic or alkaline it is. pH stands for “potential of hydrogen,” referring to the amount of hydrogen found in a substance (in this case, water). pH is measured on a scale that runs from 0 to 14. Seven is considered neutral, meaning there is a balance between acid and alkalinity. A measurement below 7 means acid is present and a measurement above 7 is basic (or alkaline). Low pH is a common phenomenon in New England’s water supply.
Acidic water can leach metals from pipes and fixtures, such as copper, lead and zinc. It can also damage metal pipes and cause aesthetic problems, such as a metallic or sour taste, laundry staining or blue green staining (from dissolved copper) in sinks and drains Water with a low pH may contain other metals in addition to the before-mentioned copper, lead and zinc.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not regulate the pH level in drinking water. It is classified as a secondary drinking water contaminant whose impact is considered aesthetic, even though the results of water with a low pH can be devastating to the water quality once it reaches a home. However, the EPA recommends that public water systems maintain pH levels of between 6.5 and 8.5, which is a good guide for individual well owners.
TREATMENT FOR LOW pH WATER
If your water is acidic (low pH), you can use a neutralizing filter containing calcite or ground limestone (calcium carbonate) or magnesia (magnesium oxide) to raise the pH. Neutralizing filters must be backwashed periodically since they serve as mechanical filters to remove solid particles from the water.
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