Water Quality Fact Sheet
Elkhorn Drinking Water Quality Report
Water Filters and Home Treatment Devices
Lead & Copper Public Education
ACWWA utilizes ground water for its drinking water supplies. Ground water comes from shallow (alluvial) and deep aquifer wells. Certain characteristics are common and are associated with ground water sources that can lead to complaints. Ground water contains several natural occurring minerals. These minerals affect the aesthetic (not a health concern) quality of the water. These minerals can affect the color, odor and clarity of the drinking water.
The drinking water that ACWWA provides has been tested and continues to be routinely tested for compliance with all drinking water regulations. ACWWA’s water meets or exceeds all drinking water standards both primary and secondary. A Consumer Confidence Report that identifies all the testing results are made available to our customers in June of each year..
Common Complaint Causes and Solutions
Spotting and Residue
White residue buildup and white spots are generally caused by the deposition of calcium and calcium compounds. Calcium is prevalent in the alluvial well water sources. Calcium is a naturally occurring mineral that is very abundant in the earth’s surface. It is commonly leached into the water as it travels through the alluvial sands. Calcium compounds contribute to “hard” water. Hard water characteristically leaves deposits of a white residue on glassware and other surfaces especially, dishwashers. The results of tests for hard water are expressed as total dissolved solids (TDS) in milligrams per liter (mg/L) or as grains per gallon (gpg). ACWWA’s water generally has a TDS of 450 mg/L and 14.5 gpg. Although this is considered very hard water, it is lower than the Secondary Drinking Water Standard of 500 mg/L of TDS.
Several things may be done to minimize the spotting and residue:
- Discontinue and stop using the “Sanitizing” (high heat) cycle of the dishwasher
- Change dishwashing detergent to Lemi Shine or Dishwasher Magic
Color or Staining Well water contains varying amounts of iron and manganese. These minerals are naturally occurring in the earth’s crust. These minerals are leached and become dissolved in the water as it percolates into the soil. When dissolved iron is oxidized it changes from nearly colorless to varying shades of red. The color of the water that contains oxidized iron can appear faint yellow to extreme dark red almost brown. Dissolved iron can be oxidized due to turbulence from pumping, turbulence in the distribution system or by chemical additions such as chlorine. Chlorine is added as a requirement by federal drinking water regulations so some oxidation does occur.
ACWWA adds a sequestering agent to the water supply to help alleviate immediate oxidation of dissolved iron. The ability of the chemical addition to sequester iron is diminished over time.
Discolored water has to be removed from the system by flushing. Flushing expels the iron sediment that has accumulated in the piping. This is only effective in the specific location of the complaint and may require subsequent and periodic flushing in the future.
The use of oxidizing cleaners especially those containing chlorine can actually cause staining of clothes in the laundry. Chlorine free laundry detergents are recommended. Several retail products such as CLR and Lime Away help remove iron deposits from most surfaces. Vinegar can also be used to remove and soften these deposits. Mueratic Acid can be used to remove iron stains from concrete.
Odor Groundwater sources contain varying amounts of sulfates. Sulfates are naturally occurring in the limestone formations found primarily in deep wells. Water leaches sulfates as it percolates into the ground.
Sulfates can be converted to sulfides when oxidized. Oxidation can occur due to chemicals, water turbulence or bacterial metabolic processes. Hydrogen sulfide gas is the “rotten egg” odor most commonly experienced in home hot water systems.
The metabolic processes in home hot water systems can be rendered minimal and inconsequential by:
- Turning up the hot water heater thermostat to the “high” setting
- Maintaining the temperature at the high setting for a minimum of 6 hours
- Opening the “hot” water faucet (to drain the hot water tank) and allow the water to run until it is “cold”