Water quality tips

January 10, 2017

Water quality impacts equipment performance and maintenance—not to mention the taste of beverages and foods. No matter what role you hold in the foodservice industry, knowing what’s going on with your H20 can go a long way. To help answer your water quality questions, we’ve compiled a handy guide of water resources below.

Hard Water Overview and Scale

Water is described as “hard” when it’s high in dissolved minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium. While hard water doesn’t pose a health risk, it can be quite problematic for foodservice equipment due to mineral buildup or poor soak/detergent performance. Learn more about the effects of hard water and how to test your water quality.

Hardness of Water Converter

The hardness of water is a measure for the content of calcium and magnesium present in water. It’s calculated by converting the level of calcium (Ca2+, CaO and CaCO3) and the level of magnesium (Mg2+) present into a degree of hardness (°e), which can be easily done using this conversion tool. Once you have both those numbers, you can add them together to equal your total hardness of water.

Understanding pH Levels

Did you know that the pH level of your water can impact equipment, piping and even fixtures? The normal (and ideal) range for pH in surface water systems is 6.5 to 8.5 and for ground water systems 6 to 8.5. That’s because water with a pH < 6.5 is considered acidic, soft and corrosive, and a pH > 8.5 is considered “hard.” Read more about how to find the right balance of pH in your water.

Causes of Corrosion

Corrosion is a complex series of reactions between the water and metal surfaces and the materials in which the water is stored or transported. The main concern and reason for understanding what causes corrosion is because of the potential for the presence of elevated levels of lead and copper in the water is—which can have harmful effects on drinking water and machinery. Learn more about the source and causes of corrosion today.

State Certification Officers for Drinking Water Laboratories

If you want to know what contaminants are in your drinking water, check your annual water quality report from your water supplier or call the water supplier directly. If you want to have additional tests on your water, EPA recommends that you use a laboratory certified by the state. Call the state certification officer or view this list of labs.

Total Dissolved Solids

Water is a good solvent that can pick up things like total dissolved solids (TDS) easily. TDS includes minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium and so forth along with organic matter too. Elevated TDS can result in a bitter or salty taste as well as discoloration, residue or corrosion of fixtures and reduced efficiency of water filters. Learn more about testing your water for TDS.

Water Quality Issues

Trying to diagnose water problems, possible causes and potential treatments can be a daunting task—but that’s where the Water Quality Association comes in to help. This guide on perceptible water quality issues helps you run a quick diagnostics by using your very own senses. From the color of the water to how it tastes, learn what to symptoms to check for with your water.

Water Quality Reports

Each year by July 1, your water supplier should send an annual water quality report (also known as a Consumer Confidence Report) that tells you where your water comes from and what’s in it. Learn more about how to find your local report or see frequently asked questions.

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