What is the difference between treated water, filtered water and purified water?
Three different levels in reduction of contaminates as a simple answer.
Treatment generally would be the introduction of chemicals into the water (chlorination) for disinfection and or/ settling the water and separating suspended solids from the water.
Filtration involves passing the water thru a media or membrane to catch dissolved and un-dissolved solids from the water.
Purification is commonly accomplished via distillation or reverse osmosis and involves removing total dissolved solids from the water. This includes anything present in water other than the pure water (H20) molecules.
Carbon Filter Questions
Is there any maintenance required for my carbon filter?
No, Whole House Activated Carbon Filter systems clean themselves or “Regenerate” every night to keep the carbon working at peak efficiency. Keeping the carbon clean ensures a long service life for the filter. This is done automatically. As long as the filter has power it takes care of itself.
How often does the carbon need to be replaced?
The activated carbon will require replacement or “re-bedding” at the end of their life cycle from between 5 to 10 years based on the water supply’s chlorine level and usage. The valve on these filters should be checked and serviced after the first 2 years of service to ensure efficient operation.
Do Carbon Filters remove Fluoride from the water?
No, only an Reverse Osmosis purification systems can remove Fluoride from the drinking water for in home use.
Water Softener Questions
How can I tell if I have hard water?
Water hardness is demonstrated by scale in water heaters or on plumbing fixtures, by soap deposits on dishes and fabrics, sinks and bathtubs. Simple in home water tests can determine the level of hardness in your water. Or just take a look at your shower glass.
What is water hardness?
Water ‘hardness’ is caused by the minerals calcium and magnesium in ground and surface water. If either or both minerals are present in your drinking water in high concentrations, the water is considered ‘hard.’ These minerals come from sedimentary rock such as limestone that dissolves into our water. Here in Florida, the rock surrounding the our aquifer contains large amounts of limestone that translates into a high mineral content to most water sources within the state.
What is softened water?
Softened water is water that has had the minerals( hardness) removed by filtration or “softening” of the water.
How does a water softener work?
The water softener is a tank filled with resin beads that capture or filter the calcium and magnesium (hardness) minerals in the water. Eventually the resin becomes saturated with minerals and needs to be cleaned or “regenerated”. Think of your A/C filter in your home, if you pulled it out and vacuumed or cleaned it each week, it would last a very long time. Cleaning the filter resin has the same effect. By forcing a brine solution thru the media during the regeneration cycle, the resin is cleaned of the captured minerals and ready to go back to work.
This process happens automatically on a regular schedule or whenever water demand dictates. Once the regeneration is completed, the salt and water solution is flushed into the drain. This process uses about as much water as it takes to wash a load of laundry.
Should I be concerned about sodium in water?
All municipal and well water supplies contain some naturally occurring sodium. The softening process increases the level of sodium a very small amount.
For the sake of comparison, one slice of white bread contains about 114 mg of sodium, and an eight ounce glass of milk contains 120 mg of sodium. If your water contains 10 grain per gallon (GPG), and if you consumed a total of one quart of softened water a day, your intake of additional sodium would be 75 mg – less than either a slice of bread or a glass of milk. Persons on sodium-restricted diet must follow their Physicians instructions and this usually precludes consuming any non-purified water.
How often is my softener supposed to regenerate?
The softener regenerates based on the configuration of the unit, your water hardness level, total water usage and the physical size of the softener. This can be anywhere from daily to weekly depending on the above parameters.
How much salt will my softener use?
Residential softening systems require monthly/ bi-monthly replenishment of the salt in the brine tank, usually from two to six, 60 pound bags of salt depending filter size, demand and water quality. Large demand residential systems will have a greater salt usage, again, depending filter size, demand and water quality .
What type of long term maintenance is required?
Whole House Soft Water Filtration System systems contain filtration softening resin or media that will require replacement or “re-bedding” at the end of their life cycle. This life cycle varies based on the media type and usage from 5 to 10 years. The valve on these filters should be checked and serviced after the first 2 years of service to ensure efficient operation.
What about " Salt Free" water softeners?
In a word, no.
Will there be a point in time when the technology exists where residential water can be softened economically and safely, without resins requiring salt for regeneration,? Absolutely. Are we there yet? Not as of today.
The National Water Quality Association defines, soft water as follows: Softened water is that which contains less than one grain per gallon (gpg) of hardness ions (< 17.1 ppm as CaCO3). Any water conditioning device that is effective in reducing the water hardness to less than one gpg is, therefore, a softener. Any water conditioning device that does not reduce the hardness of the feed water to < 1.0 gpg cannot be called a softener, and the water it produces cannot be called soft water.
In fact, nearly every definition of “soft water” or “water softener” involves a device that “substantially reduces hardness.” Since “Saltless” or “Salt Free” water softeners do not substantially reduce hardness, they would be more correctly classified as a whole house filter or conditioner, not a softener. Some companies are deliberately misleading when they call their device a “Salt free water softener“, instead of a “Salt free water conditioner “. (“Softening Alternatives, C.F. Michaud, CE, CWS-VI, January 2011)
The “salt free water softener” idea was formed years ago in response to a ban on brine discharge water from softeners in some cities and townships in California. Almost overnight, ” Salt Free softeners ” appeared in the marketplace. Restrictions on discharge into septic system in other states and cities came about over the next few years createing other markets for these filters.
In 2002, the EPA released report SIFS-8 , Onsite Wastewater Treatment, Special Issues Fact Sheet -3 Water Softeners”. The summery of the findings were as follows;
National Sanitation Foundation conclude that the wastewater effluent generated from properly operating and maintained water softeners will not harm onsite systems that are designed, operated, and maintained appropriately. Specifically, the studies conclude the following:
- High concentrations of calcium and manganese in the softener backwash water have no deleterious effect on the biological functions occurring in the septic tank and may, in some cases, be helpful.
- The additional volume of wastewater generated (typically about 50 gallons per recharge cycle) is added slowly to the wastewater stream and does not cause any hydraulic overload problems.
- Soil structure in the soil absorption field is positively affected by the calcium and mangnesium ions in water softener effluent (Corey et al., 1977).*
This refuted the basis for the bans on water softener discharge. Subsequently, the proposed bill in the CA legislature failed in 2009, leaving the salt free softener companies fighting to remain relevant by flooding the internet with questionable information and facts.
As a simple barometer of where water treatment technology has advanced to date, let’s take a look at WKG commercial customers requiring softened water. We service large-use clients such as restaurants, hotels and large capacity resorts. All of these require softened water for their operations for various reasons. The salt consumption to keep their soft water filters on-line can range from 800 pounds to over 4500 pounds of salt each month. This begs the question, why would they continue to absorb the cost of this if a viable alternative existed? They would not.
Fact is that their water cannot be treated in any other way to maintain the hardness levels of below 1 GPG. They cannot be swayed by marketing , websites or sales pitches. Cost and effective results are the only factors in their choice of how the water supply to their facilities is treated.
As some point, cost effective salt free water softening will be available, and WKG will be ready to embrace the technology and offer it to our customers. We’re not there yet.
Well Water Questions
How does a ground water well work?
Basically, a well is a hole drilled into the aquifer. Almost all water for residential use in Florida is from ground water wells. Municipalities use large wells to supply water to their treatment plants and homes in rural area use smaller private use wells for their water supply.
Ground water wells are drilled into the natural rock or limestone formation to reach ground water for private use applications. These are constructed by driving a 4” casing or pipe into the ground until solid rock or limestone is reached. The casing has a “foot” or reinforced collar that is seated into the rock. Once properly seated, a drill is used to bore a hole through the rock to reach the water in the aquifer below. After drilling, the ground water will rise into the casing and settle somewhere between 10 to 30 foot below ground level. A submersible pump is then attached to a drop pipe lowered into the casing and submerged in the water column to pump the water to the surface. Ground water wells here in Central Florida depth ranges from 100 to 500 feet with the average around 120 to 280 feet.
Is well water safe to drink?
As a general rule, yes. Water from the aquifer is some of the cleanest water available from a natural source.
An aquifer is a body of saturated rock underground through which water can easily move. An aquifer is filled with moving water and the amount of water in storage in the aquifer can vary from season to season and year to year. Aquifers are natural filters that trap sediment and other particles (like bacteria) and provide natural purification of the ground water flowing through them. Water temperature movement and the lack of sunlight create conditions unfavorable to the growth of biological matter.
Despite natural purification, concentrations of some elements in ground water can be high in instances where the rocks and minerals of an aquifer contribute high concentrations of certain elements. In some cases, such as iron staining, health impacts due to high concentrations of dissolved iron are not a problem as much as the aesthetic quality of the drinking water supply. In other cases, where elements such as fluoride, uranium, or arsenic occur naturally in high concentrations, human health may be affected.
Here in Florida, as is the case in most states, the Florida Dept Of Health samples every new well to test for contaminates and coliform bacteria. Any areas with ground contamination that may affect the well is marked as a “Delineated” area and special procedures, testing and well construction is required. Outside of those areas, a water test is done by the FDH on completion of the well to ensure no harmful contaminates are resident in the water.
A shorter answer is that people in Florida have been drinking un-treated well water for years. Cases of harmful health effects from consumption of un-treated well water are extremely rare. According to the FDH, there are over 794,000 private wells in use within Florida and less than .01% have tested positive for any potential harmful contaminates.
What is in my well water?
As groundwater moves through the ground, it dissolves some of the minerals that it comes in contact with. Within the Floridian Aquifer, the most common contaminates are calcium, magnesium, ferrous iron, tannin and hydrogen sulfide. Tannins comes from the decay of organic matter such as vegetation. Hydrogen sulfide can come from organic matter or chemical reactions with some sulfur-containing minerals in the soil and rock that naturally create hydrogen sulfide gas in groundwater. Wells have varying levels of all of these depending on the aquifer content in that area. Coastal areas and some limited inland areas in Florida can have salt water intrusion into the aquifer.
How do I treat my well water?
There are many options for the treatment of ground water, the most common being chlorination, filtration and reverse osmosis purification. Determining what method is right for you requires water testing and an on-site consultation from a water treatment professional.
Reverse Osmosis Questions
How does Reverse Osmosis work?
Employed as a POU (Point of use) system, the RO filters are installed usually under the kitchen sink along with a storage tank and a special tap install at the sink for dispensing the water. Water pressure from a household water supply forces water through a special semi permeable membrane. This removes anything present in water other than the pure water (H20) molecules. The removed contaminates along with the waste water is then disposed into the sink drain. The purified water is routed into a small pressurized holding tank to allow on-demand dispensing at the tap.
Does it require electricity?
No, ROs uses water pressure only to work.
How much purified water is available?
ROs make water very slowly, about a gallon per hour. You will have around 1 gallon available from the storage tank at any one time. The TFC membrane in the WKG RO is rated a 25 gallons per day production at 60 psi water pressure.
Can RO water be supplied to my refrigerator/ icemaker?
Yes, if the water supply to the unit is sourced under the sink or the house was plumbed with this in mind.