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Treating Water

About Water


There are four broad classes of water contaminants -- heavy metals, organics, inorganic compounds and bacteria. Identifying which are affecting the quality of your drinking water is the first step in deciding which type of home water treatment or conditioning system is best for your situation. Having your water tested will help in confirming the contaminants.

The Problem:

In today's market there are many purveyors of water and water processing products.  We know, our water quality business was founded after visiting more than twelve vendors of water processing equipment where we were given ten different solutions! 

It is our policy to assist you to make informed decisions, providing you with the information for you to measure the pro's and con's of the water processing products available to solve your problem. 

For example, when we were researching distillers, not a single retail vendor of distillation equipment discussed the amount of maintenance required nor the heat generated by this equipment!  Think about cost of electricity and heat  generated by boiling a kettle in your kitchen 7/24 - 365. This is in fact what a water distiller does.  This does not mean distillers are bad, they may in fact be the best solution for a water quality problem at your home , cottage or business but you should know what you're buying and understand maintenance requirements and operational costs before you make the investment.


Throughout our web pages we make reference to the following terms, when in doubt refer back to this page: 

Water treatment refers to systems that reduce harmful contaminants in the water; therefore, deal with health and safety issues of the water. High levels of coliform, nitrates, arsenic, lead, and pesticides are examples of harmful contaminants that must be treated before water is safe to drink. 

Water conditioning refers to water problems that effect water taste, color, odor, hardness, and corrosivity rather than health and safety. The presence of high levels of magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, and silt are common contaminants that require water conditioning.  Frequently both treatment and conditioning are both used to improve water quality.

Inorganics. These contaminants include toxic metals like arsenic, barium, chromium, lead, mercury, and silver. These metals can get into your drinking water from natural sources, industrial processes, and the materials used in your plumbing system. Toxic metals are regulated in public water supplies because they can cause acute poisoning, cancer, and other health effects.

Organics. The term "organics" within these web pages mean compounds that have the element carbon as a principal constituent. Organic compounds can be of many types and can have many origins.  Some organics called lignins or tannins found in drinking water can be caused by the decay of naturally occurring vegetation.  

A much larger group of organic contaminants are the thousands of manmade organic contaminants that can be grouped into subcategories that are often more recognized than the actual chemical name. These subcategories are:


Sub Category


Industrial solvents

carbon tetrachloride, trichloroethylene (TCE), 


benzene, styrene, toluene, Trihalomthanes (THMs), vinyl chloride, xylene,

Pesticides and fungicides

aldicarb, chlordane

Herbicides and insecticides

alachor, silvex

Possible chronic health effects include cancer, central nervous system disorders, liver and kidney damage, reproductive disorders, and birth defects.

Coliform are used within water testing as an "Indicator" bacteria. The presence of coliform bacteria, which itself is generally a harmless bacteria, may indicate other contamination to the drinking water system

Microbial Pathogens. Pathogens in drinking water are serious health risks. Pathogens are disease producing microorganisms, which include bacteria (such as Giardia Lamblia), viruses, and parasites. They get into drinking water when the water source is contaminated by sewage and animal waste, or when wells are improperly sealed and constructed. They can cause gastroenteritis, salmonella infection, dysentery, shigellosis, hepatitis, and giardiasis (a gastrointestinal infection causing diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and gas - also known as "Beaver Fever").


Categorizing Hardness:  (divide by 17.2 to get grains per gallon)


Measurements  as CaC03

Sanitary Engineers

Water Conditioning


US Department of Interior

soft water 
slightly hard water
moderately hard water
very hard water

0-75 mg/L

76 to 150
151 to 300
301 and up

0-50 mg/L 

151 and up 

0 17 mg/L
17 60
60 120
120 180
Above 180

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Last modified: January 12, 2023