Utah’s Hard Water Problem
What exactly is hard water? The term “hard water” refers to water that is high in mineral content while “soft water” refers to water that has less than one grain per gallon (gpg). The level of hardness of Utah’s water may depend on the exact area and season. It may even differ from year to year. However, here are the different levels of hard water:
Slightly Hard: 1 to 3.5 GPG
Moderately Hard: 3.5 to 7 GPG
Hard: 7 to 10.5 GPG
Very Hard: 10.5 GPG or Higher
How Hard is Your Area’s Drinking Water?
As mentioned above, this will depend on where exactly you live. Check out the tool below and enter the zip code of where you live. It’ll show you the GPG level for where you live, and you can compare it to the levels described above to tell whether your drinking water is soft, only slightly hard, or even very hard.
What is in Our Utah Water That Makes It Hard?
There are a ton of different minerals and chemicals, like lead and arsenic. What exactly is in your water may depend on where your water source comes from, whether there are farms or orchards in the area, if the waterline pipes in the area are experiencing erosion, and many other factors. For example, here is a portion of the Consumer Confidence Data Report (CCDR) for Lehi City.
This report shows that the MCLG (Maximum Contaminant Level Goal) for Copper and the Action Level(AL) is 1.3 while Lead has a MCLG of 0 and an AL of 15. To understand what exactly this means, the Agency of Toxic Substances & Disease Registry says the following:
“The EPA Lead and Copper Rule has set drinking water standards with two levels of protection [EPA 1991; EPA 2000b].
Action levels for lead of 15 ppb and copper of 1.3 ppm in more than 10% of customer taps sampled. An action level is the level for enforcement. The maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG) is zero. This is the level determined to be safe according to toxicological and biomedical considerations, independent of feasibility.
“If a water system, after installing and optimizing corrosion control treatment, continues to fail to meet the lead action level, it must begin replacing the lead service lines under its ownership” [EPA 2007].
Exceeding the action level alone is not a violation of the regulation. Public water systems are assigned a violation when they fail to perform actions required by the regulations. This happens after the action level is exceeded [EPA 2000b; EPA 2016b].”
The CCDR for Lehi also points out that there are Haloacetic acids, trihalomethanes, and arsenic in the water. Haloacetic acids are a chlorination disinfection by-product (CDBP) that come from purifying the water after taking it from its source. Trihalomethanes are similar and are made up of chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane, and bromoform. These chemicals help control microbial contaminants. Arsenic can naturally come from rocks and soil but doesn’t impact the smell or taste of your water. However, this chemical can increase your risk of getting cancer and other serious illnesses.
To get a hold of the CCDR report for your own city and learn about what exactly is making your water hard, visit the Utah Department of Water Quality website. Click the button below.
How Do I Treat Hard Water?
If you have hard water in your home and want softer water, the best way to do it is with a water softener. A water softener removes the hard calcium and magnesium from your water and replaces them with soft minerals, like sodium or potassium. These softer minerals do not react with your soap, making your soap more effective and it prevents hard water stains too.
What are the Advantages of Soft Water?
Many of the advantages of soft water are purely cosmetic, but some can also save you money. Soft water can:
- Prevent scale and build-up in pipes
- Help appliances like water heaters, dishwashers, and washing machines last longer
- Prevent hard water stains
- Keep hair and skin softer
- Save you money on shampoo and soaps
- Keep clothes soft longer
Need a Water Softener?
At Shamrock Plumbing, we understand how important it is for you to have good soft water. Soft water helps make it easier to clean your dishes and clothes. It also helps make your skin less dry. If you’re ready put an end to your home’s hard water problem and invest in a water softener, give us a call at 801-505-9505