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Water Quality/Well water issues


QUESTION: I just got my water report and was wondering you could tell me how to treat the problem areas any general suggestions you can give. The water is from a well, does not taste very good and gives you an upset stomach after just one glass.  Two coliform and bacteria tests proved I "potable" in the past 8 years.  I have a water softer system installed and just turned it back on at 15gpg with mortons system saver, its a Kenmore 300 series.  I use Poland spring for drinking now. Also I have a whole house ge water filter on now with the low level pleated sediment filter installed. Will this water softner raise sodium and chloride levels too high even if I'm not drinking it?  Is there a way that won't cost thousand to make the whole house water clean and drinkable.  Thanks for any help, Heres the report:  From where it comes into house before any treatment or filtering.
Ph - 6.4
Total dissolved solids - 696
Electrical conductivity mmho/cm - 1.16
Cations - 10.9
Anions - 10.7
Sodium - 128
Potassium - 8
Calcium - 86
Magnesium -10
Total hardness - 257
Nitrate -5.8
Sulfate -9
Chloride - 262
Carbonate - <1
Bicarbonate - 136
Total alkalinity - 136
Total phosphorous - <0.01
Total iron - <0.01
< not detected below detection limit."

Your well water definitely has some issues.  In my opinion it would cost a fair amount of money to make your water drinkable.  One of the components of the well water that concerns me is the nitrate level.  This could be part of what is causing the abdominal cramping.  The EPA recommends that the level of nitrate in drinking water not exceed 10ppm.  You  are at 6 ppm and I, personally, would not drink water with any nitrates in it.  Removing the nitrate from the water is an expensive proposition.

One question that I have is what are the units that the Calcium and Magnesium are reported in?  The usual is ppm as CaCO3.  But it could also be grains/gallon and Ca as Ca and Mg as Mg.  So, please find out about this and let me know.  I can't answer your questions about softening until I know this.  Also, I assume the water sample for this report was taken directly from the well and not after it had passed through any of the softening or filtering equipment.  Is this correct?

So, give me the answers to my questions and I will finish my answer.  Right now I'm leaning towards recommending that you disconnect the softener and just use the well water for everything but drinking.  I would continue to drink bottled water.  However, this may change.
I will wait to hear back from you.  I will be out of town until the middle of next week (1/15) so I won't be able to answer before then.

Steve Young

Environmental Engineer
General Contractor

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QUESTION: Calcium magnesium and total hardness caco3 are all in ppm. All readings are in ppm.  And yes the sample came from the well before any treatment or filtering.

When you are not running the softener do you have problems with scale buildup on pipes, in the dishwasher, any place where there is hot water?

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Yes blue green scale on pipe joints, spotty dishes from siagwasher and a blue green scale on the plastic shower curtain.  I've recently turned back on my water softner with mortans system saver 2 at 15gpg.  I have a kenmore 300

Hi Tom,

I say run the softener for general water use and I would either buy bottled water or purchase and install an under-sink RO filter.  The RO filter will make your water completely drinkable with no ill effects.  However, the reverse osmosis system is way too expensive to use to treat all the water used in  your house.
Here is what I'm talking about:

This is just an example - there are many RO systems on the market.  Good luck and let me know if you have questions.

Steve Young

Water Quality

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Steve Young


I will answer questions on residential water treatment, i.e. use of softeners, filters, reverse osmosis systems, disinfection, iron and/or sediment removal and other issues facing the homeowner. I have worked extensively with well water systems.


I have worked in the water treatment area for many years as a consultant and as a professional environmental engineer in the private industry sector. I have designed reverse osmosis, deionization, and water softening systems. I have also done work in water quality and stream and river remediation as it relates to the Clean Water Act.

I am currently serving as an Expert for Home Improvement, Travel (New Mexico) and Travel (North Carolina);

BS Environmental Eng.

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