Historic note
 Title Page

Group Title: Circular / Florida Cooperative Extension Service ; no. 291B
Title: Home water quality control
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00072525/00001
 Material Information
Title: Home water quality control
Series Title: Circular
Physical Description: 1 folded leaf (9 p.) : ; 23 x 10 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Pettis, A. M ( Aubrey Marshall ), 1920-
Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Publisher: Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1975
Subject: Water quality   ( lcsh )
Water -- Purification   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: A.M. Pettis.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "3-10M-75"--P. 10.
Funding: Circular (Florida Cooperative Extension Service) ;
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00072525
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 51254437

Table of Contents
    Historic note
        Unnumbered ( 1 )
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
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Full Text


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida

I cA\ fl; V19 i


LFA.S. Univ. of Florida

Circular 291B

ne Water

--ality Control

A. M. Pettis

ricd: 'ooperat ve Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida, Gainesville


A. M. Pettis
Associate Agricultural Engineer
Florida Cooperative Extension Service

Rural and suburban residents of Florida
blessed with plentiful underground sources
water in practically all areas of the State.
ever, some water supplies have problems.
most common of these is hardness in
others are iron, iron bacteria, sulfides
chlorides (salt), acidity (low pH), and
producing pathogens, such as bacteria.
By using the proper equipment, most
water problems can be corrected. Equipment i
treating water is not cheap; living with
water" can also be expensive.
Most pump dealers, well-drillers, and
selling equipment for correcting water
are rendering a valuable service in an
manner. However, some equipment may
prove to be satisfactory since there is nc
of equipment that can solve all home water
The first step, therefore, is to have the
tested. One test gives mineral content;
separate test for bacteria, by the County
Department, determines whether the water
safe for human consumption at the time of
There are steps that must be followed in
treatment. If the test shows a low pH, the
condition must first be neutralized. If iron
present in quantity, it must then be oxidized
filtered to remove the precipitated iron. If
hardness is present, it may be removed last.

The hardness of a water is due to the
of soluble compounds of magnesium and
found in the water. Hardness in water
extra soap for bathing, washing dishes, and
ing clothes, and it has an abrasive effect
causes clothes to wear out sooner than
should. Women object to hard water because

: soap "curd" that forms, leaving dishes and
dull and the hair dull and hard to man-
Hardness is the villain that robs food of its
color and flavor and makes some foods,
:as beans and peas, tough and shrivelled.
Hard water produces scale which forms in the
heater requiring extra fuel to heat the
shortening the useful life of the heater,
causing the pipes to become clogged more

The term most commonly used as the measure
water hardness is grains per gallon (gpg).
the test report is in milligrams per liter
or parts per million (ppm), divide by 17.1
find gpg. One classification of hardness is the

0 to 1 gpg soft
1 to 3 gpg relatively soft
3 to 7 gpg moderately hard
7 to 10 gpg hard
10 and over gpg very hard
Rain water is an example of soft water. When
passes over minerals in the earth it dis-
them and carries away small amounts in
The minerals calcium and magnesium
hardness in water. According to the
Public Health Service, water with hardness
an 17 grains per gallon is not considered
: for ordinary domestic use.
correct the problem of hardness a water
needed. Home water softeners may be
i in manual or automatic types and in
sizes to fit the needs or desires of the
They contain a mineral known as zeolite
resin, and operate on the ion-exchange prin-
Sas hard water passes between the particles
these ion-exchangers the calcium and magne-
I ions in the water are absorbed and a chemi-
equivalent amount of sodium is released into
water. These sodium compounds do not cause
thus the water from the softeners will

When the supply of sodium in the ion-exchanger
:ed the units will no longer remove hard-
To correct this condition, all softeners must
.... .ated at regular intervals as the capacity
Soften is used up. The length of time between
nns varies with installations and de-

pends on the capacity of the softener, the
of hardness removed, and the amount of soften
water used. Softeners are regenerated by usi
a brine solution of salt. It is best to use the s:
recommended by the softener manufacturer
Water softeners are rated in capacities
pressed as grains of hardness exchange per
generation. The number of gallons between
generation is found by dividing the rated capaci
of the softener by the hardness removed in g]

Problem: A softener is rated 20,000 grains capac
The water is 16 grains hard. How many gallons of
water will be available before regeneration?
Answer: Softener capacity= gallons before regenerat
water hardness
20,000 = 1250 gallons soft water before
16 generation

Some softener dealers provide a service tl
eliminates the need for regeneration at home.
regular intervals the softener company bring:
regenerated softener tank exchanging it for 1
tank that needs regeneration.

The presence of iron in water creates m"
problems. Iron imparts a metalic taste to
water, causes red staining of clothes in laund
ing, and stains plumbing fixtures. Staining
be caused by as little as 0.3 ppm iron.
Iron generally occurs in water in two form
iron compounds and iron bacteria. Iron thai
soluble in water (ferrous) combines with oxyl
from the air to form reddish-brown rust (ferr
Iron is often accompanied by acid water and so:
times by hardness in water.

1. Superchlorination-dechlorination will
move iron. A chlorinator or pump device is u
to feed small amounts of chlorine into the wa
The chlorine chemically oxidizes the iron in s
tion changing it to iron particles (red rust), t
a fine pre-coat filter removes both the rust
the excess chlorine.
Superchlorination means adding about 3.(

chlorine in the home water system where
time is much less than in a municipal
This higher concentration of chlorine
Sdisease-producing organisms, oxidizes iron,
Sulfur, and kills iron bacteria whenever
In a municipal system which has long contact
)le chlorination (0.2 to 0.3 ppm) is usual-
2. An oxidizing filter will remove certain types
i amounts of iron. It usually contains man-
Sgreen sand which converts soluble ferrous
to ferric red rust, which is then filtered.
can do a reasonable job when properly oper-
The top surface of the filter bed is the
effective filter surface but it is not used
Since most of the iron is precipitated
the lower half of the bed. The filter loads up
iron and sometimes "slugs" of it may pass
During usage surges such as a washing ma-
A disadvantage is that a flow rate of three to
times the usage rate is required to backwash.
rate is not usually available in a home water
but a local dealer may provide backwash
If laundry bleach is used in the wash,
manganese imparted to the water by the filter
the pH of the water is less than 6.8) may
the clothes brown just as the iron did.
3. Another device for treating the iron problem
a chemical polyphosphate feeder. This device
: certain polyphosphates which will help if
Siron content is not over 2 ppm. These chemi-
Sdo not remove the iron but literally wrap
s around it and thus prevent the iron
Solution from causing stains. The advantage
This method is its simplicity and low cost. But
has certain disadvantages. It will not take
: any iron that has precipitated, and it does
remove the iron metallic taste. When the
is heated, as in a water heater, the poly-
chemicals may cease to be effective and
iron may be precipitated as red rust.
4. A water softener will remove certain
of soluble ferrous iron at the same time
.... -ves hardness. However, a softener used
remove iron will eventually become fouled and
: its ability to soften. When this occurs, the

softening medium will have to be replaced
cleaned with an acid bath. Various ouun
manufacturers may state varying limits for ir
removal for their units. Sometimes, up to 2.0 pl
iron can be removed economically by a wat
Iron bacteria are not harmful to man, but th
do produce slimy, stringy, objectionable mater:
that may come out of faucets, impeding the wat
flow and sometimes imparting an unpleasant tas
and odor to the water. An indication of the
presence is a slimy rust-colored mass on the i
terior surfaces of flush tanks.
A chlorine feeder that pumps small amounts
chlorine into the well at intervals will successful
control iron bacteria. If iron bacteria are not t
numerous it may be possible to control them 1
pouring 1 or 2 gallons of chlorine-containil
household bleach (5.25% sodium hypochlorite)
the well. Each gallon of bleach should be dilut
with two gallons of water to lessen any danger
metal corrosion.
Draw water containing chlorine through
pipes and leave overnight. The next day sta
the pump, opening each faucet in rotation al
allowing the water to flow until there is no chi
rine odor or taste to the water. This procedu
may have to be repeated at intervals.
Sulfides are often referred to as sulfur. TI
causes of sulfur (hyrogen sulfide gas H.S)
water are the reduction of mineral sulfates al
decaying organic matter.
The sulfide content of water causes many pro
lems. Waters which contain sulfides exhil
marked corrosiveness and are characterized I
an offensive "rotten-egg" odor; this odor
characteristic of hydrogen sulfide, a gas, th
escapes rapidly to the air. Sulfides also tarni;
silverware and corrode pipes.
1. Superchlorination dechlorination. TI
chlorine feeder device previously described und
iron removal may be used to solve the sulfii
problem. The chlorine chemically oxidizes +1

Sulfide and other sulfides eliminating
completely. The chlorine also kills disease
Which may be present. The dechlorinator
: filter) removes any remaining chlorine after
accomplished its purpose.
Carbon filtration.-Activated carbon will
hydrogen sulfide, and if the filter is fine
Sit will also remove iron sulfide (black
The capacity of these units is limited,
There is no way of regenerating the carbon
; it can be replaced when its capacity has been

Oxidizing filters.-These filters, described
iron removal, will also remove sulfides
the concentration is not greater than 5.0
A green sand oxidizing filter should not
used where the water is acid.
Aeration.-Aeration is not recommended
a method of removing sulfur from home water
because the water may become contami-
Sfrom bacteria in the air. With an aerator,
n is needed to make certain the water
cf to drink. Chlorination alone will oxidize
eliminate the sulfur, therefore aeration would
unnecessary expense.
accurate test for sulfur can be made only
the well. Usually home water supplies are not
for sulfur because a person knows if he
it, and if he doesn't there's no need to worry
Sit. Sulfides should be removed prior to
because hydrogen sulfide can rapidly
the common household softener.
is no medical evidence to show that sul-
-and most other minerals in water are benefi-
to the human body.


S s are present in all natural waters,
in many areas the amounts are small.
-ire measured in parts per million (ppm)
This is the general method used in testing for
in water. A person can taste 200-250 ppm
Water containing more than 250-300 ppm
: should not be used by the average per-
on lawns and ornamentals in most instances.
good management practices, well-water
500 ppm chlorides or more has been

successfully used on certain plants. There is
practical method for removing salt from ....
water supplies at this time.
Those having wells with high chloride contel
should contact the County Agent for information
on good management practices in applying water
and for information about plants having son
salt tolerance. If the salt content is too high f<
the desired use, another source of water, such
a different well, a cistern (for collecting rai:
water), or a municipal water supply should be o

The pH of a water sample indicates wheth,
the water is acid, alkaline, or neutral. Neutr
water has a pH of 7.0. Below 7 the water is ac
and above 7 it is alkaline. Alkaline water is ne
detrimental unless the pH is 10 or above, and th
is not usually found in Florida. Acid water
corrosive; therefore water should be on the alk
line side to prevent damage to the metal parts i
the water system. To correct a slightly ac
water condition a neutralizer may be used. Th
device passes the water through a bed of lim
stone chips, or magnesia, which will add son
hardness. Another method, which does not ac
hardness, is to feed a soda ash solution into tl
water supply. This can be done with the chlorin
feeder device previously mentioned. If a chlorin
feeder is installed to oxidize iron or elimina
sulfur, it can feed the soda ash solution alor
with the chlorine solution.


The most important water treatment proce;
is disinfection. Disinfection is necessary to d
stroy all disease producing bacteria and oth,
harmful organisms present in drinking water.
Water-borne diseases include typhoid, dyse
tery, and cholera. Tests must be made to be ce
tain that water is safe for drinking. Upon request
the County Health Department will test wat,
for drinking purposes, usually at no cost. Pei
odic tests are necessary.
The County Health Department will also assi
with information on the proper location and en

Turbidity (Suspended matter
in water) Approved filter
Bacteria Consult County Health
Superchlorination -

When you buy water treatment equipment
sure the dealer and manufacturer are reputab
The experience of neighbors, friends or relative
may be helpful. Water tests, made before ai
after the equipment is used, will indicate wh
the equipment will do. Your state university
a private laboratory may be able to make the
Always insist on a guarantee in writing statiL
exactly what can be expected from the device
For example, "a 25-year guarantee" means not
ing except perhaps that the tank will last for :
years because it is made of a durable materi;
The guarantee you should look for will state th
the device will soften the water by removing .
calcium and magnesium, or that it will complete
remove all iron, or that it will eliminate all sulfi
Remember, no gadget or gimmick can solve
water problems.

Single copies free to residents of Florida. Bulk rates
available upon request. Please submit details on
request to Chairman, Editorial Department, Institute
of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of
Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611.

This public document was promulgated at an
annual cost of $265.00, or 8.83 cents per copy
to inform public about quality water.

(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Cooperative Extension Service, IFAS, University of Florida
and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
Joe N. Busby. Dean

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