Water Treatment Basics

Water Basics
Hard Water Problems & Solutions
Iron Water Problems & Solutions
Drinking Water Systems
Commercial Applications

Water Basics

The water story begins in the upper clouds where water exists as almost weightless vapor particles. At this point, it is virtually free of impurities. While water may look pure and refreshing, the truth is that water contains many chemicals and impurities.
When water evaporates from the earth, it rises into the atmosphere and forms into cloud formations. Under certain conditions, it then returns to earth in the form of rain, snow, sleet or hail and may also appear as dew or fog. As moisture falls from the sky, it can pick up minerals, gasses, solids and chemicals, and bacteria. As water runs over the ground, it picks up additional organic contaminates from the earth’s surface. As the water seeps into the ground, it then picks up other contaminates, such as calcium, iron, magnesium and hydrogen sulfide.

Seventy percent of the moisture that falls to the earth evaporates into the atmosphere before seeping into the ground and begins the circle again. This continuous circle of precipitation and evaporation is called the hydrological cycle.

Many people are unaware that the same amount of water exists today as it did a million years ago. It is used by us and then returns to earth in a continuing cycle.

Although municipal water systems chemically treat the water to kill harmful bacteria, neither municipal or home well water is fully treated for iron, hardness minerals and hydrogen sulfide. Also, aesthetic problems such as bad tastes and odors are not typically treated.

In order to correct some of the harmful effects of problematic water in your home or business, a water treatment professional from Superior Water Conditioning can help determine the cause of the problem and offer remedies to correct the problem. At Superior, there is no cost to the customer for these services.

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Hard Water Problems & Solutions

Hard Water Problems
Water hardness is the most common of all water problems. Dissolved calcium and magnesium are the hardness salts that cause most of these problems. The presence of these salts cause water to be hard proportional to the quantity of the heavy metals that are present. The most common method of designating the degree of hardness of a given water supply is in grains per gallon (GPG). Grains per gallon equal the number of grains of a given substance in one U.S. gallon of water. One grain equals 1/7000 pound, and one U.S. gallon of water weighs 8.33 pounds.

Here is what an analysis in grains per gallon means to you, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior and Water Quality Association Standards:

Less than 1.0 Soft
1.0 to 3.5 Slightly Hard
3.5 to 7.0 Moderately Hard
7.0 to 10.5 Hard
10.5 and Higher Very Hard

Most water in Southeastern Minnesota tests between 15-25 GPG, with most readings being about 20 GPG. As one can see from the chart, all of the water in SE MN would be classified as very hard.

Hard water creates many problems in the home. It reacts with soap to produce insoluble soap curds, and it is these insoluble soap curds that produce the ring around the bathtub, the half-clean, dingy-looking clothes, etc.

Other problems directly related to hard water include:

  • Water heaters wear out faster and use up to 28% more energy to heat the water.
  • Clogged pipes
  • Plumbing fixtures require more service and wear out faster.
  • It can take up to 50% more soap, detergents and cleaning products to perform the same tasks.
  • Clothing and fabrics wear out faster and don’t come out as clean and bright with hard water.
  • Hard water spots and streaks glassware and dishes.

Hard Water Solutions
Superior Water Conditioning has the solution to hard water problems in your home. A water softener from Superior will remove the various undesirable elements that may be present in your water including hardness, iron, calcium, sediment and rust. Superior Water Conditioning is committed to providing customers with the best quality water conditioners available today. We design them, build them, and we guarantee that they work.

After testing your water and asking a few questions concerning your water usage, a representative from Superior will determine what size and type of water conditioner will best fit your needs. Unlike “discount” or “department” store water conditioners, where “one size fits all”, Superior designs and manufactures a conditioner to fit your needs and budget.

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Iron Water Problems & Solutions

Iron Water Problems
Well water may contain many other contaminates beyond the hardness minerals typically found in municipally treated water. The main problem found in well water is usually with various forms and levels of iron.

There is little doubt when water contains iron. “Iron water” readily stains plumbing fixtures, porcelain and cooking utensils. When used in the laundry, iron bearing water soon stains washables with reddish-brown discolorations. It also leaves its tell tale marks on walls and floors if used doing home cleaning chores. Iron imparts a disagreeable metallic taste to water. Even in small concentrations, a somewhat astringent quality is apparent, and in detectable amounts, iron can ruin the flavor of many beverages and give them an unappetizing, inky black appearance. The EPA Secondary Drinking Water Regulations recommend a maximum of .3 of one part per million of iron due to the staining that higher concentrations can cause.

In its insoluble forms, iron can form deposits in pressure tanks, pipe lines, water heaters, commodes and other equipment where water is used. Iron problems are frequent due to the fact that five percent of the earth’s crust is made up of iron. Water collects iron in several ways. Even as it falls through the air, water acquires small amounts of the oxides of iron found in atmospheric dust. Water, rich in carbon dioxide, readily dissolves iron from the earth’s plentiful deposits as it leaches through the ground.

Iron exists in various concentrations and various forms. Ferrous iron usually is found in water drawn from wells. In this form, the iron is colorless and soluble. It remains in this state as long as the water remains underground, where oxygen is scarce. As iron oxidizes upon exposure to air, it usually settles out and develops a reddish-brown color. In this way the soluble ferrous iron converts into the insoluble ferric state.

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Drinking Water Systems

Water is a daily, life-sustaining requirement. It is one of the pure and basic necessities in life but unfortunately, not all of the everyday water we use from our taps is the pure, fresh water that our bodies need.

Reverse Osmosis
Reverse osmosis (R. O.) is one of the most convenient methods of reducing unwanted contaminants in your drinking water. Reverse osmosis is the process by which water molecules are forced, by water pressure, through a semi-permeable membrane. Most of the impurities and other contaminants are rinsed to the drain while the refined water is routed to a special holding tank ready at your convenience. Superior Water Conditioning handles only one brand of reverse osmosis system- Microline. With 50 years of water treatment experience behind the Microline name, there is a long-standing tradition of excellence and quality. The Microline R. O. system contains a patented manifold plate which directs the flow of water through each of the filtration steps. When water first enters the R. O. system, it flows through a pre filter that protects the automatic shut-off and membrane from clogging with debris. The job of the pre filter is to filter out larger particles such as silt, rust or scale, extending the life of the membrane and allowing it to tackle the smaller contaminates. Water then travels to the operational center of the system- the membrane. Here, most particles too small to be trapped by the pre filter are removed from the water stream and rinsed to the drain. All Microline R. O. systems have a patented seal on each membrane. This seal is designed to assure worry free installation, simplify system maintenance and reduce service costs. After the membrane, the R. O. water goes through a carbon filter to remove tastes and odors before going into a holding tank. The holding tank holds approximately 2 gallons of fresh, clean water and the automatic shut-off tells the system when to make more. When you turn on the Microline faucet and draw water from the holding tank, it goes through its final stage of filtration, a smaller carbon filter that imparts the final “sweet” polish to the water. If you want safe, refreshing water for your home, a Microline reverse osmosis system is a great option.

Drinking Water Filters
Drinking water filters are available as point of entry filters for whole house filtration, point of use filters with a separate faucet and also available as in line filters. Although available in many sizes and configurations, all drinking water filters are made of KDF and carbon. KDF- a high purity alloy controls bacteria present in water through electrochemical oxidation reduction. In plain English, the KDF media simply exchange electrons with contaminants. The give and take of electrons changes many contaminants into harmless components, such as chlorine to chloride. Other contaminants, such as lead and other heavy metals, bond to the KDF media. The end result is totally eliminating or greatly reducing a wide variety of contaminants.

Filters with KDF media will effectively remove, or significantly reduce most of the contaminants that reverse osmosis treats. Nitrates and fluorides are two of the exceptions. KDF filter media is actually classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a device for bacteria control.

Although these filters are typically sold for taste and odor problems, one can easily see that they do much more than control taste and odor.

Miscellaneous Filters
Along with water conditioners to soften your water and remove iron and manganese from your water, Superior Water Conditioning offers a wide array of both point of entry and point of use filters to treat your water, including:

  • Sediment filters for removing dirt, sand, silt and rust particles
  • Carbon filters (whole house and point of use) for taste and odor
  • Phosphate cartridges to prevent scale and rust build up
  • Oil absorbing cartridges
  • Calcite filters for reducing acid and many others

Most filters are available in various sizes and styles. A Superior representative can help select the proper filter for your particular needs.

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Commercial Applications

Although most people are aware that Superior Water Conditioning furnishes many homeowners in Southeastern Minnesota with quality water conditioning products, many people are unaware that Superior also works with business and industry to provide conditioned water in the form of commercial water softeners and other water conditioning equipment.

Water hardness is responsible for many maintenance and process problems in commercial applications. Commercial water softeners from Superior Water Conditioning provide soft water to meet the demanding specifications of all types of business and institutions with simple and reliable equipment. The staff at Superior is backed by an expert outside engineering team with years of experience in the water treatment field. Together, they are there to assist you with sizing equipment, choosing the proper system and providing technical support.

Click here for a list of past commercial Superior Water Conditioning projects.

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