METALS IN YOUR WATER - IRON, LEAD and MANGANESE

What are Metals and how do they get into water?

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Iron is a common element, constituting nearly 5% of the earth's crust. Iron can be present in water due to a number of reasons. Acid rain, particularly acidic or basic water and other chemical factors in water can corrode iron pipes and leach iron into the water. Also, high velocity water and sediment in water can erode iron from pipes into the water. When exposed to air, heat, or chlorine, these iron compounds will form rust, which will stain virtually anything that the water comes in contact with. This can cause extensive damage to faucets and appliances as well as dishes, clothing, and other personal belongings that come in contact with the contaminated water.

Though the US EPA considers iron to be a secondary standard and currently only recognizes it as an aesthetically damaging contaminant, recent research has demonstrated likely health risks from iron and a possible link between iron in water and Parkinson’s Disease. When testing water for the presence of iron, RAdata looks for the number of ppm, or parts per million of iron in the water. Because iron can stain clothes and appliances at .3 ppm, the EPA has set the regulatory standard at .3 ppm.

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Lead is generally found in water due to the corrosion of lead from solder and pipes found in many older buildings. This corrosion is due, in most cases, to an acidic environment (pH below 7).

Lead in drinking water can also cause a variety of adverse health effects. In babies and children, exposure to lead in drinking water above the action level can result in delays in physical and mental development, along with slight deficits in attention span, and learning abilities. In adults, it can cause increases in blood pressure. Adults who drink this water over many years could develop kidney problems or high blood pressure.

Lead is rarely found in source water, but enters tap water through corrosion of plumbing materials. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures, and solder. However, new homes are also at risk: even legally “lead-free” plumbing may contain up to 8% lead. The most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures which can leach significant amounts of lead into the water, especially hot water. When testing water for the presence of lead, RAdata looks for the number of ppm, or parts per million of lead in the water. The EPA has set the regulatory standard, or action level, at 0.015 ppm at first draw (the residual water in a fixture from overnight), or 0.010 ppm in a standard well water sample.

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Manganese is a rare metal that is brought into water by dissolving in acidic rain. Like iron, manganese oxidizes when exposed to air or heat. The oxidizing of manganese will cause black stains on any surface it touches at levels as low as 0.05 parts per million. To put this into perspective, it is not uncommon to find levels as high as 2 parts per million, 40 times higher than the level at which it starts staining. Though the US EPA considers manganese to be a secondary standard and currently only recognizes it as an aesthetically damaging contaminant, recent research has demonstrated likely health risks from manganese. High levels of manganese in drinking water can adversely affect child intellectual function, and, in large doses, act as a neurotoxin, causing symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease. When testing water for the presence of manganese, RAdata looks for the number of ppm, or parts per million of iron in the water. Because manganese can stain clothes and appliances at .05 ppm, the EPA has set the regulatory standard at .05 ppm.

Do I Have Metals in My Water?  If you suspect a problem and your drinking water comes from a private well, you should have the well tested.  If Metals (Iron, Lead or Manganese) or any other contaminant are found RAdata can install Water Treatment systems to treat any water problem.

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Test My Water for Metals (and other contaminants)!

RAdata provides a full water testing service, to learn about our Water Testing Service or get started immediately by Ordering Well Water Testing for your home.

Metals in your water: How to treat it and what you need to know.
The Good News: RAdata has the knowledge and experience to safely reduce Metals in your drinking water!

You can also use this Free Estimate form to have RAdata create a free, no obligation estimate for Water Treatment Services.

Treatment: Cation Exchange Water Softener

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A water softener uses the principle of ion-exchange – in this case, cations – to remove iron from raw water. The equipment contains a "bed" of softening material known as 'resin' through which the untreated water flows. As water passes through the resin, the iron in the water attaches itself to this material. At the same time, sodium in the resin is released into the water. This ion-exchange process occurs literally billions of times during the softening process.

Countercurrent regenerating water softeners add the salt against the service flow, and use significantly less salt than traditional water softeners. Our softeners are controlled using Clack® WS-1 control heads, which offer the option of either metered “demand initiated regeneration” or the more traditional “timed” regeneration. The metered advantage is that if you are away, the softener knows it does not need to regenerate in your absence since no water is being used. Similarly, if you have a house full of company using more water than is usual, the softener will regenerate as needed based on gallons of water used. Timed regeneration simply means that the softener is set to regenerate every set amount of days (every 7 days, 14 days, etc.).

If you have questions on how to treat Metals
in your well water,
call us today 800-447-2366 and ask to speak to a specialist.

METALS (IRON, LEAD and MAGANESE) LINKS:

Minnesota Dept. of Health: Iron in Well Water

Minnesota Dept. of Health: Lead in Well Water

Connecticut Dept. Of Health: Fact Sheet Manganese in Drinking Water

National Institute of Health Article on Manganese Toxicity in Infants & Children

World Health Organization (WHO), Manganese in Drinking Water

EPA Drinking Water Health Advisory on Manganese