What is Problem Water?


While you may have heard the term “problem water”, many consumers are unsure about what exactly this entails. Simply put problem water has a loose definition of water which requires treatment beyond basic water softening. This means that the water contains contaminants other than magnesium and calcium.What is Problem Water?

Where Do Contaminants Come From?

Domestic water is typically derived from one of two sources; public municipalities or private wells. The main source of water for private wells is groundwater. This runs underground and will often pick up contaminants as it travels. The main source of water for public municipalities is from surface water such as reservoirs or lakes. This type of water is free from contaminants as rainwater, but as it runs off through agricultural areas or travels through pipes, it can accumulate contaminants.

Common Water Problems:

Water contaminants can become problematic and a concern for consumers when it creates an aesthetic change to the water or is potentially harmful to health. There are a number of common contaminants which can dramatically alter the taste, appearance and smell of water. For example, hydrogen sulphide creates a rotten egg like smell, chlorine makes water taste unpalatable and iron can stain fixtures.

While municipal drinking water is often treated, it often contains small amounts of several contaminants. The EPA monitors the levels of 90 contaminants that can be potentially harmful to health, but is not responsible for private well water. This means that homeowners with a private well water supply are responsible for testing and monitoring their own water for the levels of contaminants.

Indications of Problem Water:

The main concern about problem water is that often homeowners are unsure about whether they have an issue. Fortunately, problem water often leaves indications around the home, so providing you are aware of these warning signs, you can be aware if you have a problem. The most obvious indications of a problem are a rotten egg smell, a bad taste, cloudy or discolored water, a build-up of slime in toilet tanks, pipe and plumbing corrosion or stains on fixtures or clothing. Other indications, which can be overlooked as a sign of a water problem is dull hair, dry skin or health issues, such as stomach upsets.

The Next Step:

If you have noticed any of these common indications of a water problem in your home, or you are simply interested to know more about what is in your water, the next step is water testing. A basic water test can be performed by a water quality professional or a water sample can be sent to a lab for more comprehensive testing. These tests can determine if your water supply contains levels of contaminants, which would make it problem water. If it is determined that you have problem water, it can be corrected. There is a wide range of domestic water treatment options including basic items such as filter pitchers through to more comprehensive whole house systems. Therefore, it is worth taking the advice of a water treatment specialist to ensure that you have all the facts needed to make an informed decision. Depending on your budget and the severity of the water problem, you will need to determine which solution is best suited to your particular requirements. This will ensure that you can enjoy great tasting and safe drinking water for years to come.

About The Author:

Greg Scott is President of Valparaiso based Miracle/EcoWater Systems, the premier water conditioning company in Northwest Indiana serving the Lake, Porter and LaPorte County areas.  A 3rd generation water treatment professional, Greg grew up in the family owned business  started by his grandfather in the late fifties.  He has made water treatment his life and under his direction and high-standards, the company’s water treatment experience, knowledge, and products are unrivaled in region.

Back to