Residential Water Treatment
You have a well and a pump, now what? It is time to condition your water! Water conditioning (ie: water treatment) is often over looked but is never underappreciated. Most water in Minnesota has some level of natural mineralization in it. It could be hard water, high iron, or higher than wanted arsenic levels. We offer many simple water conditioning appliances that can help improve your water quality. Our primary product lines include water softeners, iron filters, and reverse osmosis units.
Water softeners are the most common installation we perform. Whether you are using well water or city water, it is likely that you could benefit from having a water softener in your home or apartment. Water softeners remove hardness ions like calcium, potassium and magnesium as well as some iron. Most everyone has lived in or visited a home with white crusty build up on every faucet and refrigerator water tap in a home. Water softeners prevent scaly build up and help appliances like your dishwasher and laundry machines work better. Hardness ions prevent soap from doing its work on your clothes and dishes. Water softeners remove hardness ions making your clothes softer, your faucets cleaner and your dishes sparkly.
How Do Softeners Work?
People often ask, how do water softeners work? water softeners have two primary components; a brine tank and a sand bed. The sand bed is what your water flows through to remove hardness ions. The brine tank is what holds your softener salt that mixes with the brine rinse water that recharges your sand bed. Understanding that we are all not chemistry majors, we will try to keep this explanation simple. hardness ions have a positive charge, salt has a negative charge. So a softener uses the negative charge of the sand to attract the hardness ions out of the water that flows through the sand bed, the brine solution is then used to attract the hardness ions out of the sand and then is flushed down the drain.
You might be thinking, why doesn’t the water taste like salt? It’s because the water that makes it to your faucets doesn’t actually ever touch the salt itself. The salt is used to give the sand bed an ionic charge to attract the hardness ions. When you here a softener “running”, the water that is being expelled is the salty brine mix that is flushing through the sand bed. that last cycle that runs on a softener is the back wash cycle which rinses any left over salty brine out of the sand bed tank.
Iron filters work very similarly to water softners, but have a single sand bed tank that is filled with a medium specially designed to attract iron. The filters simply let water run through the sand bed stripping most of the iron from the water. They have a simple rinse and backwash cycle that expels the collected iron from the sand bed down the drain.
In a typical system the iron filter is staged before a water softener, by removing the iron, a water softener will work more efficiently to work on the ions it is truly meant to remove. An iron filter will help your softener consume less salt and further reduce iron staining in your toilets, sinks and clothes. Iron filters should be serviced yearly to remove iron build up in some of the components of the iron filter. Call today to setup your maintenance to ensure that your iron filter continues to efficiently remove iron.
Reverse Osmosis Systems
Reverse Osmosis or RO units essentially purify water to bottled water quality. RO is the ultimate in water treatment for clean, clear drinking water. RO Units are another technology that is ideal for either well or city water. When household water pressure pushes water through the RO membrane and additional filters, such as sediment or carbon filters, the impurities are filtered out and subsequently flushed down the drain. What is left, is delicious, clean-tasting drinking water. Many RO units incorporate a 4-5 stage process for optimal water quality.
All of our service techs are licensed by the Department of Health as Water Treatment Installers. We are proud to offer the following services:
- Iron Filters
- Water Softening Systems
- R.O. Drinking Water Systems
- Rust Removal for Irrigation Systems
Common Water Treatment Issues
Hard water interferes with almost every cleaning task from laundering and dishwashing to bathing and personal grooming. Clothes laundered in hard water may look dingy and feel harsh and scratchy. Dishes and glasses may be spotted when dry. Hard water may cause a film on glass shower doors, shower walls, bathtubs, sinks, faucets, etc. Hair washed in hard water may feel sticky and look dull. Water flow may even be reduced by deposits in your water pipes.
Hard water comes in many forms but is generally caused by high levels of calcium and magnesium that has been dissolved into groundwater. Because of the prevalence of water hardness across the state, it is very likely that your private water system and even some public water supply would benefit from having a water softener installed.
According to the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Water Quality Association, water hardness is classified as follows:
|Classification||mg/l or ppm||grains/gal|
|Soft||0 – 17.1||0 – 1|
|Slightly hard||17.1 – 60||1 – 3.5|
|Moderately hard||60 – 120||3.5 – 7.0|
|Hard||120 – 180||7.0 – 10.5|
|Very Hard||180 & over||10.5 & over|
Call us today to set up a water test, Bergerson Caswell can test for hardness and discuss treatment options right on site.
Did you know that iron is the fourth most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust? When found in water, iron can cause yellow, red, or brown stains on laundry, dishes, and plumbing fixtures such as sinks, showers and toilets. Additionally, iron can clog wells, pumps, sprinklers, and other devices such as dishwashers, leading to costly repairs. Iron gives a metallic taste to water, and can affect foods and beverages – turning tea, coffee, and potatoes black.
Low levels of iron can be removed simply by using a high quality water softener. If your well has elevated levels of iron, or you simply want to prolong the life of your water softener, air capsule iron filters are a wonderful one piece solution to remove iron from your water.
For more information about iron and groundwater, visit the MDH website here http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/wells/waterquality/iron.html
Many Minnesotans are surprised to learn that they may have arsenic in their well water. Despite its reputation as a poison, arsenic is like any toxic substance. Its effects depend on how much and how long people are exposed to it. The good news, is that it is relatively easy to treat. Reverse osmosis systems can very easily remove arsenic from your drinking water. Some forms of arsenic may require a pre-treatment system in order to be effectively removed.
How does Arsenic get into groundwater?
Arsenic is a part of the earth’s crust and occurs naturally in soil and rock. Arsenic from soil and rock can dissolve into groundwater, the primary source of drinking water for much of Minnesota. When arsenic occurs in well water, the source is almost always a natural source.
It is also worth noting that arsenic is not commonly found in most forms of sedimentary bedrock. Meaning that if you have steel cased well that is set into the bedrock, you are less likely to have elevated levels of arsenic. Screened wells set in sand and gravel aquifers have a higher risk of elevated arsenic levels.
Arsenic can occur in groundwater just about anywhere in Minnesota. Groundwater from the Twin Cities to the South Dakota border, and north along Minnesota’s border with the Dakotas is more likely to contain elevated levels of arsenic. However, arsenic levels can vary from one well to the next, even within a very small area. See also: Arsenic in Minnesota Groundwater map (PDF).
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set the maximum consumable level of arsenic at 10 parts per billion. Public utilities are required to treat city water sources so that the arsenic levels are below the 10 ppb limit. Private well owners are recommended, but not required, to treat their water. It is up to a homeowner to work with their well contractor or a water treatment specialist to figure out the level of treatment that is appropriate for their water quality. Call us today to setup a water test in order to figure out if your water needs to be treated.
For more information about arsenic and groundwater, visit the MDH website here http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/wells/waterquality/arsenic.html
Well water in Minnesota usually does not contain detectable levels of lead. However, the pipes and other components in the household plumbing may contain lead. If they do, lead may dissolve into the water. The longer the water stands idle in the plumbing pipes and components, the more lead can dissolve into the water.
The most common sources for lead in drinking water from wells are:
- Lead pipes are typically the worst contributor to elevated lead levels.
- Lead solder was used in the past to join copper pipes, but has been illegal in Minnesota since 1985.
- Brass components such as faucets, coolers, and valves. Although brass usually contains low lead levels of 8 percent or less, it can still dissolve lead into the water, especially during the first few months of use.
- Lead “packers” above the well screen may have been used in wells that were drilled over 20 years ago. Lead packers may have been used in steel cased wells but are unlikely to be found in PVC wells.
- Some submersible pumps manufactured before 1995 may contain leaded-brass components. Since January 1995, all submersible pump manufacturers in America have agreed not to use leaded-brass components in submersible pumps.
- Other plumbing components. Some trade agreements with foreign nations allow them to export plumbing components for sale in the United States that are not lead free.
More information about lead and groundwater, visit the MDH website here http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/wells/waterquality/lead.html