Maintaining a Quality Water Supply for your Water Softener If you own a property with a pipeline that requires water softening, it is important to keep a quality water supply even after treatment. This is because domestic water sourcing does not often contain safe drinking water, so you must maintain it consistently. If you live in an area such as Phoenix or other parts of Arizona, there are many minerals, contaminants, and other impurities in public water supplies. Thus, we recommend you acquaint yourself with water supply companies near you that can help you get a water softening treatment as well as the resources to properly maintain it. Is Municipal Water Safe to Drink? While government regulations state that municipal water supplies must be potable (safe to drink), it does not mean that their treatment is up to par for high-purity standards. Even if your municipal water supply has newer technology, it will often pass through two or three filtration stages to remove particles. This process is often generic to a broader region, meaning if there is more local contamination in your water supply or soil, you must have it treated privately. In order to properly assess where there are deficiencies in filtration or what is causing your water supply to be hard, it is good to know how public water systems work. There are typically 3 types of water supply in urban water utilities: Surface Water: This is water that is above ground and standing in accessible bodies; this means it usually comes from rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. The water quality is assessed for each of these bodies as your community will tap into them, and the EPA standards are generally stringent for potable and bathing water. Ground Water: Typically the greatest percentage of a land-laden region like Arizona will be drawn from ground supply. This is water that seeps into the earth via precipitation and becomes part of flow in soil or bedrock. From there, your community supply will pump water to the surface for distribution. Purchased Water: Depending on your location and soil/reservoir quality, a county might buy water from other utility companies to create a connection. While this might create higher water quality than unsatisfactory local sources, it is typically not at a level of purity we are looking for in high-end homes. Ultimately, these sources will all flow to water treatment plants for relatively standardized processes before distribution. However, as we see in many regions, this is often not enough to prevent contaminated public water supplies. What Happens in Water Treatment Plants? While some community water filtration is technologically advanced and often will be ‘good enough’ to drink and use around your house, this is not a guarantee of true purity or healthy water. Additionally, it is important to know how they work and what might be missing if your water quality is not up to par. Here are the four steps of water treatment that most cities and public treatment plants use: Coagulation and Flocculation: The first step in most community treatment is introducing positively charged chemicals such as aluminum sulphate that can neutralize negative solids in dirt, clay, and other organic material. Coagulation happens after the chemicals separate the initial materials, and the particles settle on the bottom of a treatment tank. From there, the mixing process of flocculation will bond these particles into ‘flocs’, allowing them to be removed easily via the next steps. Sedimentation: Sedimentation is the removal of the suspended matter and pathogens that have settled at the bottom of a water container. This is necessary to refine the quality of water and prep it for filtration and disinfection. Filtration After all the sedimentation particles have settled and been removed, there is still smaller matter that needs to be removed such as bacteria, parasites, and dust. This happens by passing them over consistent types of particles used in filtration, such as sand or charcoal. Disinfection: This is the final stage of basic public water treatment and involves the addition of chorine or chloramine typically, this stage involves using a disinfectant that is best-served for the purpose of the tank (drinking, swimming, etc.) When setting up a water softening treatment plan, it is important to speak with your local plumber about how to specifically work with the water in your area. They will have tips that pertain to the water coming from regional treatment plants, as each pipeline is unique. Water Softening Treatment and Maintenance When implementing a home water softening system, you can work with a whole-house filtration system, whole house water softening, or the combination of a water softening system with under-the-sink reverse-osmosis. Regardless of your setup, we recommend professional lab analysis of your water, proper system installation from a plumber, and a plan of consistent treatment. Here are some common tips that many water softening systems will benefit from. As always, make sure to check with your local plumber that these are necessary and correct: Clean the brine tank often: Salt buildups or bridges can contribute to the water being sodium saturated. This will make your water quality extremely poor, so do not let this happen. Purify the resin bed: The resin bed will become ‘fouled’ if your water has iron in it and sits there for a long period of time. Make sure to flush the resin bed out with proper fluids and treatment mechanisms. Monitor Salt Levels: Having too much or two little salt at any given time can throw off the balance of your water. Try to replace the salt before it gets too low, and don’t overfill the tank either. Use Pure Salt with Iron Remover: We often hear of people using rock salt because it is less expensive, however it will end up being costly as it can cause contaminants or sediment buildup. We are always proponents of utilizing intermittent professional support from the plumber who installed your system. While it might be tempting to go for quick DIY fixes, over the long run there will be red flags that most people won’t catch without proper education and knowledge. This can prove far more costly than the money you save short-term, and a professional treatment every now and then can do wonders even as you maintain the system yourself. Get the Best Treatment from Deer Valley Plumbing At Deer Valley Plumbing, we’ve built our reputation by helping create the purest water supplies in Arizona. We have decades of experience in identifying what creates hard water and contaminated sourcing, and we can offer the best solutions for long-term care. If you’re interested in refreshing your water supply, reach out to us today; we have the best plumbing service in the Phoenix area on tap.