South Florida Hospital News
Saturday September 19, 2020
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April 2006 - Volume 2 - Issue 10
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Aesthetic Water Quality Problems - Continued

Last time we discussed taste and odor problems in our water. This month we will continue with color problems.

There are several things in life that we take for granted. Water is very often one of them. Each of us uses this vital liquid, the most common substance on earth, everyday. And we rarely think twice about it.

However, the water we use for cooking, drinking, and countless other domestic tasks will quickly catch our attention when there is some sort of problem.

Fortunately, some of the most obvious water problems are also the easiest to solve. The problem we will cover today is color. Although not considered harmful to health, it does affect the look and taste of the water, and may cause it to be undrinkable by some people's standards.

In order to treat water problems, we must first look at their source. Water is known as the universal solvent. Before it reaches our taps, it comes into contact with many different substances, such as gases, minerals, and organic matter. Water picks up traces of these substances, and unfortunately, some of them may cause taste, odor, color, or turbidity problems for the consumer.

Unusual color can make water unappealing to drink and can cause staining of surfaces and materials touched by the water.

In some home water supplies, a yellowish coloration may be present. This color condition is organic in nature, but presents no health hazard. It is caused by the presence of microscopic suspended particles.

This coloration occurs in regions where the water passes through marshlands and has percolated down through peaty soils. It is most likely to be found in the Southeast, Northwest, New England and Great Lakes regions of the United States; and is more common in surface water supplies and shallow wells than in deep wells.

Humic acids, often referred to as tannins, are the real cause of the color condition. Often the color is not highly visible in a glass of water, but can frequently be noticed when water is drawn for a bath. The white porcelain background of the tub can highlight even the slightest discoloration.

A more severe color condition may be caused by the presence of iron in the water. Depending on the type and state of the iron, the water may or may not be clear when it is first drawn. Water with dissolved iron may appear clear when it is first drawn, but may turn a brown-red color when it stands exposed to air or when it is heated. Water with precipitated iron may have a reddish color or red particles when it is first drawn.

The disadvantages of water containing significant amounts of iron are obvious. It can leave brown-red stains on fixtures and dishes, as well as discolor laundry. It is also unappealing for drinking.

What Can I Do?

The best thing you can do to find out the quality of your water is to seek out the advice of a reputable water dealer. You should expect to get a free, no obligation water test. If the dealer finds issues, he should give you recommendations so you can make an informed decision about your alternatives. A good dealer will be able to make recommendations that match your water, your lifestyle and solutions properly. Like a doctor, no one should prescribe a solution without first diagnosing the problem. Your test may reveal that you are fine but without one, you won’t know.

The information in this article was taken directly from The Water Quality Association Technical Brief on Aesthetic Water Quality Problems.

AQUAtiva of Florida, Inc. is a member of the Water Quality Association and the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce. John Schneyer can be reached at 1-800-518-3990 toll free, 561-994-0701 or John.Schneyer@AQUAtiva.com for more information.
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