What Is pH?


Posted August 18th, 2021

What Is pH?

by Brian Campbell

 

What is pH?

A simple definition of pH is that it measures how acidic or alkaline a solution is.

A more scientific definition is that pH indicates the concentration of hydrogen ions in a liquid. While a low pH indicates a higher concentration of hydrogen, a high pH indicates a lower hydrogen concentration.

For those with a background in chemistry, one can calculate the pH of any substance by using the pH calculation: pH = – log [H3O+].

This pH formula is not the only way to calculate water’s pH, however. This article will explain what affects water’s pH, the problems with acidic and alkaline water, and how to test pH in water at home.

What Changes the pH of Water?

Water has a neutral pH of 7, which indicates that it is neither acidic or alkaline. The pH scale ranges from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (very alkaline). It is normal for water to have a pH range of between 6.5 and 8.5 on the pH scale.

pH in water may fluctuate with differing environmental factors. Rainwater is naturally more acidic, and usually has a pH of around 5.65. But when this water falls through the air, it interacts with atmospheric carbon dioxide, which increases pH.

Once rainwater lands on the ground, the geology of the land will affect its pH once more. When this water seeps through layers of mineral-rich rock, it will become more alkaline. But if it is only exposed to igneous rock, like granite, it’s unlikely that its pH will change much at all.

Mining discharges and wastewater can also affect pH. pH in wastewater is typically neutral, but chemicals, pollutants and other contaminants in this water can cause it to become highly acidic or alkaline.

What Effect Does pH Have On Drinking Water?

The acidity or alkalinity of drinking water can have an effect on its makeup. While acidic water is more likely to contain metal contaminants, alkaline water typically has a high concentration of healthy minerals.

Alkaline water is said to be healthier than water with a neutral pH, as it prevents acidity in the body from causing chronic illnesses. However, there’s not much scientific evidence to back up these claims so far. What we do know is that water with a slightly higher pH of 8 to 8.5 is more likely to have a higher concentration of healthy minerals and electrolytes, like calcium, potassium and magnesium, which the human body needs to survive.

Acidic water, on the other hand, may corrode your teeth, so it is not recommended for consumption. Acid water is also more susceptible to metal leaching, so by drinking water with a low pH, one is more at risk of consuming dangerous levels of copper, lead, and similar contaminants.

Safe pH Range For Drinking Water

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), water’s safe pH range spans between 6.5 and 8.5 Anything higher or lower than this, and water is not recommended for drinking. The optimum pH for drinking water is 7.

Risks Associated With Unsafe pH Levels

Acidic water and alkaline water each pose their own specific risks.

Some of the risks associated with acidic water include:

Increased Metals Intake

Water with a lower pH is more likely to grab onto heavy metals like copper, lead, arsenic, zinc, and chromium. Drinking acidic water puts you more at risk of consuming a higher concentration of these metals. In the long term, this may lead to dangerous conditions like toxicity and heavy metal poisoning.

Damage to Teeth

Your overall dental health may be affected by drinking acidic water. Because water with a low pH is more corrosive, it is likely to increase the risk of decay of the tooth enamel. The tooth enamel is important to protect the inner layers of the tooth from damage and keep teeth looking white. Decayed tooth enamel is more susceptible to cavities and infections.

Plumbing Damage

The corrosive properties of acidic water may also damage your home’s plumbing system. Over time, water with a low pH can dissolve metal pipes, causing heavy metals to leach into your water. Acidic water can also cause pipes to wear away, resulting in leaks that may be expensive to repair.

Some of the risks of drinking alkaline water include:

Lowers Stomach Acidity

Alkaline water may lower pH in the stomach. This could lower the stomach’s natural acid, which is needed to kill bacteria and other pathogens, preventing them from passing into the bloodstream.

Metabolic Alkalosis

Too much alkaline water can result in a condition called metabolic alkalosis, which imbalances the body’s normal pH. With metabolic alkalosis, you may experience symptoms like vomiting, nausea, muscle twitching, hand tremors, and confusion.

Poor bone health

Alkalosis has also been known to decrease the body’s free calcium, which can affect bone health. Additionally, low levels of free calcium can slow down heart rate and cause muscle spasms.

How to Test Water’s pH

In a laboratory setting, pH meters are typically used to give an accurate reading of pH in water. You can buy a pH meter online, but they can be on the more expensive side.

A more affordable alternative is to purchase a single-use at home pH test kit. pH test kits come with strips that one can dip into a water sample. The strip will turn a certain color to indicate how acid or alkaline the water is.

One can buy different pH kits that are designed to work with specific pH ranges. When dealing with particularly acidic or alkaline water, make sure the pH kit is designed to work with this pH range. This is the better option than buying a testing kit that ranges from 1 to 14, as it may be more difficult to get an accurate result based on the test strip’s color hue.

pH test strips can be handy for initially assessing water, and testing it again after treating water to increase or decrease its pH.

In short, if using water for drinking, one should make sure it has a pH of between 6.5 and 8.5; preferably as close to 7 as possible. Any higher or lower than this, and the water is not safe to drink.

Brian Campbell is the founder of WaterFilterGuru.com, where he blogs about all things water quality.

Pure Water Gazette Fair Use Statement

Can AerMax Units Be Used to Treat Constant Pressure Well Systems?

Yes,  definitely, AerMax units work well with constant pressure wells, but there are a couple of things  you need to know.

 

First, the pump has to be controlled with a timer. There are no options. People often wire the pump and solenoid vent into the pump circuit of conventional wells, but this won’t work with a constant pressure well.

Second, since constant pressure systems usually maintain a higher pressure than conventional bladder tank systems, it’s best to use the upgrade CAP AerMax pump rather than the standard model. The CAP also needs an upgrade installation kit.  At current pricing, the pump/installation kit upgrade adds about $220 to the price of the standard 110 V. AerMax unit.  The other parts are all the same.

The standard air pump can be used, but with constant pressure wells, the upgrade pump works better and has shorter service runs.

Programming the unit, with either the standard pump or the CAP, for most residential applications means running the pump enough to do a complete turnover of the unit’s air pocket at least 3 times per week. This means running the standard pump 3 times per week at about 18 to 20 minutes per session or running the CAP unit about 2 minutes per session. (The CAP has about 10 times the air output capacity as compared with the standard pump.)

 

CAPpump

More information about the high capacity air pump with high flow AerMax systems.

Turning Off Aeration: Converting and AIO Control to Standard Filter Setting

 

The instructions below are for turning off the aeration feature in Fleck 5600 and 2510 AIO filtration units so that the unit will operate as a standard filter.

 

To enter master programming–

 

Set the time of day to 12:01 PM  (must be pm).

 

Press the extra cycle button to save the time.

 

Press the up and down buttons simultaneously and hold until the screen changes to a setting that says DG  GAL  (You are now in master programming mode.)

 

 

To scroll through the settings, push and release the extra cycle button.

 

Scroll through and do not change settings until you get to

 

DO 1  (DO, for Day Override, is the number of days until the unit regenerates.)

 

 

Change the 1 to any number you want for the regeneration interval. For example, if you want to regenerate every 4th day, change the number to 4.  Push the Extra Cycle button to save and move on.

 

 

Scroll through until you get to BD  40   Change the 40 to 0 and continue. (Set BD to 0, not to OFF.)

 

 

When you get to RR, change the 1 to 2.  (This gives you a 2 minute Rapid Rinse.  Set to a higher number if you wish.)

 

 

Continue to scroll through until the screen returns to the time of day.  Reset the time to the correct time of day.

 

 

Now the screen should alternate between the time of day and the DO number that you entered.  The number displayed is the days before the next regeneration.

 

Call 888 382 3814 if you have a question.

What is Turbidity?

by Brian Campbell

Editor’s Note: Brian Campbell is the founder of WaterFilterGuru.com.  The article below is a good introductory overview of what water treatment professionals mean when they talk about “turbidity.”

 

If you’re researching the common drinking water contaminants, you may have heard of turbidity. Turbidity isn’t actually a contaminant itself, which can make it difficult to understand exactly what you’re dealing with.

This short guide will equip you with the information you need to know about turbidity in drinking water: what it is, how it’s measured, and its effects.

What is Turbidity of Water?

The turbidity of water is a measurement of how clear or cloudy it is. The cloudier the water, the higher its turbidity.

To get a little more scientific, turbidity measures a liquid’s “relative clarity” – or the amount of light that refracts off materials in a liquid sample. The more light is refracted within a sample of water, the higher the level of turbidity.

There are a number of materials that can cause turbidity, including silt, inorganic and organic matter, clay, algae, and some microscopic organisms.dirtywater

How is Turbidity Measured?

Turbidity is measured in Nephelometric Turbidity Units, known as NTU for short. Turbidity may also be measured in Formazin Nephelometric Units, or FNU.

You can measure turbidity using a turbidity meter or sensor, which will use scatter-detection methods to quickly detect the levels of total suspended solids (TSS) in water. TSS – referring to waterborne particles that are larger than 2 microns – are the common culprits behind turbidity.

Editor’s Note:  To clarify, here’s an explanation  by the same author to help distinguish between Total Suspended Solids and Turbidity:

Turbidity and suspended solids are often used interchangeably, which can make it difficult to understand the difference between the two. However, they are not quite the same thing. Turbidity refers to water’s transparency and the more suspended solids water contains, the less transparent it will be. In short, turbidity is a measurement of how well light can pass through water, while TSS is a quantitative measurement of suspended particles in water. 

What Are the Most Common Causes of High Turbidity?

The most common causes of high turbidity are phytoplankton, erosion, urban runoff, wastewater discharge, algae and sediment disruption. More detail on each of these causes is listed below.

Phytoplankton

Phytoplankton are a type of marine algae, which are microscopic in size but are capable of turning water brownish-red when present in high concentrations. These organisms often float or “drift” in water, and can survive in both fresh and saltwater environments.

Erosion

Water affected by erosion can also have high levels of turbidity. Imagine a river flowing through an area of loose dirt. When this dirt is worn away, it can seep into water. The consistent force of a flowing river can also erode tougher materials, like rock. This can increase the sediment level in water, often resulting in cloudiness.

Urban Runoff

Urban runoff is rainwater (or melted snow) runoff in urban areas, which can be responsible for pollution or contamination of water sources like private wells, lakes, and rivers.

When water runs through agricultural or industrial sites, building surface materials, and even some impermeable paved surfaces, it may collect sediment that increases the turbidity of whichever water source it ends up in.

Wastewater Discharge

When wastewater discharge isn’t treated properly, it may carry pathogens, suspended solids, and other contaminants into a body of water, increasing its turbidity. This water usually comes from pipes from factories and plants that treat wastewater.

While the EPA has produced guidelines on how to treat wastewater before discharging it, many water sources are not correctly treated before being discharged.

Algae

Algae are a group of organisms that live in saltwater and freshwater bodies. You can find algae in a variety of sizes and appearances, and sometimes these organisms are too small to be seen by the human eye.

Algae take nutrients from the water, improving oxygen levels. But when algae die, organic matter is released into the water, increasing turbidity. Some algae are rooted to the surface of the ground, while others float on the surface of water.

Sediment Disruption

Similar to erosion, sediment disruption occurs when water picks up a body of sediment and carries it to a new location, increasing the turbidity of specific areas, such as the pool of water beneath a waterfall. In rivers, this sediment disruption can affect water flow and alter the depth of the water.

What Are the Effects of High Turbidity?

The biggest problem with high turbidity is that it affects the aesthetic quality of a water source. Not only can this negatively impact tourism and recreation, but it can also affect marine or aquatic life by reducing oxygen and food supplies.

From a water treatment perspective, it is more expensive to treat water with high turbidity as it must be more thoroughly filtered to remove sediment of all different sizes.

Drinking water that has high turbidity levels may be dangerous, depending on the cause of the water’s turbidity. For instance, water that contains certain suspended solids like algae and bacteria may make you sick to drink. Other common causes of turbidity, like sand and dirt, might not make you sick, but this sediment could have an effect on the infrastructure of your home’s pipes, plumbing and water-based appliances.

Turbidity vs Total Suspended Solids (TSS)

Turbidity and total suspended solids are linked – but they’re not the same thing. As we know, turbidity is a measurement of how transparent water is. Suspended solids, on the other hand, are the contaminants that are largely responsible for turbidity in water.

In short, the higher the levels of total suspended solids in water, the greater the level of refractions of light from these materials, and the higher the turbidity.

Pure Water Gazette Fair Use Statement

More about turbidity from the Gazette’s website.

 

 

Pura O Rings

 

 

Getting the right o ring for a Pura UV unit isn’t always simple. The chart below is designed to help.

All o rings listed can be found here.

Pura Unit Description Built Prior to Fall 2009 Built after Fall 2009
UV1 OR018 OR015
UVB OR019 OR016
UV20 OR019 OR016
UVBB (See Note Below.) OR020 (See note below.) OR026 (See note below.)

There is one exception. There is an intermediate BB unit built between Fall 2009 and Jan. 2012. It uses a unique o ring: OR017.

Cartridge-Style Iron Filter


Posted April 28th, 2021

Pure Water Products  Simple Cartridge-Style Iron Filter

 

An ideal solution for moderate iron, moderate water-use applications

Standard tank-style backwashing iron filters are normally used for iron removal from well water. They are very effective, but they are large and they require a drain connection, electricity, and a significant amount of water for regeneration. They eventually need media replacement and replacement or rebuilding of control heads. In other words, although they can solve the significant problems caused by iron and manganese in well water, they are fairly expensive to purchase and they can be an ongoing expense and a maintenance chore.

Our cartridge filter for iron is for small amounts of iron (generally less than 3 parts per million). It can help with manganese as well, but is not a good treatment for hydrogen sulfide odors. This easy-to-install system is recommended for applications where pH is 7.0 or higher and service flow rates are usually 4 or 5 gpm or less. Multiple units, of course, can be installed in parallel for higher service flow rates.

The cartridge used for this free-flowing filter is the advanced Pentek radial flow iron removal filter with iron oxide media. See this chart for approximate gallon capacities.

The housing is the old faithful 20″ Big Blue from Pentek with 1″ or 3/4″ ports. A heavy stainless mounting bracket, screws, and filter wrench are included.

 

 

compactwh4

Basic unit comes with housing, bracket with screws, filter wrench and a Pentek iron removal cartridge.

compactwhsingleparalleldouble

Suggested Applications

 

Multiple iron filters can be installed in parallel to accommodate homes that need higher flow rates. The illustration shows a sediment filter followed by two iron units in parallel. This filter array can comfortably treat iron at residential service flow rates of seven or eight gallons per minute. Moderate use homes with up to four people can use a single unit. With more than 4, a double unit as shown above is needed.

 

Please call for pricing.

Please call 888 382 3814 for more information or to order.

See more details about the cartridge used in this unit. 

Links to Products for City Water Treatment

Products that Deal with Water Hardness

 

Conventional Water Softeners

TAC, Template Assisted Crystallization. (ScaleNet, also known as OneFlow)

Siliphos

 

Whole House Filtration Units

Compact Whole House Filters (Cartridge Style).  Multi-Filter Versions of Compact Whole House Filters.  (See links to other items in this series at the bottom of the article.)

Tank Style Backwashing Filters for Chlorine or Chloramines (See Carbon and Catalytic Carbon units.)

Drinking Water Units

Reverse Osmosis Units  (Black and White)

Simple Undersink Filters — No faucet needed. Filtered water is dispensed through cold water side of the standard sink faucet.

Undersink Filters  (Black and White Series)  — Filters with their own faucet for filtered water.

 

 

 

Putting Ourselves in Our Place: What If We All Sat in the Ocean at Once?

Editor’s Note:  Probably this is something you’ve wondered about. If everyone on earth decided to go swimming in the ocean at the same time, would there be room for all of us? And would the water spill out of the world’s oceans causing devastating flooding?  To put our minds at ease, here’s the answer from the Curious Kids section of at The Conversation website. 

You can think about the oceans as a gigantic bathtub. More than 70% of the Earth’s surface is ocean, giving this bathtub an area of about 140 million square miles. To figure out how much the water will rise, we need to know the volume of people sitting in it and divide it by this ocean area.

Currently, there are almost 8 billion people on Earth. Human beings come in all sizes, from tiny babies to large adults. Let’s assume the average size is 5 feet tall – a bit bigger than a child – with an average volume of 10 cubic feet. Only half of each person’s body would be submerged when they sit down, so only 5 cubic feet adds to the water level. With 8 billion people total, you can calculate 5 x 8 billion which gives a whopping 40 billion cubic feet that would be added to the oceans.

But remember, this volume would be spread over the vast area of the oceans. Using the same bathtub math as before, we divide the 40 billion cubic feet of volume over the 140 million square miles of ocean.

The answer? The total rise in sea level would be about 0.00012 of an inch, or less than 1/1000th of an inch. If everyone completely submerged themselves, this would double the answer to 0.00024 inches, which is still only about the width of a human hair.

It turns out the oceans are enormous – and humans are just a drop in the bucket.

Source: The Conversation.

Pure Water Gazette Fair Use Statement

We All Do It, But Is It Actually Safe to Reuse Plastic Water Bottles?

by Eva Hamrud, Metafact

21 MARCH 2021

bpafreeplastics

Every minute about 1 million plastic drinking bottles are purchased, creating huge amounts of waste, which mostly ends up in landfills. Today, many people reuse their water bottles by refilling them. This avoids having to repeatedly buy new bottles, saving money, and reducing the amount of plastic waste.However, these bottles are designed to only be used once, so some people are concerned about where it is actually safe to reuse them. We asked eight experts ‘Is it safe to reuse plastic water bottles?’ and the consensus was 75 percent ‘likely’.What are water bottles made of?Plastic water bottles vary in their material, but most single-use bottles are made of PET – polyethylene terephthalate. PET is a clear, lightweight plastic used for packaging of many foods and drinks.It is approved as safe for contact with food and drink in many parts of the world, including the USA and European Union.

 

Can leaching chemicals from the plastic give you cancer?

Many online articles claim that reusing water bottles can lead to cancer due to certain chemicals being released from the plastic.One chemical that many people are concerned about is BPA, bisphenol A. BPA may disrupt the endocrine system, potentially causing issues related to reproduction and metabolism. BPA is not used to make PET bottles but can be found in other, more rigid plastics like polycarbonate. Despite this, one study has found very low concentrations (5 ng/L) of BPA in PET-bottled water. Two other studies did not find this chemical, so this finding is inconclusive. A different chemical, antimony, is used as a catalyst for PET production. Antimony is not considered a carcinogen when ingested but can cause vomiting and diarrhea.A 2008 study tested the levels of leached antimony in commercially available bottled waters. They did find that leaching occurred gradually over time, but the amounts were much lower than what is considered dangerous. The concentration at which antimony becomes dangerous is around 6 ppb (parts per billion). The study found that antimony concentrations started at 0.195 ppb and rose to 0.226 ppb after three months at 22 degrees Celsius (71 °F).Antimony is not the only chemical that has been studied in bottled water, a whole range of chemicals from plasticizers to metals have been researched. These studies have found that there are some chemicals, like antimony, that leach into bottled water. As of yet, there is no evidence that these pose a risk to human health.

 

Is leaving your water bottle in the Sun safe?

There are some concerns that the chemical leaching described above happens more frequently at higher temperatures, meaning that leaving your water bottle in the car on a hot day could be dangerous. The 2008 study on antimony levels did indeed find increased leaching at higher temperatures. When water bottles were left at 60 °C (140 °F) it took them 176 days to rise above the threshold of 6 ppb, whilst at 80 °C this only took 1.3 days. These temperatures are very high, so this is likely to only be a problem if you live in a very hot place and regularly leave your water bottle in the Sun to heat up.

 

What about microplastics?

Microplastics are small pieces of plastic. They are found almost everywhere, including in our drinking water. In fact, a study found that 93 percent of freshly opened plastic water bottles contained some microplastic contamination. The WHO looked into the potential dangers of microplastics, but based on current data they have concluded that they do not pose a significant threat to human health. Interestingly, Dr Umar Abdulmutalib from the University of Surrey says, “Newly released plastic bottles might contain more microplastics compared to the used ones”. Dr Marek Cuhra from the Institute of Marine Research in Norway also thinks that “drinking water out of a used and washed bottle should be safer than a brand-new bottle”. His group found that water fleas grew and reproduced better in plastic tubes that had been washed with warm water than in new plastic containers.

 

Are there any other risks?

There is one widely-accepted risk of reusing a disposable plastic water bottle, but this is not chemicals – it’s contamination. As these bottles are not made for durability, they can get easily damaged and crack. Dr Jill Bartolotta says, “The plastic used to make bottles is very thin and consequently subject to cracking due to a weaker structure. These cracks can harbor bacteria.” Contamination is particularly likely if the inside of the bottle is damp. Bacteria can grow very fast in bottled water, one study found an increase from 1 colony per ml to 38,000 colonies per ml in 48 hours when the bottle was kept at 37 °C.

 

The takeaway:

Of the eight experts, six answered that it is likely that it is safe to reuse plastic water bottles. Studies of chemical leaching and microplastics have found that these occur at very low levels and are unlikely to pose serious health threats, unless bottles are repeatedly exposed to very high temperatures. The more likely risk is that of contamination, so if you do reuse a water bottle – remember to wash it regularly.

Reprinted from Science Alert.

Pure Water Gazette Fair Use Statement

Converting your Black and White Countertop RO Unit (Style A) to a Standard 3-stage Black and White Reverse Osmosis Unit

bwrosketch

The Finished Product

 

These instructions apply only to Pure Water Products’ standard style A Countertop Reverse Osmosis Unit.  The parts and instructions do not apply to other products.

 

In addition to the Black and White Style A RO Unit,  here’s what you’ll need:

Our Conversion Kit.  Part Number RP105.  The Kit costs $175 and includes everything you will need.

1  ta005 Storage Tank.

1 jg011 1/4″ tee.

1  jg014 Tank Valve.

1  rc300 Auto Shutoff Valve.

1  rc200 ASO-Membrane Clip

2  rc001 JG Check Valves

1  rc100 Drain Saddle Kit

1  iv100 or iv103 Inlet Kit

1  lf700 Pro-Flo Faucet

5  tb001 Five feet of 1/4″ tubing.

 

 

Here’s how you do it

Converting your Black and White Countertop RO to Undersink

 

1. Install the faucet and inlet kits. When conversion is complete and you install the unit, you will plug the inlet tube into the black (left) housing and the faucet tube into the right (white).

2. Mount the shutoff valve in its clip on top of the RO membrane with the IN/OUT side of the valve facing the capped end of the membrane housing (the end that has only one tube).

3. Remove the tube from the fitting on the membrane cap and install it into the IN port of the shutoff valve.  Run a new tube from the OUT port to the recently vacated fitting in the membrane housing cap.

4. On the other end of the membrane, remove the tube from the Permeate fitting (the one that isn’t the drain) and replace it with a short tube that connects it to the nearest TANK port of the shutoff valve.  Insert a check valve into the new tube between the membrane and the shutoff valve with the arrow pointing toward the shutoff valve.

5. Loop the tube you removed from the Permeate port of the membrane back and insert it into the remaining empty port of the shutoff valve.  (The other end remains connected to the back port of the white postfilter housing.)  At any convenient place in this tube, insert the tee to connect the tank to the unit.

6. Install the shutoff valve onto the top of the storage tank, then use a single tube to connect the tank valve to the tee that you installed in step 5.

7. Install the drain saddle following instructions in the kit and connect the existing RO drain tube to the fitting in the drain saddle.  Install the remaining check valve between the drain line flow restrictor and the drain saddle with the arrow pointing toward the drain saddle.

Refer to the picture at the top of this article as a model, and don’t hesitate to call or email us if you hit a snag.

Pure Water Products

888 382 3814

pwp@purewaterproducts.com