We all know that hard water can be an inconvenience. Washing with hard water requires more soap, and it can cause problems with pipes by creating limescale. This increased use of soap costs households a lot of money and washing limescale is a chore. You would think that cities would provide water that is softer to make life easier on residents, but that isn't always the case. There are a couple of things that we have to know to understand why.
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How Hard Water Forms
Hard water is just the shorter way of saying 'water with minerals in it.' These minerals generally come from the soil and rocks that the water percolates through. Water is great at dissolving minerals and sweeping the constituent elements along with it as it travels to the well or reservoir, and the elements most easily picked up on water's journey is calcium and magnesium. How much calcium and magnesium ride along with your water determines how hard your water is, and this can vary by the source of your water and whether the water has been made slightly acidic by the addition of carbon dioxide. (The slight acidity makes water even better at dissolving minerals.)
How The Minerals Wind Up In City Water?
Cities get their water from a variety of sources. They might own groundwater wells. For instance, Sarasota has 6 wells along University Parkway and some more on the T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Reserve. The water will have picked up minerals from the aquifer from which the wells draw. Cities can own reservoirs that are filled from rivers, which will pass over rocks and draw from groundwater. In addition, cities might buy water from other counties or groups. Sarasota, Punta Gorda, and North Port buy some of their water from the Peace River/Manatee Regional Water Supply Authority, which gets its water from the Peace River and the estuaries of Charlotte Harbor.
Regardless of whether your city buys its water, uses above-ground reservoirs, operates its own wells, or combines many sources, a lot of the water will ultimately come from aquifers or rivers. The US Geological Survey classifies the river water in most of Florida as hard because they found the water to have between 121 and 180 milligrams of calcium carbonate per liter of water, with the exception of the very center of the state which had moderately hard water. How hard the water in your particular region of Florida is may vary wildly, but you can see that our state tends to have calcium in the rivers.
It isn't that this mineral water is given to you straight from Florida's rivers. Cities and water authorities such as the Peace River/ Manatee Regional Water Supply Authority have rigorous processes for removing and filtering out contaminants; it's just that calcium and magnesium aren't often considered contaminants. They don't pose a physical health risk and water suppliers prefer to focus on things that could do more damage, such as lead, arsenic, and herbicides. Calcium and magnesium often don't show up on water quality reports, so cities are sometimes not monitoring water for hardness at all. This means that many cities will have hard water without knowing it.
Understandably, cities have to prioritize what they remove from the water that they supply to their residents, but that doesn't mean that you have to settle for hard water. Here at Certain Services, we pride ourselves in creating water treatments to solve just these types of problems. We even test water for quality and provide plumbing services. If you suspect that your municipal water is hard, contact us. We can help.