Salt in well water

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Mikebarone, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. Mikebarone

    Mikebarone DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I know this is a little far off from being a plumbing question, but with all of the knowledge I’ve found on this forum, I figured I’d give it a try.
    I have a client that is on well water out here in Phoenix Az. where the water is as hard as a rock. She was getting a white film in her black kitchen sink, and on her shower head etc. She does have a water softener, and the first thing I thought of is the softener is not working, or it’s not sized correctly. So she had a factor rep come out and everything was working like it should.
    I then tasted the film, and it tasted salty. She took a sample of the water (sampled from a point outside, before it came into the house) and took the sample in to have the water analyzed. The results came back where she has salt and salt by-products in the water.
    Does anyone know how to remove (or neutralize) salt form water coming into the house. I’ve heard that you can’t use a reverse osmosis system, because the water will damage copper lines in the house.

    Thanks for any help,

    Mike
  2. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Reverse Osmosis product water can be treated to make it suitable for copper piping. That will be one of the easier problems to solve.

    There are those who believe home owners can't be trusted to operate a well with a cartridge filter. That is nothing compared to operating a reverse osmosis system if they are going to have more than an under-the-sink system for a bit of drinking and cooking water.

    The first thing to be done is to determine what the water can be used for without treatment, and how much water must be treated. That requires a complete water analysis and discussion with the homeowner.

    Then a tradeoff of the options must be done. The options should include hauling water, collecting rainwater (not much in Phoenix), different well (what do others get from wells), split systems to minimize the amount to be treated, extreme conservation, combinations of the above, and others that I haven't thought of. How much can the owner afford, and how much do they want to spend for convenience?

    The tradeoffs must be based on concept designs for the alternatives. It will involve some expenditure to get to the correct decision.

    The customer should take time to be fully informed about the options, because the customer will have to operate the system, unless you have a "cost is no object" customer.

    This is the kind of situation where the customer would be well served to find a knowledgeable person that they trust who has no financial interest in the outcome of the tradeoffs and the final choice of system.

    Here is a link to start. http://www.appliedmembranes.com/
  3. Mikebarone

    Mikebarone DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thanks Bob NH,

    I knew it…I knew it…I knew it…I knew someone would know how to help!
    The home owner is on a community well. She doesn’t use a lot of water because she is the only one that lives there, (lives there alone), and she can haul water for other needs, (she has a 1000 gal storage tank for a back up, if the community well goes down for repairs.
    I personally will be interested on how to use RO water in copper pipes. When I was building my house, I per-plumbed a ½†copper line to all the bathroom the refrigerator, and the kitchen sink so I could just have one RO system in the garage and have RO through the entire house. After finding out that I couldn’t have RO water in copper pipes I was a little bummed, to say the least….and now there is still hope!

    Thanks again for the help!

    Mike

    P.S. Good web site! I’ll contact then with my same question.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2006
  4. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Mike, post the analysis results.

    BTW, RO is not the only choice of treatment.
  5. Marc

    Marc New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Is it possible the factory rep tested for hardness, saw the water coming out wasn't hard, and said everythign was working well with the softener?

    Could the softener be busted and allowing the salt into the water? It'd be interesting to get a water test before the softener, but I doubt you'll want to pay the lab fee again for a long shot.
  6. Mikebarone

    Mikebarone DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Response to Gary and Marc…

    First off, thank you both for the help!

    To Gary: I contacted the home owner, and she is going to dig up the water analysis and I’ll get you a copy for sure. Thanks!

    To Marc: I kind of suspected the same thing, so I had her take the water sample at a point where it was outside of the house, (before it got to the water softener). She just told me this morning, that all of her neighbors have the same problem and they too have water softeners.
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Mike, there are a number of things that can cause her white powdery substance on any surface the water is allowed to evaporate on.

    Those things are chlorides, sulfates, sodium and high TDS (total dissolved solids) etc.. And then there is the added sodium from the softener; 7.85 mg/l, roughly a quart, per grain per gallon of ion exchange.

    Marc, usually if a softener is busted, it can't/won't soften the water totally.
  8. Mikebarone

    Mikebarone DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thanks Gary

    She is still looking for that report.
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