Septic Tank vs Water Softener

February 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Septic Tanks
Are there harmful effects of water softener discharges on household septic tanks?

Here are the answers to that question and the effects of using a water softener with a septic system.

It is not true that water softener regeneration discharges pose a problem to septic systems or to the leach field. Studies have shown that water softener regeneration wastes do not interfere with the septic tank system drain field soil percolation, but because of the polyvalent water hardness cations in the regeneration discharges improve soil percolation particularly in fine-textured soils.

WQA has research reports by the University of Wisconsin and the National Sanitation Foundation on septic tanks and water softeners. This research was completed in the late 1970s. It was about that time that numerous regulatory agencies were contemplating restriction on the discharge of water softener wastes to private sewage disposal systems.

More recently the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reviewed this research report, and an expert in on-site waste treatment wrote October 1993 that he “does not believe that the conclusions of the earlier study would change since the chemistry and physics of soils have not. “He also goes on to say that he knows this work to remain scientifically excellent“.

These studies conclusively show that water softener waste effluents cause no problems for septic tanks.

The allowance of water treatment system discharges to hundreds of thousands of septic tank systems is practically universal now. It has not caused damage or hazards but it has provided convenience and economic savings to many homeowners. This conclusion is supported by the Ten States’ “Recommended Standards for Individual Sewage Systems” The states have concluded that even in Montmorillinite clay soils, the disposal of brine wastes from water softening equipment does not have a significant effect upon the permeability of soils suitable for soil absorption systems.

The addition of sodium to a septic system by use of soft water actually has beneficial effects on the digestion of wastes by bacteria. the volume of waste from a water softener that is added to the septic tank is not of sufficient volume to cause any deleterious hydraulic load problems. In fact, they are lower in volume and rate of addition than wastes from automatic washers. The calcium and magnesium in softener regeneration wastes contribute to good air and water movement (improved soil percolation) through the septic system drainage field.

The University of Wisconsin and teh National Sanitation Foundation reports clearly indicate that when the sodium content from the softener regeneration cycle is discharged into the soil via a septic system along with other salts such as calcium, magnesium, and iron the result is an improvement in the soil’s percolation rather than a detriment.

A letter from Dr. Fred P Miller, Professor of Soil Science, Department of Agronomy, University of Maryland indicates this same conclusion. Dr Miller points out that when the septic system is receiving water only, containing a very low mineral content, and not receiving the mineral salts from the backwash cycle, this condition “might result in swelling and dispersion of clay and lowered hydraulic conductivity in the absorption field”.

Tere are other advantages that are directly related to the use of ion exchange softened water when the hardness minerals calcium and magnesium are removed by softening, The homeowner uses less soap — studies have indicated as much as 50 – 75% less. There are also less biodegradable products discharged into the system which relieves the loading on the system.

It is a known fact that many homeowners do not maintain a septic system properly, not pumping the system at proper intervals allows detergent solids, as well as other solids, to be carried over into the drainage area causing clogging. Also, by having soft or stain free water available the homeowner’s fabrics are cleaner and teh amount of water used can be reduced. This reduces the loading on the septic system a great deal.

Many people may be under the impression that water conditioning equipment regenerates quite frequently and puts a high loading of sodium salts in to the waste water. This , of course is not true, the average family of four people would require softener regeneration approximately four to five times a week.

The Water Quality Improvement Industry has earnestly sought to sort out the factual information on softener effluent. The septic tank study clearly indicates that there are no adverse effects when water conditioning effluent is discharged into properly installed private septic systems. There are a few additional reports that also explain further evidence of the hardness ions in a softener’s regeneration wastes causing less clogging and maintaining higher permeability than the regular septic tank effluent.


Certainly Shakespeare didn’t have the problem of deciding whether or not to use a softener with his septic disposal system. However, with 20 million on-site household disposal systems, this question has been asked by many homeowner. Can softened water cause problems for consumers on a septic system? After targeted research, the answer is NO — soften with confidence.

On-site household sewage disposal system work simply. The main soil pipe from a home’s plumbing system empties into a concrete or steel tank buried a prescribed distance from the house and beneath the frost line. The  common single-compartment tank has a baffle near the inlet pipe which prevents the effluent from backing up, and reduces the turbulence of the incoming waste. Once the effluent enters the tank, the heavier solids sink to the bottom, while more buoyant substances rise to the surface. Various bacteria present in the effluent, as well as other organisms which have been introduced to the tank, digest the waste material and chemically change it. the bacterial action, working in the absence of oxygen, is referred to as an anaerobic process. Another vented system is operationally similar, but the decomposition is aerobic, i.e. requires air.

After the bacterial action occurs, relatively clear water is discharged through the outlet pipe of the tank, It flows to a distribution box, where is is diverted to the drainage field through perforated, loosely connected pipes. The loose joints and perforations permit seepage into the surrounding soil. To enhance the water dispersion, the pipes are generally laid in beds of gravel or loose rock.

This covers the disposal system side of the story. The other side concerns water before it gets to the tap, and features the water softening system.

A typical water softener uses a resinous material that attracts sodium ions. The ion exchange resin reacts with the influent water exchanging the sodium ions for the calcium and magnesium ions. Calcium and magnesium are naturally occurring minerals present in many water sources. The presence of these ions makes water “hard” exchanging the calcium and magnesium ions for sodium or potassium ions “softens” the water. During the regeneration cycle, the hardness ions are removed from the softener exchange resin, and discharged with the backwash and some excess regenerant salt (sodium chloride or potassium chloride) that is necessary to drive the regeneration reaction.

Faulty Assumptions: In the 1970s, a number of counties and states became concerned about the effects of the softened water on septic systems. Although the assumptions proved wrong, there were three primary reasons for what turned out to be unfounded concerns and false assumptions. It is commonly known that bacterial life forms are threatened if their surroundings have too much or too little salt. It was feared that the higher concentration of salt in the effluent or softened water would be harmful or fatal to the tank’s bacterial action.

The second concern was that the backwash flow rate during regeneration would introduce water faster than the tank could handle. This would force effluent out of the tank before the bacterial action could be completed. In other words, “unprocessed waste water” would be sent out into the drainage field.

Finally, it was feared that the salt brine produced by the softener would lower the drainage field’s ability to absorb water. This assumption came from agricultural studies on irrigation systems with high sodium content.

These were “common sense” arguments about a suspected problem, and weren’t verified facts resulting from scientific testing. As a result of these assumptions, legislation was passed in some areas preventing softened water from being used on a septic system. To address this situation, the Water Quality Association (WQA) sponsored research at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) and at the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). These groups conducted comprehensive studies to confirm or reject these assumptions.

Results Favor Softening

The opposite of the assumptions listed above were shown to be true as a result of scientific testing.

First, “the effect of softened water on bacteria was actually beneficial rather than detrimental”. The normal salt content found in “unsoftened, hard” effluent is less than ideal for bacterial growth. The addition of sodium to the system was found to bring the bacterial environment closer to the optimal range. Soft water was, in effect, “healthy” for the organisms.

Second, the volume of backwash during regeneration did not disrupt the time involved in bacterial processing of effluent, it was easily within the limits that the tank could handle.

It was noted that an automatic dishwasher would pose a greater threat on these grounds than would a water softener!

Concerns about salt and soil absorption rates were also dispelled. The increased sodium content in the tank’s discharge was shown to have no detrimental effect on the soil’s ability to absorb water in a normal drainage field. Interestingly, certain soil conditions benefitted from it. Additionally, when the softener’s calcium-rich regeneration backwash emptied into the septic system, the discharge could actually improve the soil’s percolation. (Gypsum, a high calcium mineral, has long been used to increase the porosity of clay soils.)

The conclusions drawn from these tests are that softened water is NOT harmful to a normally operating septic system or drainage field. Obviously, this is good news to anyone who has suffered through dingy dishes or clothes, or struggled with precipitate build-up in pipes due to hard water.

Homeowners can enjoy all the benefits of soft water without worrying that it will disrupt the efficiency of the household septic system.

When Water Tastes Better

You Will Drink More of It!

Water is easily one of the most important resources in the world; without it, we literally would cease to exist.  Water covers 70 percent  of the earth, and the average body contains about 60 to 70 percent of it.

Every day, people of all ages and from all walks of life rely on water for not only drinking, cooking bathing, plumbing, and more—but for overall health and well-being..

For Mike Mattox, General Manager of Kinetico  Quality Water, making sure that his customers get the clean, pure water they need and deserve is by far one of the best parts of his job.

Everyone needs water, but knowing that I’m helping people get water that is clean and good for them—that’s wonderful.”

‘Rich’ Water

Mike has worked in the industry for about 27 years.  He says the most common issue he and his staff hear about from customers is how hard the water is in the Phoenix metropolitan area.  “Living in the middle of the desert,  our water is rich in minerals such as calcium and magnesium.

We treat the odor that it can sometimes create while also helping to reduce the white spots and scale hard water leaves all over your home,” he says, adding that Kinetico system also protects plumbing, appliances, faucets and fixtures.

“Some hard water damage you can see, like etching on glasses and silverware, but some you can’t see like build-up inside, your pipes and water heater.”

Cleaner Water, Greener World

“Kinetico is one of the best and most bio-friendly systems; for example, to purge and regenerate, it takes just 13 gallons of water, most other systems use more,” he explains.

“Plus our systems work off of water pressure, using no electricity.”

In addition, Mattox notes, with a Kinetico home water system, customer are more likely to drink water straight from the tap, as opposed to buying cases and cases of bottled water, 83% of which end up in landfills.

“We know when water tastes great, families are likely to drink more of it.”

“I think the most rewarding aspect for me is to be a part of something so important while helping people get good water in their homes.”

Categories: Kinetico

Why do I want fluoride taken out of my water?

September 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Isn’t fluoride good for my teeth?

Fluoride is good for your teeth, however it is a heavy metal and is not good for the rest of your body. If you feel you have a fluoride deficiency, there are other alternatives that you can talk to your dentist about like fluoride toothpaste, drops and tablets.

Dr. Arvid Carlsson, winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize for Medicine, writes the Professionals’ Statement Calling for an End to Water Fluoridation:

 “Fluoridation is against all principles of modern pharmacology”
“It’s really obsolete”

Ken Cook, President of the Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog organization, states “It is time for the US to recognize that fluoridation has serious risks that far outweigh any minor benefits”.

Unlike many other environmental issues, it’s as easy to end as turning off valve at the water plant.

Report: Too much fluoride in U.S. Water – ABC News/Health

What is the answer?

The Kinetico K5 Drinking Water Station has been certified by the National Sanitation Foundation for the reduction of Flouride from water. TU/   Through this certification Kinetico’s K5 Drinking Water Station can provide added security against oral ingestion of Flouride and advanced compliance to any possible new regulations.

Kinetico K5 Drinking Water Station – (YouTube)


NSF Product and Service Listings – NSF/ANSI STANDARD 058 Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Treatment Systems

Here is a great link to learn much about this subject:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Read some interesting excerpts from that site, in some regions in the U.S. community drinking water and home wells can contain levels of naturally occurring fluoride that are greater than the optimal levels recommended by the CDC for prevention of tooth decay.

EPA currently has a non-enforceable recommended guideline for fluoride of 2.0mg/L that is set to protect against cosmetic effects. If your home is served by a water system that has fluoride levels exceeding this recommended guideline, current EPA recommendations are that children should be provided with alternative sources of drinking water.

What are the effects of excess levels of fluoride and why are they different for children and adults different? 

Adults exposed to excessive consumption of fluoride over a lifetime may have increased likelihood of bone fractures, and may result in effects on bone leading to pain and tenderness.

For effects to teeth, children are most likely to be affected by excessive exposure to fluoride because it impacts teeth while they are still in formative phases. Children aged 8 years and younger exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride have an increased chance of developing pits in the tooth enamel, along with a range of cosmetic effects to teeth. For prevention of tooth decay, the beneficial effects of fluoride extend throughout the life span.

Are there methods I can use to remove fluoride from my drinking water at home?

The typical charcoal-based water filtration systems used in most homes do not remove fluoride from water. Boiling water does not remove fluoride. More costly distillation and reverse osmosis are treatment methods that have proven to be effective for removing fluoride to below 4.0 mg/L.

If you choose to use home water treatment, make sure that the filter you use is certified to address your concerns. There are several independent American National Standards Institute (ANSI) certified organizations that test and certify home water treatment units.

What are the adverse health effects of excessive fluoride exposure?

Severe skeletal fluorosis is a rare condition in the United States. The EPA exposure analysis suggests that the effects on bone in adults are of greatest concern for those living in areas with high natural background levels of fluoride and favoring beverages, such as tea, that are high in fluoride.

In a remarkable turnabout, federal health officials say many Americans are now getting too much fluoride because of its presence not just in drinking water but in toothpaste, mouthwash and other products, and it’s causing splotches on children’s teeth and perhaps more serious problems.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced plans to lower the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water for the first time in nearly 50 years, based on a fresh review of the science.

The announcement is likely to renew the battle over fluoridation, even though the addition of fluoride to drinking water is considered one of the greatest public health successes of the 20th century. The U.S. prevalence of decay in at least one tooth among teens has declined from about 90 percent to 60 percent. The government first began urging municipal water systems to add fluoride in the early 1950s. Since then, it has been put in toothpaste and mouthwash. It is also in a lot of bottled water and in soda. Some kids even take fluoride supplements. Now, young children may be getting too much.

“Like anything else, you can have too much of a good thing”
Dr. Howard Pollick
Professor at the University of California, San Francisco Dental School
Spokesman for the American Dental Association

One reason behind the change: About 2 out of 5 adolescents have tooth streaking or spottiness because of too much fluoride, a government study found recently. In extreme cases, teeth can be pitted by the mineral — though many cases are so mild only dentists notice it. The problem is generally considered cosmetic and not a reason for serious concern.

The splotchy tooth condition, fluorosis, is unexpectedly common in youngsters ages 12 through 15 and appears to have grown more common since the 1980s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But there are also growing worries about more serious dangers from fluoride.

The Environmental Protection Agency released two new reviews of research on fluoride. One of the studies found that prolonged, high intake of fluoride can increase the risk of brittle bones, fractures and crippling bone abnormalities.

Critics of fluoridated water seized on the proposed change to renew their attacks on it — a battle that dates back to at least the Cold War 1950s, when it was denounced by some as a step toward Communism. Many activists nowadays don’t think fluoride is essential, and they praised the government’s new steps.

“Anybody who was anti-fluoride was considered crazy,” said Deborah Catrow, who successfully fought a ballot proposal in 2005 that would have added fluoride to drinking water in Springfield, Ohio. “It’s amazing that people have been so convinced that this is an OK thing to do.

Dental and medical groups applauded the announcement. “This change is necessary because Americans have access to more sources of fluoride than they did when water fluoridation was first introduced” Dr. O. Marion Burton, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said in a statement.

The fluoridated water standard since 1962 has been a range of 0.7 parts per million for warmer climates where people used to drink more water to 1.2 parts per million in cooler regions. The new proposal from HHS would set the recommended level at just 0.7. Meanwhile, the EPA said it is reviewing whether to lower the maximum allowable level of fluoride in drinking water from the current 4 parts per million.”EPA’s new analysis will help us make sure that people benefit from tooth decay prevention while at the same time avoiding the unwanted health effects from too much fluoride” said Peter Silva, an EPA assistant administrator.

Fluoride is a mineral that exists in water and soil. About 70 years ago, scientists discovered that people whose supplies naturally had more fluoride also had fewer cavities.

In 1945, Grand Rapids, Mich., became the world’s first city to add fluoride to its drinking water. Six years later a study found a dramatic decline in tooth decay among children there, and the surgeon general endorsed water fluoridation.

In 1955, Procter & Gamble Co. marketed the first fluoride toothpaste, Crest, with the slogan “Look, Mom, no cavities!” But that same year, The New York Times called fluoridation of public water one of the country’s “fiercest controversies.” The story said some opponents called the campaign for fluoridation “The work of Communists who want to soften the brains of the American people.

According to a CDC report, nearly 23 percent of children ages 12 to 15 had fluorosis in a study done in 1986-87. That rose to 41 percent in a study that covered 1999 through 2004.

The report of discoloration has been going up over the years” said Dr. Robert Barsley, a professor at the LSU Health Sciences Center School of Dentistry. “It is not the water that’s causing this by any means. It’s the extra fluoride products — toothpaste, mouthwash — that people are using. And people want nice white teeth so they brush three times a day.”

Susan Jeansonne, oral health program manager for Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, said one reason for the problem is children swallowing fluoride toothpaste or eating it.

Toothpaste labels have long recommended that parents supervise children under 6 when they are brushing their teeth, give them only a pea-size amount, and make sure they spit it out. Toddlers under 2 shouldn’t use toothpaste with fluoride.

In 2006, the National Academy of Sciences released a report recommending that the EPA lower its maximum allowable level of fluoride in drinking water. The report warned severe fluorosis could occur at 2 parts per million. Also, a majority of the report’s authors said a lifetime of drinking water with fluoride at 4 parts per million or higher could raise the risk of broken bones.

Categories: Water Information

Chlorine and Your Water…

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

In many areas, chlorine must be added to water supplies in order to ensure its quality and safety.

Although chlorine is necessary when storing or delivering water to your home, chlorinated water in the home often presents problems such as:

  • Bad-smelling water
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Faded clothing
  • Damage to plastic and rubber parts in water using appliances and toilets

Many people are also concerned about the possible effects of inhaling chlorine fumes while showering.  Kinetico’s unique dechlorination systems are able to provide you with chlorine-free water 24-hours a day, no matter how much water you use.

They’re dependable, economical, and they provide you with the chlorine-free water you want and deserve.

Some people recommend a whole house filteration and conditioning system only.

That’s fine for chlorinated city water which is naturally soft, low TDS, neutral PH and meets all U.S. EPA guidelines.

Rarely if ever does water in Arizona conform to those standards.

There is no “Silver Bullet” water system or technology. Kinetico can provide unique patented solutions with the “right technology” the first time and get it right every-time.

While we offer a plethora of systems and technologies our most popular solutions combine all three: Softening, Filtration and Purification to provide a complete water quality improvement solution.

Whole house filtration - removes chlorine, foul odors, and tastes from all of the water to the home. The whole house filtration system provides Chlorine-Free Water throughout your home which allows you to drink from every tap, providing water quality similar to having a refrigerator filter on the whole house. It does not remove contaminants like water hardness, sodium, heavy metals virus and bacteria, however.

(Note: Some of our water softener combo systems already have the whole house filtration built in; combination systems that soften and dechlorinate water eliminate the need to purchase separate softening and filtration systems )

Kinetico’s customized solutions help users maximize water’s life-sustaining potential.  De-chlorination systems remove additives to help skin stay moist. Chlorine found in some water sources can also dry and dull skin and hair.

Kinetico Whole house water systems counteract the damaging effects of chlorine and chlorine by-products. Kinetico systems are built to last a lifetime. They are entirely non-electric, and have been engineered to eliminate almost all of the problems and headaches associated with water systems.

Kinetico Advantages

  • Effective Whole-House Dechlorination with Up-flow Filtration
  • High-Capacity Activated Carbon Bed
  • Simple, Reliable and Economical Operation
  • Installation and Service by Trained Water Treatment Professionals
  • For use on any water supply where dechlorination is desired
  • Activated carbon adsorbs objectionable tastes and odors from chlorinated water
  • Eliminates drying of hair and skin from chlorine
  • Reduces deterioration of rubber seals in fixtures and appliances
  • Assures consistent and continuous chlorine-free water
  • Protects skin and hair, clothing, plumbing and appliances
  • Efficient Use of Water. No water consumption to dechlorinate

Minimal maintenance, Just replace the activated carbon when capacity is reached. Typically three to five years for a water supply with average chlorination.

Categories: Water Information

Great Skin? Stay Hydrated

Staying Hydrated is an Important Part of Every Skin Care Regimen

Because skin dries as it ages, drinking water not only maintains healthy younger-looking skin but also helps skin detoxify itself reducing the effects of sunlight and everyday pollutants from smoking to smog.

A New York Times Magazine article quoted an expert New York dermatologist stating that “regular hard water exposure can lead to similar skin damage as that seen from sitting in the sun without adequate protection“.

Treating the water that people wash with is equally as important as treating the water they consume!

While traveling through pipes, water collects heavy metals and other elements.  Older pipes, found in many cities and homes across the country, can leave metallic deposits in water. These deposits, along with other elements, make water hard and accelerate the aging process.

Harmful to collagen, the protein that supports the skin’s outer layer, these deposits create more fine lines and wrinkles by weakening skin and making it less elastic Deposits such as iron, copper, zinc, magnesium and lead thicken the skin’s oil and make it waxy which can block pores and lead to acne, blackheads, redness or irritation.

Calcium and chlorine found in some water sources can also dry and dull skin and hair. In addition, the sulfate sometimes found in untreated tap water can actually attract calcium and chlorine onto the skin exacerbating their harmful effects.

Soaps and other cleaning agents work less effectively in hard water, making it necessary to buy more products to achieve the same results. Looking good is hard enough already why make it harder with hard water?

Those concerned about the harmful effects of unfiltered water have a variety of water treatment systems to choose from

  • Whole-house systems help keep skin healthy and younger-looking not only by treating the water that users drink but also the water they use to bathe and clean.
  • De-chlorination systems remove additives to help skin stay moist.
  • Water softeners counteract the damaging effects of hard water and other mineral deposits.
Home water treatment systems will help you keep your skin soft and young as well as increase the life of your appliances and clothes. There are many benefits, these listed are but a few.

Categories: Water Information

There is NO SUCH THING as Electronic, Magnetic or other Voodoo Softening

The world of salt-free water treatment is constantly evolving with more and more companies joining the fray.

These “alternative” products include Magnetic, Catalytic, Electric, and Electro Dialysis conditioners. Some companies are selling their products the right way i.e. explaining how it works without engaging in hyperbole, while others are not so “above-board” in their tactics.

I would encourage anyone who is looking to go “salt-free” to think about whether the company they are considering is really a “water treatment company” or simply a company that is interested in selling a salt-free product with little else to offer.

There is no “Black Box” that solves all water problems!

     If you are dealing with a “full-line” water treatment company, you generally can rest assured that they have the expertise to know which product to apply to specific water problems. Softening is a chemical process, Period.

When hardness, in the form of calcium and magnesium ions, is dissolved in water it has a positive charge (+2). As water is passed through a softener resin bed, those ions attach themselves to the resin, releasing 2 sodium ions (+1 each). Now the soft water no longer has hardness ions to create hard deposits in your appliances and on surfaces in your home. The salt is used to make a strong brine solution to regenerate the resin. As the strong brine passes over the resin, it forces the calcium and magnesium off of the resin and replaces them with sodium again, ready to soften more water; and the excess salt is flushed down the drain.

You cannot, by virtue of an electrical current or magnetic field, change the fundamental properties of a calcium ion to prevent it from causing scale except for the exact location where the field is located. Once that water is heated up, in your water heater for instance, or the water is disturbed at all (running through your pipes will do it) you no longer have any effect on the water from the magnetic field and you’re right back where you started with hard water and lime-scaling.

The reason softeners protect your home plumbing system is because they physically remove the calcium and magnesium from the water. The brine tank does not remove the hardness the softener resin does that.

Simply put, the softener resin has beads of ions hanging off of it. Those ions have a stronger attraction to calcium and magnesium. As water flows through, the resin releases sodium and grabs calcium, leaving the water soft. When the resin has grabbed as much calcium as it can hold a strong brine solution is run through the resin bed overwhelming it with sodium so it is forced to release the calcium and grab sodium. This solution is sent to the drain, the bed is rinsed of brine and the softener is ready for service again.

The Electronic or Magnetic gizmos don’t remove anything from the water, therefore leaving the hard water scaling entirely intact.

   It’s particularly interesting that these companies do not in any way actually explain their “technology”. Their pictures are bogus and unverified. They are counting on the fact that most people do not know enough about water chemistry to realize their assertions are fundamentally flawed. All of the no-salt “softener” folks refuse a real-world third party test like U.S. EPA or NSF every time, without exception. They would like you to purchase their systems without independent verification. Makes one wonder why?

     When you are ready to buy a Softener and/or Conditioner it is important to understand the difference between the two. Many companies are calling their product a “salt-free” softener, this softener has not been invented so that would indicate that it is a “salt-free” conditioner and can not soften the water in your home.

     To those of you that continue to believe that the Ion Exchange Water softener is the tried, proven, and true way of removing calcium & magnesium (hardness) from the water, you are on the right course.

     The alternative devices will run the course and have to prove the science. Right now they exist because of lack of education for consumers, however that is starting to change. Many new websites are popping up containing information about the true science (or lack thereof) pertaining to these devices.

     Major player in the water treatment market owns the website name “Salt Free Water Softener” and will soon launch education on these devices. Look at the WQA Battelle study results showing that the water softener is the greenest device today’s consumer can own in their home. Remember that Water sense is based on water wasted.

For example a 1 cubic foot Ion Exchange water softener using salt on 20 grain hard water can treat 1,400 gallons while only wasting 39.  That’s 96% efficiency. A washing machine, dishwasher, and whole house humidifier waste 100%.

I would say to the Alternative Methods or physical Device manufacturers this: There is a large market of potential water treatment clients that would own these products if they had quality, ethical, science backed by an ANSI accredited program that proved these devices did what is claimed. Don’t you think that if they did what they said, everyone would be selling them?

If they actually worked they would get them approved for ANSI Performance. None of these alternative companies or products can or will do this.

Categories: Water Information

Airborne Bacteria – Pink Ring

Have you ever wondered why there is a “Pink” ring in your toilet or other areas of the bathroom?

A letter to Linda “Queen of Clean” Cobb:

I have lived in the Valley all of my adult life (actually since I was 3 months old).

I have live in many homes and apartments across the Valley. Some of the homes had water softener units and some did not. Currently, I live in South Gilbert for the past 5 years. We have a kinetico system.

The question I have, please note, there has yet been anyone able to answer this or supply an explanation, even Kinetico.

Constantly, there is a pinkish colored slime sort of substance that shows up on the toilet bowls, corners of the shower and the tubs. It has been known to accumulate in the shower heads and faucet spouts. It is not hard to wipe away, it is just an annoying issue and I would like to know what is causing this.

This is the first home in all the years that I have experienced this.

We use potassium instead of the salt pellets. Could this be the cause of this foreign substance? I have only once heard of anyone else with this issue and it was in an article in the AZ Republic asking the same question I am. The response was how to clean it and that is not the issue. It just wipes away.

I want to know what it is and where it comes from and how to stop it from appearing.

Please help… I bet this is one that will stump you Q of C.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Thank you,
Sherri from Gilbert

From: Queen of Clean

Hi Sherri,

What a great question and believe it or not, I Have an answer for you.

The “pink” problem that you have is less likely a problem associated with water quality than a naturally occurring airborne bacteria and is also affected by the homeowners cleaning habits…. that doesn’t mean you don’t clean well!

What you have is a bacteria that produces a pink film, and sometimes a dark gray film, on surfaces that are regularly moist, including toilet bowls, showerheads, sink drains, and tiles.

The problem commonly occurs in humid regions of the country. Although the exact bacteria species cannot be known without extensive extensive testing, it is commonly thought to be Serratia Marcescens. This thrives on moisture, dust and phosphates. Many times people will even notice this harmless bacteria growing in their pet’s water bowls.

What is interesting is that the growing of this bacteria can be aggravated if customers remove the chlorine from the water by way of an activated carbon filter. This is interesting to me because the bacteria is harmless and what kills it, the chlorine in our water, is harmful.

Here is what you can do. Put some chlorine bleach in your toilet, let it sit then swish and flush. You can even put it in the tank, although with natural products I like Clean and Shield Multi Surface Cleaner, or Bathroom Cleaner, which you can buy at Albertson’s. This provides a shield that prevents mold, mildew, and bacteria from growing.

Some cleaning products can aggravate the condition. After showers wipe down or squeegee the walls to remove moisture. If you see it, put a little bleach on a paper towel and wipe.

Here is a surprising solution. Once you are done cleaning, spray the wall tile, caulking, etc. with Endust and wipe. Endust keeps the air away from the area and keeps dust from settling, something we have plenty of in Arizona. DO NOT spray the floor or it will be slippery. I am not sure why this works but it seems to do the trick.

Hope this has helped you. I love interesting, unusual questions like yours!

Linda Cobb

Visit:  The Queen of Clean
Cleaning tips, products and more from Linda Cobb

Categories: Water Information

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