Many of us probably remember carrying out a litmus paper test and watching it turn red or blue in a science class. This simple visual indicator for the pH levels of acidity and alkalinity in a given substance was a basic introduction to the subject. There is a lot more to understand about pH values, the importance of achieving a balance and the effects of having a diet that is too alkaline or acidic. Throughout this article, bear in mind that a pH value of 7 is deemed to be neutral, a lower number is more acidic and higher is more alkaline.
The Importance of Water Consumption
Although attention has been drawn to the pH balance of foods in recent years, water consumption has been relatively ignored, and this is unfortunate. A human body is composed mainly of water, and we should all be drinking at least eight 8oz glasses of water every day. The pH level of the water we consume definitely affects our health, especially over an extended period of time. Although there are other factors that are important, such as the mineral content, toxicity levels, and cleanliness, the pH levels of water are rarely considered.
The pH Levels of Water
The first interesting factor to bear in mind is that the pH level of the water is a good indicator of how hard or soft it is. Pure water has a pH level of 7 which is a neutral balance and ideal for drinking. In nature, we find that surface water systems generally exist within a range of 6.5 to 8.5. Groundwater systems are slightly different with a range from 6.0 to 8.5. The alkalinity of the water is a measure of the capacity of the water to resist changes in pH levels that would increase acidity. When we measure alkalinity and pH levels, we can determine the corrosiveness of the water.
The Properties of Water
Water with a lower pH level is acidic, corrosive and soft; it is more likely to contain potentially toxic metal ions, such as manganese, copper, iron, zinc and lead. Water like this can cause premature damage to metal plumbing fixtures and pipes due to its acidity. When drunk, acidic water may taste metallic or sour. When used domestically, laundered clothes may be stained, and there could be blue/green stains around sinks and drains. It is quite common to raise a lower pH level using a neutralizer using chemicals; this may be sodium carbonate (soda ash) which raises the sodium levels.
Higher pH levels usually indicate that the water is hard, this is not toxic like acidic water, but there are other issues. Water with pH levels around 8.5 will taste bitter, scale deposits will form around laundry basins, and detergent will not lather easily. Appliances will fail early, and repairs will be required more often as scale will cause damage.
If you’re at all concerned about the pH levels in your drinking water supply, talk to your local water treatment professional. There are highly effective water softeners/water conditioners and filtrations systems available to address your particular problem. Always ensure that your water treatment professional is fully WQA certified and you can be sure that they meet and even exceed industry standards.
About The Author, Terry Reeh, EcoWater Systems of Nebraska:
With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative. Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices. EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery businesses in the state.