There are certain bacteria and other microorganisms that can be beneficial to our health. A prime example would be the bacteria that’s used to make yoghurt. But, some microorganisms are harmful. They can be found in our water and it makes sense to remove them to protect our health. Public water treatment plants disinfect water to a basic standard, but mistakes do occur and the water delivery infrastructure can be compromised. For this reason, many people install their own water filtration systems at home and this may include a water softener. In this article, we will take a closer look at this technology to answer the question, can your water softener kill bacteria and other microorganisms?

Can a Water Softener Kill Bacteria?

The answer is no. A water softener is purely designed to remove the hardness from the incoming water supply only. Hard water has a high concentration of dissolved mineral content, including calcium, magnesium, iron and others. This causes a number of problems in your home, such as corroded plumbing pipes, scaling, dry skin, worn clothes, poor energy efficiency, soap scum formation and more. Some of these issues are a nuisance and others can have a dramatic effect on your home budget.

Pathogenic vs Non-Pathogenic Bacteria

The first thing to understand is that bacteria is divided into two broad categories, they are: pathogenic and non-pathogenic. The pathogenic bacteria is the category that causes concern and waterborne illnesses account for many fatalities in the world to this day. Both of these bacteria categories are naturally occurring in water supplies and the most common is non-pathogenic iron bacteria which looks red. Unfortunately, many pathogenic bacteria and microorganisms cannot be detected with our senses. To further exacerbate the situation, the resulting health problems may not be immediately noticeable. Experiencing stomach aches, fevers, vomiting, nausea and other symptoms are more obvious signs that something is wrong.

How Can I Remove Bacteria and Other Microorganisms?

There are two main water treatment methods that you can use to disinfect your water at home, they are: Ultraviolet (UV) light and reverse osmosis (RO).

Ultraviolet lights operate at a bandwidth that disrupts the DNA of microorganisms. This prevents them from replicating and renders them harmless to humans. Installing a UV bulb to disinfect the incoming water is relatively easy for your local water treatment specialist.

Reverse osmosis is a filtration method where the incoming water is forced through a semi-permeable membrane under pressure. The pores of the membrane are tiny, only water molecules can pass through and this removes microorganisms and many other contaminants.

Accurate Water Testing

You can purchase water testing kits at many stores, but they are not accurate enough to make major decisions about water treatment methods. Testing for a specific type of microorganism can get expensive due to the culturing and handling requirements. Dealing with harmful organisms safely requires significant resources, specialized equipment, and highly qualified laboratory technicians. To simplify the process, most water testing merely looks for the presence of coliform bacteria. These are the bacteria that are found in the digestive systems of humans and animals and in plant materials and soil structures. Coliform bacteria are non-pathogenic in nature, but their presence is a good indicator that pathogenic bacteria are present in the water.

If you’re concerned about your water quality, contact your local water treatment specialist today.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.