A basic grasp of high school chemistry is all we need when it comes to understanding that acids are corrosive. But, it’s interesting to note that even mild acidic water can be harmful to the plumbing pipes and fixtures in your home. Acidic drinking water may be laced with harmful chemical contaminants that are detrimental to your health. In this article, we take a closer look at where acidic water comes from, the effects on your home, and what you can do to fix this problem.
Where Does Acidic Water Come From?
There are a number of natural sources of acidic water. Rainwater is usually mildly acidic and the microbes in soil, plant roots, and other organic sources produce acids and carbon dioxide. Certain sediments and sedimentary rocks contact minerals that neutralize most of the acid in water that passes through them. But, igneous and metamorphic rocks are effective acid-neutralizers and the end result is acidic groundwater. Acidity is exacerbated by acid rain and bodies of water such as rivers and lakes may be mildly acidic.
How Does This Affect Private Wells?
It’s estimated that more than 50% of drinking water found in private wells in certain states is supplied from acidic sources of groundwater. This applies equally to both shallow and deep groundwater sources. It is very common for groundwater to be acidic and this causes an interaction with organic matter and acid-producing minerals. The chemical process that occurs may lower the pH level of the water and cause water quality problems.
Understanding pH Levels
The pH level is a measure of how basic or acidic the water is and most people believe that this is represented on a 0-14 scale with the water becoming more alkaline as the numbers rise. But, in reality, there is no upper or lower limit to this scale and it is possible to have extremely acidic water with a negative pH value. Water outside the usually 0-14 scale is extremely rare and a pH value of 7 is considered to be neutral. To put this into some perspective, well water with a pH of 3 would be highly acidic and at a pH of 5 up to 6.5, the water would be mildly acidic. The pH level of your drinking water can be tested by you at home with an inexpensive kit.
Acidity is improperly understood by many people, the PH and acidity relationship is determined by the amount of acids in a given volume of water. Generally speaking, lower pH water tends to be more acidic, but this may not be the case. The types and amounts of acids present in the water may affect the pH level and even alkaline water can be acidic! This can be confusing, but the main takeaway for consumers is that neutral water with a pH of 7 is more desirable for home use.
If you have acidic water problems in your home, 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.