Water Treatment and Conditioning Technology… what you should know as a homeowner in Nebraska


Hard water is a common household issue for most homeowners in Nebraska and Iowa.  Hard water has a higher concentration of dissolved minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium which can create a number of problems within the home including scale buildup in water using appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and water heaters. It can also typically mean bad tasting drinking water.  For this reason, water conditioners and professional water filtration devices such as R.O.s (reverse osmosis) are often used to solve hard water and hard water related taste problems.Water Treatment and Conditioning Technology

When it comes to water conditioner technology, there are a number of options available to both homeowners and businesses.

Ion Exchange:

This is one of the most established and broadly accepted protocols for treating hard water and is widely considered the industry standard. The Ion Exchange process involves removing all magnesium and calcium particles by exchanging each ion of those two minerals with sodium ions. This is a very effective method of water conditioning, which has been around since the 1920’s.  The process, however, does involve adding two sodium ions for each ion of calcium, and although effective and cost efficient, it does have its detractors.  This technology has been restricted in a handful of states around the country for environmental reasons.  The waste water from this type of treatment may pose issues for agricultural due to the sodium content and the excess brine (sodium), requiring more expensive waste water treatment in certain municipalities. Also older units can be very inefficient with water usage, where ion exchange water softeners utilizing outdated timer operated valves can require up to 75 gallons for each cycle. This could represent a significant increase in water consumption and in the west, were water shortages are a fact of life, quite problematic.  Fortunately in Nebraska we have no shortage of water and they are not only permitted, but are the most common softening technology on the market. Also modern, latest technology water treatment systems have significantly cut down on water waste.

Membrane Technology:

This form of water treatment includes methods such as reverse osmosis, mentioned above, that filter water by pushing it through a semi permeable membrane (hence osmosis.) This technology can remove virtually all dissolved solids. Residential systems generally feature a front-end carbon filter to reduce the risk membrane damage by harsh elements such as chlorine. This makes the technology remarkably effective and efficient for both domestic and commercial applications. Although this type of system is typically slightly more expensive than the other water treatment technology methods, it is one of the most effective at filtering water for drinking and human consumption.


This form of water treatment uses heat to turn water into a gaseous form. This allows the water to be purified as the contaminants are separated from the water. This is a particularly effective method for removing minerals, viruses and bacteria from the water. However, chemical contaminants such as chlorine and pesticides have a lower boiling point than water, which can cause them to evaporate into the atmosphere.  It is also a rather inefficient and non economical method since it requires a large amount of energy to boil the water.

TIC- Template Induced Crystallization:

TIC- Template uses a template to form a unique structure of crystals. The ions, from the crystal structure matrix, integrate any dissolved minerals allowing them to be separated from the water. These crystals are suspended in water and are carried downstream. This system is very water efficient and  may be used to remove existing deposits of scale within plumbing systems. The risk of scale formation is dramatically reduced leaving cleaner softer water. However, there is still a possibility of water spotting and the effectiveness of this technology has not been evaluated on a long term basis.

What’s Best for you in Nebraska or Iowa?

The technology that best suits you can be determined thorough a water test and an understanding of the water in your specific area.  Even with a small area of Nebraska or Iowa, that water can literally vary from town to town.  Consult a Water Quality Association certified representative to discuss your individual water treatment needs.

About The Author, Terry Reeh, Partner 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.  In addition to running the day-to-day operations of EcoWater Systems of Nebraska, one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery enterprises in the state, 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.

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