Briefly, the pH level is a simple way to define the acidity of a solution and this is a commonly used term in water treatment and the water quality industries. In this article, we will take a more in-depth look at pH levels and how they affect your water quality.
A More Scientific Definition
The more accurate and scientific definition of pH is the concentration of hydrogen ions that may be found in liquid. If you can remember high school chemistry, it is possible to calculate the pH level of any substance with the following formula: pH = log (H30+). The easy way to remember the effects of pH on a substance is as follows:
- High pH means that the hydrogen concentration is lower.
- Low pH means that the hydrogen concentration is higher.
The pH = log (H30+) is only one way to calculate the pH level of water. But, it’s sufficient for our purposes and the remainder of this article will show how pH is affected and the accompanying problems.
How is the pH of Water Changed?
The natural pH of water is 7, this is neutral, the water is not basic or acidic. To put this into some perspective, the pH scale ranges from 0, which is very acidic up to 14, which is very basic. When we talk about basic, think of the term alkaline which is more widely recognized and sufficient to understand this topic. Normal water is placed at the 6.5 up to the 8.5 pH range on this scale.
The pH in water can be changeable based upon various factors and rainwater is slightly acidic with a pH of approximately 5.65. But, when water falls as rain, exposure to the air that contains carbon dioxide increases the acidity and lowers the pH level. After rainwater lands, it’s affected by the ground conditions as it seeps through layers of mineral-rich rock. This is where the rainwater becomes more basic but exposure to granite or other igneous rock will not change the pH to any appreciable degree.
Other factors, such as wastewater and mining discharges can also affect the pH of water. Although wastewater is usually neutral, it can be more acidic or alkaline if exposed to contaminants and pollutants.
How Does pH Affect Drinking Water?
Acidic water tends to contain more metal contaminants and alkaline water contains higher concentrations of healthy minerals. Slightly alkaline water is widely regarded as a healthier alternative to neutral water because it can prevent the buildup of acidity in the body. These claims are speculative and further research is required. But, there is plenty of evidence that shows a relationship between 8 to 8.5 pH water and the presence of electrolytes and minerals that are beneficial to our health. The safe level of drinking water is 6.5 up to 8.5 pH and higher or lower levels are not recommended.
If you want to change the pH of your water to improve the 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.