Customized Water Treatment Systems
Shortly after we opened our doors, we noticed there was a great demand for a company who could step up and help the people with rural water by giving them better water quality. There were a few folks around who installed water treatment systems but they all used cookie cutter designs. So, we decided to educate ourselves in water chemistry and water treatment methods. It did take us a few years but, by the late 70’s, we were customizing systems throughout the area. We have had great results not only making water look and taste better, but making it safe for our community as well. Water quality is a concern for all homeowners. Unfortunately, not all of the water flowing from the tap is the pure, fresh water one’s body desires.
Water containing minerals and dissolved metals causes many problems – bathtub rings, shower scale and water spotting, along with residues left on skin, clothing and hair. Mineral-laden water is more expensive to heat, requires the use of additional soaps and cleansers and shortens the life of household appliances. Heavy metals, such as lead, cause very serious health problems; even minuscule amounts can accumulate in one’s body and will become a problem later in life. Colorado’s hard water, in general, also has higher levels of radon, uranium and other radioactive compounds than those found in other areas of the United States.
What Are Coliform Bacteria?
Coliform bacteria are present in the environment and feces of all warm-blooded animals and humans. Coliform bacteria are unlikely to cause illness. However, their presence in drinking water indicates that disease-causing organisms (pathogens) could be in the water system. Most pathogens that can contaminate water supplies come from the feces of humans or animals. Testing drinking water for all possible pathogens is complex, time-consuming, and expensive. It is easy and inexpensive to test for coliform bacteria. If testing detects coliform bacteria in a water sample, water systems search for the source of contamination and restore safe drinking water.
There are two groups of coliform bacteria that we test for. Each is an indicator of drinking water quality and each has a different level of risk. Total coliform is a large collection of different kinds of bacteria. E. coli is a subgroup of fecal coliform. We test the water samples for total coliform. If total coliform is present, then we also test the sample for E. coli.
Total coliform bacteria are common in the environment (soil or vegetation) and are generally harmless. If a lab detects total coliform bacteria only in drinking water, the source is probably environmental and fecal contamination is unlikely. However, if environmental contamination can enter the system, harmful pathogens could get in also. It is important to find and resolve the source of the contamination.
E. coli is a subgroup of the fecal coliform group. Most E. coli bacteria are harmless and exist in the intestines of humans and warm-blooded animals. However, some strains can cause illness. The presence of E. coli in a drinking water sample usually indicates recent fecal contamination. That means there is a greater risk that pathogens are present.
Note: E. coli outbreaks receive a lot of media coverage. A specific strain of E. coli bacteria known as E. coli O157:H7 causes most of those outbreaks. When a drinking water sample is reported as “E. coli present,” it does not mean that O157:H7 is present. However, it does indicate recent fecal contamination. Boiling or disinfecting contaminated drinking water destroys all forms of E. coli, including O157:H7.
What if coliform bacteria or E. coli are found in my water?
When coliform bacteria is confirmed in Private water systems, we recommend not to consume or at least to boiled the water prior to use, until we can install a treatment system. The treatment systems recommended are an Ultraviolet disinfection light or a Chlorine injection system. The ultraviolet (UV) treatment process is an extremely quick physical process. Ultraviolet light mutates and/or degrades DNA. DNA (or deoxyribonucleic acid) is the part of the cell that gives an organism its instructions on how to function and reproduce. Therefore the UV light renders most bacteria and viruses harmless. UV light does this without adding any chemicals to the water. Chlorine Injection works by forming a weak acid called hypochlorous acid. This acid is very proficient at killing bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli, and it also knocks out many viruses.
Ultraviolet Water Filtration and Sanitation
An effective ultraviolet system utilizes the “C” band of ultraviolet light to kill 99.99% of bacteria and viruses commonly found in drinking water. This treatment is preferred for several reasons: harmful bacteria and viruses are killed or rendered sterile to the point they are no longer damaging, and the harmful side effects of chemical agents on the septic system are negated. Installation of a staged filtration method prior to the ultraviolet unit provides a very effective treatment method.
Chlorination of Water Systems
Sometimes the demands placed upon a water system require chemical treatments, which can include injection of liquid chlorine or the addition of dry-pellet chlorine to the water. Either method adequately treats unsafe water and removes hydrogen sulfide from domestic water systems.
Most multi-media water conditioners feature standard cation exchange resin for the removal of hardness and low concentrations of iron. We offer water softeners that not only perform this function, but also utilize granular activated carbon media to treat or remove chlorine, some pesticides, herbicides and volatile organic chemicals. Other components can be incorporated to remove iron, excessive sulfides, and the offensive tastes and odors associated with these contaminants. We also provide our customers with a healthy alternative to the sodium chloride used in most water softeners – granular potassium chloride media. Your body will feel the benefits, your plants will thrive and your water will taste better. Potassium chloride also promotes the growth of important bacteria inside septic systems.
Hardness is classified as follows:
- 0 to 1.0 gpg - Soft water
- 1.1 to 3.5 gpg - Slightly hard water
- 3.6 to 7.0 gpg - Moderately hard water
- 7.1 to 10.5 gpg - Hard water
- 10.6 or higher gpg - Extremely hard
Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Systems
Most R/O systems filter water to a bottled water quality level of purity. Water initially passes through a sediment filter which physically removes suspended particles. The reverse osmosis membrane then removes dissolved material in the water, which then enters a small storage tank prior to activated carbon filtration. The carbon filter removes any remaining tastes and odors from the water. To improve the R/O’s effectiveness, many water supplies may require other pre-conditioning units. We suggest a wide spectrum analysis of the water be performed prior to any treatment installation.