Water Education

Water Guide

The drinking water that is supplied to our homes comes from either surface water or ground water. Surface water collects in streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Ground water is water located below the ground and is obtained by drilling wells and pumping it to the surface.

Each source of water is not safe from contaminants and the quality varies from place to place. The presence of certain contaminants in our water can lead to health issues and infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and immunocompromised persons may be especially at risk for becoming ill after drinking contaminated water.

There can be many sources of contamination of our water systems. Here is a list of the most common sources of contaminants found in drinking water:

  • Naturally occurring chemicals and minerals such as arsenic, radon, uranium
  • Local land use practices where fertilizers, pesticides, livestock and animal feeding operations
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Sewer overflows
  • Malfunctioning wastewater treatment systems (for example, nearby septic systems)

Water quality varies from each community as aging infrastructure, environmental damage and industrial pollution contaminates the water. In addition, toxic chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride are commonly used to treat municipal water supplies and are proven to negatively affect humans. A water filtration system can remove and block pollutants and treat (improve taste, odor and mineral content) tap water to such an extent that it does not constitute any threat to human health. water filtration systems for residential applications are not only useful but necessary in every home. Bottled water is often thought to be a safer alternative, 20‐40% of bottled water is not filtered appropriately, and still contains contaminants. Even when filtered well, the packaging may contaminate the water.

1. Determine the general quality of water in your local area and find out if there are common water contaminants in your community.

2. Observe the feel, odor, taste, and appearance of your water and Use our Chart of Water Problems to help determine the contaminants in your water based on your observations.

3. Test your water to confirm your findings with our one‐time water quality test(s) such as FXT‐AQ or contact a certified expert in your area.

NOTE One‐time water quality test(s) by Aquafilter® should be used only as an initial testing tool to help with identifying water contamination problems. The test(s) are not designed to help with water filtration and conditioning product selection.

Abnormal feel, odor, taste, or appearance may indicate poor water quality. The charts below will help indicate the problem, the cause of the problem and the health effects.

If your water seems abnormal, make sure to do your part to make your water safe for your family to use and drink.

Water‐transmitted viruses that have a moderate to high health significance include adenovirus, astrovirus, hepatitis A and E viruses, rotavirus, norovirus and other caliciviruses, and enteroviruses, including coxsackieviruses and polioviruses. Also, viruses that are excreted through urine like polyomaviruses and cytomegalovirus can potentially be spread through water.

Most of the above viruses are most commonly associated with gastroenteritis, which can cause diarrhea as well as other symptoms including abdominal cramping, vomiting, and fever. some of these same viruses could also result in more severe illnesses including encephalitis, meningitis, myocarditis (enteroviruses), cancer (polyomavirus), and hepatitis (hepatitis A and E viruses) .

Source: WHO (2011) Guidelines for drinking‐water quality ‐4th ed. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO Press. Cannon MJ, Hyde TB, Schmid DS (2011) Review of cytomegalovirus shedding in bodily fluids and relevance to congenital cytomegalovirus infection. Rev Med Virol 21: 240–255. pmid:21674676

To ensure your drinking water is healthy and safe for consumption, you will want to verify that the pH level falls within a specified range. The pH scale ranges from 0‐14, with levels less than 7 considered acidic, levels greater than 7 considered alkaline, and a pH of 7 considered neutral.

Effects pH has on Drinking Water


pH less than 6

Water with low pH levels is not only corrosive and metallic, it can also leave a blue or green stain on drains, sinks, and more, due to its breaking down of metal (copper) fixtures in your plumbing system


pH 6 ‐ 8.5

Safe to drink because it is neither acidic nor alkaline enough to be dangerous in the human body.


pH more than 8.5

Alkaline or high pH water can be hard, which poses less of a health risk than acidic water but can taste bad and leave scale deposits on dishes, sinks, and more. It can also make soap and detergents difficult to lather.

It is important to note that there are recent claims to the supposed benefits to drinking alkaline water, including the fact that it can neutralize acid in the body, lead to increased oxygen levels in the blood, improve metabolism, cleanse the colon, rejuvenate skin, support the immune system, and protect bones.


Health Effect
Presence of sediment on heating elements of household appliances

The term "hard water" means that water contains more minerals, especially calcium and magnesium. In other words, when water contains a significant proportion of magnesium and calcium it is described as "hard". "Hard water" clogs pipes and makes difficult for soap and other detergent to spume. Water hardness increases together with an increase in concentration of dissolved calcium and magnesium present in water. Magnesium and calcium ions are present in the form of positive ions.

Affects the excessive dryness of the skin. Water consumed in large quantities of calcium and magnesium ions can result in kidney stones or gallbladder stones.

Dry skin, rough hair after bathing
Soapy sludge at the bottom sink or a bathtub
Materials after laundering are very rigid and unpleasant to the touch

Types of Hardness:

Carbonate hardness (transient) is created by readily soluble and thermally unstable bicarbonate salts Mg(HCO3)2 or Ca(HCO3)2, which can be removed by boiling water as a result of their transformation into soluble carbonate salts MgCO3 or CaCO3, precipitated during the cooking/boiling point (scaling).

Non‐carbonate hardness (solid) is created by the presence of chlorides, sulphates, silicates, nitrates and other salts of calcium and magnesium.

General water hardness is the sum of carbonate and non‐carbonate hardness.

In addition, there are other types of water hardness categorized by cations: calcium hardness, magnesium hardness and their sum as a general hardness.

Water hardness significantly depends on the content of Ca2+ and Mg2+ and hence the division of water hardness on the hardness of calcium and magnesium.

Water Hardness Scale

odH German degree

Hardness Scale

0 ‐ 5

very soft

5 ‐ 10


10 ‐ 15

medium soft

15 ‐ 20

some what hard

20 ‐ 25


below 30

very hard

Expression of water hardness:

Within the Polish, Central and Eastern Europe generally accepted as the unit of the German degree of water hardness (oN). 1oN expresses the amount of calcium and magnesium content equivalent to 10 mg of CaO in 1 dm3 of water. Units of determining the water hardness were not standardized. The following table shows the conversion of water hardness units.


mg/dm3 CaCO3


German degree

French degree

British degree

mg/dm3 CaCO3












German degree






French degree






British degree






1 mval/dm3 = 20,04 mg/dm3 Ca2+ = 50,04 mg/dm3 CaCO3

German degree: 1oN = 10 mg/dm3 CaO = 17,84 mg/dm3 CaCO3

French degree: 1oF = 1000 mg/100cm3 CaO = 10,0 mg/dm3 CaCO3

British degree: 1ooz/gallon = 14,28 mg/dm3 CaCO3

In the U.S., water hardness is expressed in ppm (parts per million), which corresponds with the number of milligrams of CaCO3 in dm3 water (conventional unit).

Health Effect
Unpleasant taste and odor of water

A large number of iron ions in water (dissolved and undissolved ions). Iron is present in surface and deep water in amounts dependent on the construction and mineral composition of the substrate. In addition, source of iron may be industrial waste water, corrosion of pipes and water mining.

A large number of iron ions in water can adversely affect health. Toxic dose of iron for an adult is 15g of ferrous sulfate / II /, and for children 6 ‐ 10g. Long‐term use of water (above 0.6 mg Fe / l) leads to Kashin‐Beck disease. This disease causes damage to the walls of blood capillaries, as well as the process of growth disorder in children.

Clothes washed in water with iron ions may be stained brown
Rust‐colored stains on the sink or bathtub


Health Effect

Smell of chlorine

High levels of chlorine and its derivatives in water

Reduction in content of unsaturated fatty acids in the body, malignant tumors of the bladder and rectum (colorectal simple), liver cirrhosis, thyroid tumors, the reduction of skin resistance (cracking, dry), irritation of mucous membranes, chest discomfort (which is responsible for causing asthma).

"Rotten eggs" odor

Distribution of biochemical
proteins of plant and animal.
Large concentrations of
hydrogen sulfide.

Irritating to the gastrointestinal tract, may lead to irritation of the nervous system.

Gasoline or oil (hydrocarbon)

Leak in fuel oil tank or
gasoline tank seeping into
water supply.

Fuel components may be toxic or carcinogenic



Health Effect

Water tastes like salty water

High content of sodium ions in water

The increase in blood pressure. Permissible content of sodium ions in water is 200mg / l.

Acidic water

Low pH

low pH: adverse effects on skin and mucous membranes, eye irritation high pH: eye irritation

Metallic taste of water

The presence of heavy metals in water. A large number of iron ions in water (dissolved and undissolved).

Iron dissolved and undissolved: a large number of iron ions in water can adversely affect health. Toxic dose of iron for an adult is 15g of ferrous sulphate / II /, and for children 6 ‐ 10g. Long‐term use of water (above 0.6 mg Fe / l) leads to Kashin‐Beck disease. This disease causes damage to the walls of blood capillaries as well as the process of growth disorder in children.

Heavy Metal

Health Effect

Arsenic (As)

abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, association with bladder cancer, damage to the respiratory tract, inflammation of mucous membranes, eyes, nose, throat, skin, kidney, liver and prostate, damage to the central nervous system.

Cadmium (Cd)

nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, liver damage, kidney, bone, myocardial infarction, hypertension, bone and skeletal deformity.

Chromium (Cr)

skin irritation, ulcers, liver damage, kidney and nervous tissues.

Copper (Cu)

digestive disorders, liver damage and kidney damage, myocardial infarction, suspected of induction of atherosclerosis.

Lead (Pb)

abnormal development of physical and mental, accumulates in the body, mutagenicity, myocardial damage, anemia, saturnism, adverse effects on the nervous system.

Mercury (Hg)

leads to kidney damage, damage to brain tissue damage, myocardial infarction, miscarriage, fetal toxicity evident at birth: impaired hearing, vision, learning difficulties.



Health Effect

Sediments inside plumbing system (pipes & fittings) and fabric discoloration

High content of suspended solids in the water (sand, rust, clay)

Dysfunction of the digestive system