Well Water Testing Analysis and Contamination in MA and NH – Calcium, Magnesium & Hardness in well water

The ninth post in our series highlighting some of the contaminants that can be found in water wells. Northeast Water Wells is available to collect samples and test your well water for contaminants anytime.

If you have a private well, regular water quality testing is very important. Northeast Water Wells recommends testing your well at least every two years. Many contaminants cannot be identified by taste or odor, making it difficult for homeowners to know if the water quality of their well has changed.

What are calcium and magnesium?

The most common problem associate with groundwater may be hardness. Hard water is high in dissolved minerals, both calcium and magnesium. Calcium and magnesium are both found in groundwater that has come in contact with certain rocks and minerals, especially limestone and gypsum. As water moves through soil and rock, it dissolves small amounts of these naturally-occurring minerals and carries them into the groundwater supply. Water is a great solvent for calcium and magnesium, so if the minerals are present in the soil around your well and its water supply, you can end up with hard water.

What are the effects of hard water?

Hard water has not been shown to cause health problems and is not regulated by state or federal agencies. In fact, calcium and magnesium in your drinking water can help ensure that you get the average daily requirements for these in your diet.

Hard water can be a nuisance as it may soap curds and deposits to form on pipes and other plumbing fixtures. Over time this can reduce the diameter of the pipes. This can lower water pressure throughout the house. It can also lower the efficiency of electric water heaters.

Hard water interferes with almost every cleaning task, from doing the laundry to washing dishes to taking a shower. Clothes can look dingy and feel rough and scratchy. Dishes and glasses get spotted and a film may build up on shower doors, bathtubs, sinks and faucets. Washing your hair in hard water may leave it feeling sticky and dull.

What classifications are used to measure hardness in water?

The following classifications are used to measure hardness in water: soft 0 – 17.1 parts per million (ppm); slightly hard 17.1 – 60 ppm; moderately hard 60 – 120 ppm; hard 120 – 180 ppm; and very hard 180 or more ppm.

What is the treatment for Hardness in drinking water?

Hard water is treated by adding a water softener or by installing an ion-exchange system. These treatments can increase the sodium content of your water, so it is important for those on low sodium diets to consult with their doctor after having their water tested.

Northeast Water Wells offers a variety of testing packages to take care of all of your water needs. Call today to set up a time for us to collect a sample of your water. All of our testing is done through a state certified analytical lab.

If you live in Massachusetts you can view the guidelines for Well Water Testing here

If you live in New Hampshire you can view the guidelines for Well Water Testing here

Article written by Karen Provencher, Northeast Water Wells