Why does my water smell like rotten eggs?

In some parts of the country, drinking water can contain the chemical hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas, which smells just like rotten eggs. This can occur when water comes into contact with organic matter or with some minerals, such as pyrite. The situation mostly occurs as ground water filters through organic material or rocks. Hydrogen sulfide can be treated by a manganese greensand filter, or by chlorination.

My water smells like rotten eggs, but I had it tested on site and there is now hydrogen sulphide in the water. Could it be anything else?

First of all, it still could be hydrogen sulphide, it just may not have been present in the water supply when you had it tested. It is important to remember that H2S is a gas and levels can fluctuate from a day-to-day basis due to barometric pressure. If you are sure it is not H2S, it could be a reaction of the magnesium anode rod located in your hot water heater. To remedy this, remove the rod, or replace it with an alternate material such as aluminum.

Why does it take so long to rinse the soap off my hands?

The terms "soft water" and "hard water" are important here. Water is said to be soft if it has a low concentration of calcium and magnesium ions in it, and hard water has a high concentration of calcium and magnesium. If you use soft water, the ions react with the soap you use to produce a residue that feels like it is difficult to wash off. If you use hard water, you also will have a harder time working the soap up into a lather. Hard water is typically the number one concern of water treatment professionals and can easily be addressed with a water softener.

Why is our porcelain sink stained brown?

The brown stain is from a large amount of iron in your water. It is closely related to simple rust you see on metal, which is iron oxide. The source of the water you use probably is ground water, and the water has filtered through rocks containing iron-rich minerals on the way to the well.

Why does my drinking water look cloudy sometimes?

Once in a while you get a glass of water, and it looks cloudy; maybe milky is a better term. After a few seconds it miraculously clears up! The cloudiness is due to tiny air bubbles in the water. Like any bubbles, the air rises to the top of the water and goes into the air, clearing up the water. The water in the pipes coming into your house might be under a bit of pressure, and gases (the air), which are dissolved in the pressurized water, will come out as the water flows into your glass, where is under normal atmospheric pressure.

I've noticed that my stainless steel sinks and flatware have black stains and are pitted. What could this be caused from?

It sounds like there is a very high chloride (Cl-) content in your water. The problem with the stainless steel flatware is likely enhanced if they are cleaned in a dishwasher as the high drying temperatures of the dishwasher will accelerate the corrosion. High chlorides can be reduced with reverse osmosis technology.

My porcelain sinks and tub have green stains on them and my water has a blue-green hue to it. Can this be fixed?

It sounds like the water has a high carbon dioxide content (pH below 6.8) reacting with the brass and copper pipes that are causing the staining. To remedy this acid water condition, you could use a calcite filter to neutralize the pH, feed soda ash into the water with a feeder, or use a mixed media of calcite/magnesia oxide.

My water is yellow (like tea).....what's up?

Your water contains tannins (humic acids) which are harmless organics caused by water seeping through decaying organic matter such as leaves or peat. Water with tannins are typically from a surface water supply such as lakes and streams. Tannins can be removed by an absorption process using a special macroporous Type 1 anion exchange resin or by chlorination.

My municipal water has a fishy taste to it, is this normal?

If your municipally treated water has a fishy taste and brewed beverages (coffee & tea) don't taste right, the problem is likely caused by a residual of chloramines (chlorine & ammonia) in the water. Municipalities like to use chloramines as they tend not to form disinfection by-products like traditional chlorination does. Granular activated carbon works extremely well to reduce the chlormaine level in drinking water.

I've heard of "blue baby syndrome" in relation to water, can you explain what this is?

Blue baby syndrome, or cyanosis, causes a dusky bluish or purplish discoloration of the skin of a baby or in the mucous membranes due to insufficient oxygen in the blood. This is typically the result of excess nitrates (NO3-) in the water and methemoglobinemia in infants. In methemoglobinemia the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood is reduced as a result of a reaction with nitrite (NO2-), which changes the healthy hemoglobin to an inactive methemoglobin form. RO, distillation, or a strong Type II base anion resin can reduce the nitrates.

Why does my water taste like a swimming pool?

Your municipality is adding chlorine to the water at the water treatment plant to ensure that the treated water leaving the plant arrives to your tap, wherever it may be located in the distribution system, with enough of a residual chlorine level to ensure safe bacteriological levels. Unfortunately, this chlorine is the same basic compound that you likely use in your swimming pool and it can be objectionable in regards to both taste and odour. Simple granular activated carbon filtration will easily remove this chlorine taste and odour from the water.

I've read allot about MTBE lately, what is it and should I be concerned?

Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), is a chemical compound with molecular formula C5H12O. MTBE is a volatile, flammable and colorless liquid that is immiscible with water. MTBE has a minty odor vaguely reminiscent of diethyl ether, leading to unpleasant taste and odour in water. MTBE is a gasoline additive, used as to oxygenate and raise the octane number, although its use has declined in response to environmental and health concerns. It has been found to easily pollute large quantities of groundwater when gasoline with MTBE is spilled or leaked at gas stations. Activated carbon adsorption is used to remove, however the carbon will be depleted at a rate that is two to three times greater than if the carbon was used to treat chloroform.

My water has a distinct grittiness to it and it leaves a residue in the bath and sink. How can I get rid of this?

The grittiness you are experiencing is caused from excessively fine sand or silt in the water supply that is bypassing any well screens and settling out in the bath tubs and sinks. Simple sediment reduction cartridges will address this common problem.

The water at my parent's house has a distinct salty taste, what could this be?

The problem could be one of two things. The first, could be from a high sodium or magnesium content (e.g., NaCl, NaSO4, or MgSO4), while the second could be a malfunction of the water softener resulting in brine entering the water lines. The first problem can be fixed with RO or distillation technologies and the second would require a service call to fix the water softener

My water has a strong alkali taste, like baking soda, and my aluminum pots are all stained. Is this a water issue?

The likely cause of this phenomenon is a high dissolved mineral content (TDS) and high alkality in the raw water (e.g., SO4, Cl, or HCO3). Reverse osmosis technology will address these issues.

The water at my parent's farm has a strong metallic taste. What could this be caused from?

The metallic taste is likely the result of one of two things. First, it could be a high iron content in the water and this would be recognizable if there was any staining in the fixtures in the home, or, it could be the result of a very low pH (acid water), in the range of 4.5 - 5.5. The iron can be address with a water softener or iron filter and the low pH can be corrected with a calcite media filter.

What technology should I use for microorganisms?

UV does have an effect on all microorganisms to some effect. Whether it is bacteria, virus, algae, protozoan cysts, spores, mould, etc., exposure to UV light will harm the organism. Each individual organism requires a different level of exposure (know as UV Dose) in order to prevent cell replication. Some organisms, usually viruses, require extremely high doses of UV light in order to achieve disinfection. The important issue here is that one should ensure that the UV system they are purchasing delivers enough UV dose at the end of the lamp life to ensure adequate disinfection against a typical array of organisms found in drinking water.

I have been hearing a lot about E.coli on the news, how can I treat E.coli?

Escherichia coli, or E.coli for short is a bacterium found in the lower intestine of warm blooded organisms. There are many strains of E.coli, some of which can be found in the water supply. Although E.coli has been blamed for many deaths (i.e. Walkerton in 2000), when exposed to ultraviolet light, at relatively a relatively low dose, UV is easily destroyed. Even the particularly virulent O157:H7 strain of E.coli (as found in Walkerton in 2000) has a 4-log (99.99%) reduction at a UV dose of 6 mJ/cm². It should be mentioned that all LUMINOR UV systems deliver a UV dose in excess of 30 mJ/cm² at the end of the lamp life.

My area has had problems with Cryptosporium and Giarda lamblia, I have read that UV is not effective against these organisms......is this true?

No, although you may have read scientific articles from prominent researchers and from other UV companies, this information was based on old research studies. Original studies performed in the 1980's were based on excystation methods which lead to the belief that UV was ineffective against these protozoan cysts. In the early 2000's, it was proven by a host of independent research that UV was in fact extremely effective against both Cryptosporium and Giarda lamblia at a UV dose of less than of 10 mJ/cm². The change was a result of testing methodology used in the earlier testing. This new information has opened the doors for UV to become a mainstream disinfection method.

I grew up on a farm with a cistern that gathered rainwater, my parents said it was the best, but I was always sick as a kid, were my parents right?

Your parents were right and wrong! It is true that rainwater, when it leaves a cloud, is pretty close to pure H2O, but that's about where it all stops. As that raindrop falls to earth through the atmosphere it picks up many impurities along the way. Once it enters the cistern, even more issues begin to happen. Although cisterns store water, they also act as a huge breeding ground for all forms of bacteria. No water should be consumed form a cistern without being disinfected by some method such as ultraviolet light.