Hardness in Drinking Water
Hardness is commonly referred to as the ability of your water to neutralize soap, or the inability of the water to form soap lather. Hard water is caused by high concentrations of calcium and manganese in the water, and can cause scale to form on hot water pipes, boilers and household appliances; cause a scum to form on your tea or coffee; and sometimes give a dingy appearance to your laundry. Most groundwaters, including well water in PEI are generally considered to be relatively hard.
What are the health concerns?
Hard water is not is considered to be a health hazard, even in high concentrations. In fact it is better for drinking as the calcium and magnesium in hard water are good for bones and teeth. However some water treatment devices used to reduce water hardness can result in increased sodium concentrations in water which could be of concern to those individuals on sodium reduced diets.
What are the treatment options?
The hardness of water is most often reduced using a water softener. These are usually used to treat water that is to be heated, or cold water used for laundry, and it is recommended that a tap with cold, untreated water is maintained for drinking water purposes to avoid unnecessary increases in sodium intake in drinking water.
The Department does not recommend specific brands of treatment devices; however, it is recommended that consumers purchase devices bearing a label stating they are certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 44 for Cation Exchange Water Softeners.
As with the use of any drinking water treatment device, the effectiveness of treatment should be verified by sampling after installation. In addition, it is important to ensure the device is used and maintained according the manufacturer’s directions and its performance periodically confirmed by sampling.
Who can I contact for more information?
Paul Baker (Safety Standards Officer)
4th Floor, Jones Building
11 Kent Street
Charlottetown, PEI C1A 7N8
Telephone: (902) 368-5062
Fax: (902) 368-5830