Sacramento: Where Do Total Dissolved Solids Come From?

[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]ou may often see the term “TDS” in terms of water contaminants and filter labels that claim to remove them. But what exactly are they? How do they affect you? And how can you deal with them?

Dissolved solids are defined as anything dissolved in water, including metals, salts and minerals. TDS can include inorganic salts and organic matter that have leached into the water. Most are harmless in nature, particularly in low concentrations. It’s unlikely that any water you drink has zero TDS. However, the EPA has set TDS as a contaminant of secondary standards, with a limit set at 500 mg/L.

Where Do TDS Come From?

Total dissolved solids can come from a number of sources, and the location of your home, climate, water treatment method, source, and a number of variables can contribute to the composition of your water. Common TDS contaminants can include ionic compounds derived from calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chlorides, sulfates, phosphates and nitrates.

Wastewater treatment can be a major point of source for water pollution, leading to an increase in TDS

1. Industrial Wastewater and Sewage – treatment of both brings the biproduct of nitrates, which is important for animal growth. Algal blooms are prone to occur with the availability of nitrogen, causing an uptick in disinfectants being used by your municipality. This, in turn, leads to a more potent chlorine taste and smell. Phosphates can also be a non-point (water pollution from diffuse) source of total dissolved solids from wastewater treatment.


3. Piping/Hardware/Plumbing – the infrastructure of your own home could be the source of dissolved solids. [pullquote]Did you know water too LOW in TDS can actually have negative effects on your tap water?[/pullquote] Water in its purest form is a corrosive solvent, and can rake toxic materials such as lead and copper into your tap. This can be a major health risk. It’s a rare event the water source in your home is so low in total dissolved solids that it could become an issue, but if you are concerned about this, [dealer-url page=”free-in-home-water-test”] have your water tested today. [/dealer-url]

4. Sea Water – sea water, naturally, contains an excessive amount of NaCl (sodium) and other ionic compounds that contribute to a salty or brackish taste. While there are a handful of desalination plants (designed to remove sodium compounds from sea water), the hard truth is that purifying sea water takes an increased amount of energy and money to break such chemical bonds that most municipalities can not afford.

5. Agricultural/Farming/Irrigation Systems – just like in lawn treatment, synthetic farm fertilizers have nitrates that can dissolve into the soil. Elevated levels of nitrates also occur in animal waste and compost.  Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plant growth. But excess nitrogen can combine with organic materials on the surface to produce nitrates, which can be harmful to drinking water systems.

6. Naturally Occurring –  When water makes its way through the ground, it encounters layers of limestone and chalk. These beds are comprised of calcium and magnesium bicarbonates. The bi-product of these dissolved solids is hard water. More than 85% of U.S. households have hard water, according to studies. Contact [dealer info=”dealer”] today to learn more about how hard water could be affecting your home.

A Culligan Reverse Osmosis System removes 10 times the number of contaminants than the leading pitcher in the market. Unlike these pitchers, it removes lead and 50 additional harmful contaminants. We offer customized, tailored solutions for your [dealer info=”location] home. Contact us by clicking FIX MY WATER today!

Lead in Sacramento Water: What You Need to Know

Situations such as the lead contamination scandal Flint, Michigan have revitalized attention on lead in water, and the harmful effects it can have on our health. Lead is still common in plumbing in Sacramento, and lead in drinking water can have serious consequences for adults and especially children.

The History of Lead in Drinking Water

Lead lends itself very easily to building pipes  – like those used for transporting water. It’s malleable, relatively cheap to use and, as a result, its use in plumbing dates back to early Roman cities. Lead piping was also the standard in the United States until the 1920s and 30s, when concerns about lead poisoning became better understood.

Why Lead in Water is Dangerous

In addition to its once widespread use, and continued use in some plumbing fittings and solder, lead is virtually undetectable in water. Since you can’t see, taste, or smell it, prolonged exposure can be all-too-common. Lead in drinking water is especially harmful for young children and pregnant women, but is not safe for anyone to consume, in any concentration.

Effects of Lead in Drinking Water

For children, the effects of consuming lead-contaminated water are especially high. Once consumed, lead remains in our bodies or ‘bioaccumulates’ as we can’t flush the contaminant from our system. Once there, lead can cause serious behavioral and cognitive problems for children, and over time it can lead to:

  • Low IQ
  • Hyperactivity
  • Slowed, delayed, and stunted growth
  • Problems hearing
  • Anemia
  • Seizures, coma, and possibly even death in severe situations

Lead also crosses the placenta, so it’s especially important for pregnant women to avoid drinking water contaminated with lead. In addition to harming the mother, it can cause stunted fetal growth and premature birth.

For the average adult, lead exposure from water can cause heart and cardiovascular issues, reduce kidney function, and contribute to reproductive problems. The degree and severity of these issues depends on how much lead you’ve been exposed too, and how much is stored in your body, though governing health authorities like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) caution that no amount of lead is safe.

Home Lead Water Testing

However, the only way to determine if your home’s water has lead in it is to run a chemical test specifically designed to indicate the presence of lead. This is important because even if your city or county’s water is known to be safe, the pipes, fixtures, and fittings surrounding your individual home may not be. Old solder and pipes have been responsible for various levels of lead in water around the country.

Your local Culligan Man can test your water for lead, as well as any other contaminants. You can also find home water tests in your local hardware store – just read the labels carefully to make sure they’re intended for lead detection. In most cases, you’ll have to collect a water sample from your tap and mail it off for testing, with results back in a few weeks.

If you find out there is lead in your water, or you suspect there could be, it’s important to stop drinking it immediately. Drink and use only bottled water until you can install a water treatment or filtration system.

Learn more about lead in water, or schedule a home lead water test today with Culligan Sacramento to make sure your drinking water is safe if you have any concern.