Tuesday, December 18th, 2018
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Water Problems

Drinking Water Problems

Drinking water in the Pakistan is not usually of very high standards; therefore occasionally the available drinking water can cause health problems. Examine your drinking water, it should appear clear and bright. If it is discoloured, cloudy or has an unwanted taste or smell you should contact your local water company and have your water tested.

The following table highlights some common problems with metals and minerals in drinking water and suggests a suitable form of water treatment. For problems with contaminents of an organic nature (viruses, bacteria) please check here .

 

Problem Effect on Water Suggested Treatment
pH ow alkalinity water tends to dissolve minerals and metals. Water with high alkalinity tend to precipitate minerals and metals Use Soda Ash to raise, Use white vinegar or citric acid to lower
Aluminum Discolored water Reverse Osmosis Distillation
Chloride Salty taste Reverse Osmosis Distillation
Color Visible tint Reverse Osmosis Distillation Activated Carbon Filtration
Copper Blue-green coloration, metallic taste Reverse Osmosis Distillation
Corrosion Metallic Taste Corrosion Fixture Staining Calcite Filter Soda Ash Chemical Feed Polyphosphate Feed Sodium Silicate Feed
Fluoride Spotting and mottling of teeth Reverse Osmosis Distillation
Foaming Agents (MBAS) Suds, Bitter Taste, Odor Chlorination Activated Carbon Reverse Osmosis Distillation
Hard Water Limescale deposits in plumbing and water appliances, Reduced heating efficiency, Lowers lifespan of boiler units, Requires more soap Water Conditioner Water Softener
Iron Rusty color Sediment Reddish or orange stains Metallic tase Oxidizing Filter Chlorination -> AC Filter
Manganese Dark brown / Black stains Bitter, metallic taste Oxidizing Filter Chlorination -> AC Filter
MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether) Sweet solvent odor Possbile carcinogen Activated Carbon Filter
Odor Rotten egg Musty Garlic Chemical Smell Activated Carbon Filter
Silver Skin discoloration Grey tint in white part of eye Activated Carbon Filtration Reverse Osmosis Distillation
Sulfate Medicinal taste Acts as a laxative Reverse Osmosis Distillation
Total Dissolved Solids Hard Water Deposits on glass and fixtures Reverse Osmosis Distillation Water Conditioner Water Softener
Zinc Metallic taste Reverse Osmosis Distillation

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What Can You Do?

Occasionally you may encounter problems with your drinking water. In such a case, contacts our widely spreaded office network by phone, fax, e-mail. Alternatively, you can also contact other companies who will help you solve any problems regarding drinking water:

  • You are also advised to contact your nearest health officer, town nazim, town or district health officers, EPA, PCRWR, PSCQA to get proper advise for your water quality concerns who will investigate your problem:

Diagnose Your Water and find technologies to treat it properly

If you think there may be something wrong with your water but you don't know what may be causing the problem, you came to the right place. 

This page will help you narrow down the possible culprits by choosing from some common Symptoms and their Characteristics. 

Once narrowed down, you will find potential treatments and solutions. The information in this section is presented to you based on guidelines obtained from the WQA (Water Quality Association)

Color

  • Blue/Green Matching Contaminant(s): Copper
  • Dark brown/Black Matching Contaminant(s): Manganese
  • Reddish/Orange Matching Contaminant(s): Iron

Deposits

  • Soap scum, Bathtub rings Matching Contaminant(s): Hard Water (measured as Calcium Carbonate,CaCO3)
  • Whitish scale Matching Contaminant(s): Hard Water (measured as Calcium Carbonate,CaCO3)

Smells

  • Like Bleach Matching Contaminant(s): Chlorine
  • Like Fish Matching Contaminant(s): Barium , Cadmium
  • Like Rotten Eggs Matching Contaminant(s): Odor
  • Like Sewage Matching Contaminant(s): Selenium (+6)
  • Like Sweet Solvent Matching Contaminant(s): MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether)

Spots

  • Glassware, dishes, flatware Matching Contaminant(s): Hard Water (measured as Calcium Carbonate,CaCO3) , Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
  • My clothes Matching Contaminant(s): Hard Water (measured as Calcium Carbonate,CaCO3)
  • Spotting and mottling of teeth Matching Contaminant(s): Fluoride

Stains

  • Blue/Green Matching Contaminant(s): Copper
  • Brown/Red Matching Contaminant(s): Color , Iron
  • Dark Brown/Black Matching Contaminant(s): Manganese
  • Grey Matching Contaminant(s): Aluminum
  • Red/Orange Matching Contaminant(s): Iron

Tastes

  • Like Salt Matching Contaminant(s): Chloride , Sulfate
  • Metallic Matching Contaminant(s): Iron , ZincBack To Top

Contaminant Treatment Overall Information
Copper 

  • MCLG: 1.3 mg/L 
  • MCL: 1.3 mg/L (action level) 

WQA Recommended Treatment Methods:

  • Cation Exchange (20% - 90%)
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis
  • Corrosion control
  • Polyphosphate/Silicate feed

Potential Health Effects from Ingestion of Water:

  • Gastrointestinal irritation 

Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water:

  • Natural/industrial deposits
  • Wood preservatives
  • Plumbing

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Manganese 
SMCL : 0.05mg/L (Total Manganese) 
WQA Recommended Treatment Methods

  • Filtration (Oxidizing filters)
  • Cation Exchange
  • Oxidation/Precipitation/Filtration
  • Disinfection/Filtration 

Effects on Water:

  • Dark brown-black stains
  • Bitter, metallic taste 
  • Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water:
  • Natural deposits

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Iron 
SMCL : 0.3mg/L (Total iron) 
WQA Recommended Treatment Methods:

  • Filtration(oxidizing filters)
  • Cation Exchange
  • Oxidation/Precipitation/Filtration
  • Disinfection

Effects on Water:

  • Rusty color
  • Sediment
  • Reddish or orange stains
  • Metallic taste 
  • Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water:
  • Natural Deposits

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Hard Water (measured as Calcium Carbonate,CaCO3)
 
SMCL : No federal limit

  • Soft: <17.1
  • Slightly hard: 17.1 to 60
  • Mod. hard: 60 to 120
  • Hard: 120 to 180

Very hard: 180 and above Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon (GPG) or milligrams per liter (mg/l, equivalent to parts per million, or ppm). Water up to 1 GPG (or 17.1 mg/l) is considered soft, and water from 1 to 3.5 GPG is considered moderately hard. Water from 3.5 to 7 GPG is Hard Water, and from 7 to 10.5 GPG is Very Hard. A water softener's effectiveness depends on how hard the incoming water is. Water over 100 GPG may not be completely softened. 
WQA Recommended Treatment Methods:
Remove all calcium and magnesium ions with a cation exchange water softener 
Effects on Water:

  • Consumes soap and makes cleaning more difficult
  • Whitish scale deposits
  • Soap curd and lime scum residue 
  • Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water:
  • Natural deposits causing calcium (limestone) and magnesium salts in raw water

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Chlorine 
MCLG : 4 mg/L (P)* MCL : 4 mg/L (P)* 
WQA Recommended Treatment Methods:

  • Activated Carbon
  • Reverse Osmosis 
  • Potential Health Effects from Ingestion of Water:
  • Cancer 
  • Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water:
  • Chemical added to disinfect municipal water

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Barium 

MCLG : 2.0 mg/L MCL : 2.0 mg/L 
WQA Recommended Treatment Methods:

  • Cation Exchange
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis 
  • Potential Health Effects from Ingestion of Water:
  • Circulatory system effects 
  • Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water:
  • Natural deposits
  • Discharge of drilling wastes
  • Discharge from metal refineries 

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Cadmium 
MCLG : 0.005 mg/L MCL : 0.005 mg/L 
WQA Recommended Treatment Methods

  • Coagulation/Filtration
  • Submicron Filtration
  • Cation Exchange
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis 

Potential Health Effects from Ingestion of Water:

  • Kidney effects 
  • Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water:
  • Galvanized pipe corrosion
  • Natural deposits
  • Batteries
  • Paints

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. Odor 
SMCL : 3 (threshold odor number) 
WQA Recommended Treatment Methods:

  • Activated Carbon
  • Air Stripping
  • Oxidation/Filtration
  • Disinfection/Filtration 

Effects on Water:

  • Rotten egg
  • Musty
  • Garlic
  • Chemical smell 
  • Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water:
  • Chlorine
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Organic matter
  • Gasoline contamination
  • Methane gas
  • Septic contamination

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Selenium (+6) 

MCLG : 0.05 mg/L MCL : 0.05 mg/L (total selenium) 
WQA Recommended Treatment Methods:

  • Anion Exchange
  • Activated Alumina
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis

Potential Health Effects from Ingestion of Water:

  • Liver damage 
  • Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water:
  • Natural deposits
  • Mining
  • Smelting
  • · Coal/Oil combustion

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MTBE (Methy0l Tertiary Butyl Ether) Not MBTE 
SMCL : No federal limit 
WQA Recommended Treatment Methods:

  • Activated Carbon
  • Air Stripping 

Effects on Water:

  • Sweet solvent odor at 0.020 mg/L
  • Possible human carcinogen 
  • Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water:
  • "Oxygenator" additive for reformulated gasoline

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Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) 
SMCL : 500mg/L 
WQA Recommended Treatment Methods:

  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Deionization by Ion Exchange
  • Electrodialysis 

Effects on Water:

  • Hard water
  • Deposits on glasses and fixtures

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Fluoride 
MCLG : 4.0 mg/L MCL : 4.0 mg/L 
WQA Recommended Treatment Methods:

  • Activated Alumina
  • Bone Char
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis 

Potential Health Effects from Ingestion of Water:

  • Skeletal & dental fluorosis 
  • Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water:
  • Natural deposits
  • Fertilizer
  • Aluminum industries
  • Water additive

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Color 
SMCL : 15 (color units) 
WQA Recommended Treatment Methods:

  • Anion Exchange
  • Activated Carbon
  • Filtration
  • Chlorination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Ozonation 

Effects on Water:

  • Visible tint 
  • Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water:
  • Tannins
  • Natural deposits
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Manganese

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 Aluminum 

SMCL : 0.05 to 0.2mg/L depending on case-by-case circumstances 
WQA Recommended Treatment Methods

  • Cation Exchange
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Ultrafiltration
  • Deionization 

Effects on Water:

  • Colored or tinted water 
  • Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water:
  • Alum coagulation treatment
  • Natural deposits

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Chloride 

SMCL : 250mg/L 
WQA Recommended Treatment Methods:

  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Anion Exchange
  • Electrodialysis
  • Deionization 

Effects on Water:

  • Salty taste 
  • Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water:
  • Natural deposits

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Sulfate 
MCLG : 500 mg/L (proposed standard) MCL : 500 mg/L (proposed standard) 
WQA Recommended Treatment Methods

  • Anion Exchange
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Electrodialysis 

Potential Health Effects from Ingestion of Water:

  • Diarrhea 
  • Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water:
  • Natural deposits

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Zinc 

SMCL : 5mg/L 
WQA Recommended Treatment Methods:

  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Cation Exchange
  • Electrodialysis 

Effects on Water:

  • Metallic taste 
  • Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water:
  • Industrial wastes
  • Natural deposits

NOTE: Even if you did not find any symptom, it would be a good idea to have your water tested. This way, you would be assured that your water IS indeed safe (match WHO drinking water standards).

MCLG = Maximum Contaminant Level Goal.

 Established at the level at which no known or anticipated adverse effects on the health of persons occur and which allows an adequate margin or safety; expressed in milligrams per liter (mg/L) unless otherwise specified.

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MCL = Maximum Contaminant Level. 

established as close to the MCLG as feasible, taking into consideration costs and treatment techniques applicable at public water systems; expressed in milligrams per liter unless otherwise specified.

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 SMCL =Secondary Maximum Contaminant Levels. 

Specifies the maximum contaminant levels which, in the judgement of the Administrator, are requisite to protect the public welfare; expressed in milligrams per liter unless otherwise specified.

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