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    News Release
    Water Softeners:  We Love 'Em and We Hate 'Em
    Water Softeners and a Low Sodium Diet
    Water Technology Article
    Water Conservation Tips
    EPA Drinking Water Standards
     
    NEWS  RELEASE

    March 27, 2003                                                                                                                                                                  

    CONTACTS: Ann Heil
    Senior Engineer
    Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County
    (562) 699-7411, Ext. 2950

    Don Avila
    Assistant Public Information Officer
    Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County
    (562) 699-7411, Ext. 2304


    Ordinances Banning Installation of Residential Self-Regenerating Water Softeners in Santa Clarita Valley Go into Effect


    Santa Clarita, Calif. ---- Today, ordinances prohibiting Santa Clarita Valley residents from installing self-regenerating water softeners, including new and replacement units, go into effect, announced the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County (Sanitation Districts).

    The ordinances, which were unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors for Sanitation Districts Nos. 26 and 32 last month, aim to reduce the amount of chloride going into the Santa Clara River. Residential self-regenerating water softeners are among the leading causes for high chloride levels in the river. The number of residential self-regenerating water softeners has been rapidly increasingly in the Santa Clarita Valley, with the percentage of residences having such softeners increasing from approximately 11% in 2001 to 13% in 2002.

    The new ordinances prohibit the installation of residential self-regenerating water softeners, also known as automatic water softeners, after March 27th. The ordinances do not apply to water softeners using exchange tanks, as these are regenerated at a centralized location outside of the Santa Clarita Valley. The ordinances also do not apply to other types of water treatment units such as filtration, activated carbon, and reverse osmosis. Homeowners who already have self-regenerating water softeners are also not immediately affected by the ordinances, which prohibit installation rather than ownership. However, homeowners will not be permitted to replace their existing self-regenerating water softeners and are strongly encouraged by the Sanitation Districts to stop using the existing units to help reduce chloride levels in the river.

    Chloride is one of the two parts of sodium chloride, commonly known as salt, and of potassium chloride. Self-regenerating water softeners discharge a waste that contains large amounts of chloride. Wastewater from homes in the Santa Clarita Valley, including the softener waste, is treated at the Sanitation Districts’ Saugus and Valencia Water Reclamation Plants. After extensive treatment, which does not remove chloride from wastewater, the treated water is put into the Santa Clara River. The amount of chloride in the river has been steadily rising over the years as more self-regenerating water softeners were installed into homes.

    “Virtually all of the chloride put into self-regenerating water softeners as rock salt or potassium crystals ends up in the Santa Clara River,” says Ann Heil, senior engineer for the Sanitation Districts’ Industrial Waste Section. “Using a self-regenerating softener for a month is basically the same as taking a 40-pound bag of salt and dumping it directly into the river.”

    If the amount of chloride entering sewers in the Santa Clarita Valley is not reduced, the Sanitation Districts may have to install costly new treatment equipment at the Saugus and Valencia Water Reclamation Plants to remove the chloride. These costs would be passed on to residences and businesses, and could increase their sewer bills by four to five times the current rate, or $400 to $500 per year.

    Alternatively, if treatment has to be provided at the plants, the Sanitation Districts may consider a tiered rate program, wherein only those households with self-regenerating water softeners would be charged higher sewer rates to pay for the cost of removing the salt waste discharged by the softeners. In this case, households with self-regenerating water softeners could be charged up to two thousand dollars per year for sewerage services, while sewer rates would remain steady for other households.

    “Banning future installation of self-regenerating water softeners is the most cost-efficient way to lower chloride levels and will help us avoid installing this very expensive treatment alternative at Santa Clarita ratepayer’s expense,“ Heil says.

    Residents who violate the new ordinances are subject to a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment not to exceed 30 days. Only residences served by Sanitation Districts Nos. 26 and 32, which provide for the wastewater treatment and disposal needs of the Santa Clarita Valley, are affected by the ordinances. (Those homes that use septic tanks are not affected by the new ordinances.) Santa Clarita businesses have been banned from using self-regenerating water softeners since 1961.

    The Sanitation Districts are a group of 25 independent special districts serving the wastewater and solid waste management needs of over 5 million people in Los Angeles County. The Sanitation Districts’ serve 78 cities and unincorporated territory within the county, and the service area includes the Santa Clarita Valley. The role of the Sanitation Districts is to construct, operate, and maintain regional systems to collect, treat, and dispose of wastewater and to provide for management of solid wastes. The Directors of the districts are the mayors of the cities within a district and the Chairperson of the County Board of Supervisors for unincorporated areas.

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    Water Softeners: We Love 'Em and We Hate 'Em

    INTRODUCTION: A water softener is not complicated if you understand the basic principles of operation. Understanding comes from knowledge. The few pertinent facts following will give you additional knowledge to better understand and discuss the subject intelligently and enable you to do a better job of selecting a water softener.

    All water softeners soften water in the same way regardless of who the manufacturer is. There are no "secrets" in this business. Any "true" claim made for its product by one manufacturer holds true for all others. Always remember, however, that any product is only as good as the backup and assistance its dealer will provide.

    The minerals in the water that make hard water are Calcium (Ca++) and Magnesium (Mg++). They form a curd with soap and scale in piping, water heaters, pots and pans or in whatever the hard water comes in contact with. Other minerals in the water may make the water objectionable, such as iron, chlorides, etc., but the do not make the water "HARD" per the usual definition. Only Calcium and Magnesium make the water "HARD" per the normal definition when discussing general water hardness.

    Not all water can be softened with the use of a conventional residential water softener and if the hardness of the water exceeds 100 GPG (Grains Per Gallon) it cannot be softened by your typical residential softener to a zero-soft degree which, by definition, is water reduced in hardness to 1.0 GPG or lower. Attempting to soften water with a hardness exceeding 100 GPG with a typical residential softener will reduce the hardness approximately 95% only.

    If the water contains high amounts of chlorides or sulphates or is very high in iron, a water softener alone will be ineffective. "Untreatable" waters are rare, however, for other methods of conditioning or purifying the water may be applicable. A dealer offering a complete water conditioning or purification service can give assistance for any water problem a softener alone cannot handle.

    Calcium and Magnesium are removed from the water by a process known as positive ion exchange. The "positive" means a plus (+) charge as opposed to a "negative" (-) charge. The process could also be called ion substitution, for "substitution" is what occurs. Sodium (Na+) ions, which are soft and do not form a curd with soap or a hard scale in piping, water heaters, etc., are substituted or exchanged for the Calcium and Magnesium as the water passes through the softener tank.

    The softening media is commonly called Zeolite. The proper name is Polystyrene Resin. The media is often referred to as mineral and the water softener tank which contains it, a mineral tank. All water softening minerals are basically the same regardless of who the manufacturer is. The Zeolite has the ability to attract positive (+) charges to it. The reason it does so is because in its manufacture it itself inherits a negative (-) charge. It is a law of nature that unlike charges attract, i.e., a negative will attract to it a positive and vice versa.

    A softener tank is filled approximately 3/4 full with Zeolite beads. Even the smallest softener will contain hundreds of thousands of Zeolite beads. Each bead is a negative in nature and can be charged or regenerated with positive-charged ions. In a softener, the Zeolite is charged with positive "soft" Sodium ions by passing through the softener tank a rich Sodium Chloride (common salt) brine solution which contains the "soft" Sodium ion (Na+). The plus (positive) charges of the Sodium are attracted to the negative-charged Zeolite beads and remain "stored" upon the beads ready for the softener to deliver soft water when hard water containing Calcium (Ca++) and Magnesium (Mg++) are passed through the mineral bed. When this happens, "positive" ion exchange occurs.

    You should note that Sodium (Na+) has only one positive charge where Calcium (Ca++) and Magnesium (Mg++) both have two positive charges. When the hard water passes by the Zeolite beads, which have been loaded or charged up with Sodium (Na+) from the salt brine solution, the attraction of the negative Zeolite bead for the two positive charges in each ion of Calcium and Magnesium is greater than for the one positive Sodium ion. As a result, they are attracted to the bead and the Sodium ion is pushed off, displaced, and takes the place of the Calcium and Magnesium ions originally in the water supply in the ratio of two Sodium ions for each ion of Calcium and Magnesium.

    In effect, two Sodium ions are "exchanged" for one Calcium or Magnesium ion in the water supply with the Calcium and Magnesium remaining on the Zeolite beads and the Sodium ions taking their place in the water flowing through and out of the softener tank which, as a result of the "exchange" process, has become "soft" water.

    It can now be readily understood that a water softener will continue to give soft water only so long as there are sufficient Sodium ions remaining on the Zeolite beads to provide two Sodium ions for every ion of Calcium and Magnesium in the hard water flowing through the softener mineral (storehouse) tank. When the supply of Sodium ions has been depleted, the "storehouse" must be refilled.

    Restocking the mineral tank with a new supply of Sodium ions is accomplished by flowing through the mineral tank a rich solution of common salt brine (Sodium Chloride) which effects another regeneration, ion exchange process, only in reverse. The salt brine solution is automatically prepared and stored in a separate tank normally called the brine tank. When the rich brine solution flows through the Zeolite beads, which are now depleted of Sodium ions and saturated with the "trapped" Calcium and Magnesium ions which are no longer wanted, the "Positive Ion Exchange" process reoccurs.

    In the regeneration process, the reason the Sodium with the single positive charge is attracted to the negative Zeolite bead and the Calcium and Magnesium are given up is due to the overwhelming multitude of Sodium ions present in the rich brine solution. When so many millions of ions are close to the negative Zeolite bead, the bead cannot resist this attraction and in the process throws off the double positive Calcium and Magnesium ions as it gathers to itself the single positive-charged Sodium ions. The enemy in this instance are the entrapped Calcium and Magnesium ions and the "overwhelming power", the rich brine solution containing the multitude of Sodium ions. One single Zeolite bead will attract numerous positive ions, not just one per bead.

    More brine with the Sodium ions is passed through the softener mineral bed than can ever be exchanged. This is to assure the reverse positive ion exchange will occur as explained. The excess brine is rinsed away to a drain facility and with it, the unwanted Calcium and Magnesium ions that were given up by the Zeolite bead in the regeneration process. At the completion of the regeneration process the mineral bed is regenerated -- the storehouse is restocked with Sodium ions -- and the softener is ready to produce soft water once again. The frequency of this regeneration process is determined, therefore, by the capacity of the softener, the hardness of the water and the water usage.

    In most softeners, the brine solution is transferred from the brine tank to the softener mineral tank by the vacuum created when water is directed to flow through the "Injector" located within the control valve. This is "the" most important function of the control valve. If the softener fails to draw brine from the brine tank into the mineral tank there can be no soft water. When you understand the function of salt in the regeneration of a water softener and how the salt brine solution is introduced into the softener tank, you will have the knowledge to understand 90% of the service problems with a typical softener and can better judge the service and support you get from your local softener dealer.

    We at The Good Water Company (A division of Porta Via Water Company, LLC) are committed to service excellence. Our softeners are of the highest quality and we have minimal service calls. We would be happy to diagnose any problems and service your current water softener. Give us a call at Toll Free 877-262-5191, International 316-262-5191 if you have any questions.

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    Water Softeners and a Low Sodium Diet


    Maintaining a low-sodium diet is more difficult if you use some types of "softened water".

    To understand the problem you need to know a little about how water softeners work. They usually contain a chamber filled with beads or a chemical matrix called zeolite. This is an ion-exchanger and acts by replacing the chemicals in the water that make it hard (calcium and magnesium) with another ion, usually sodium. When the beads are "full" of calcium and magnesium, they are regenerated by passing a high level of sodium chloride through the exchanger, which displaces the calcium and magnesium and replaces it with sodium. Now, when the beads are exposed to hard water again, they continue to do their job of swapping calcium and magnesium for sodium.

    For most individuals, the amount of sodium present in softened water is not a health problem. If however, you are trying to maintain a low sodium diet, this can add to your difficulties.

    The amount of sodium in softened water can vary. According to a paper by Yarows et al., (Sodium concentration from water softeners, Arch Intern Med. 1997 Jan 27;157(2):218-22) the sodium concentration of softened well water averaged 278 mg/L but the variation was very large. Levels from 46 to 1219 mg/L were observed. 17% of households had sodium levels above 400 mg/L. The amount of sodium that gets added depends on how hard the water is to start with. If the water is very hard then the sodium level will be higher, as shown in the table below.

    Initial Hardness
    (Grains CaCO3/gallon)

    Na added
    mg/liter

    10 75
    20 150
    30 225
    The above figures are the amount that is in addition to the sodium content before the water is softened. If you are trying to limit your sodium intake to 1500 mg/day, then drinking 2 liters of water with 400 mg/L sodium over the course of a day will represent more than half your daily limit! In the same study, the mean sodium concentration of municipal, non-softened water was 110 mg/L (range 0 - 253 mg/L).

    There are types of water softeners that do not add sodium to the water. Alternatively, if the ion-exchanger type of water softener is regenerated using potassium chloride, instead of sodium chloride, then potassium would be added to the water instead of sodium as the water was softened. However, in some patients with renal or cardiac disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, there can also be complications due to increased potassium intake so this should only be performed in consultation with your physician.

    Finally, drinking LESS water is NOT a solution to this problem. In order to clear sodium from the body effectively, the kidneys need water. Higher rates of urine production allow greater amounts of sodium to be cleared, which is why diuretics are commonly prescribed to Meniere's patients. Ideally, you should follow the widely recommended guideline of drinking 8 glasses of water, each of 8 oz, per day.

    Buying distilled water or using reverse-osmosis purification of your water for drinking may be an option.

    Written by Washington University in St. Louis - School of Medicine - http://oto.wustl.edu/men/water.htm

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    Water Technology Article

    What causes glassware discoloration and etching in dishwashers?

    Because there are other dishwasher glassware problems that are similar it is important to confirm the particular problem(s) that you are trying to fix.  This question probably refers to two of them.
    If the glassware has a rainbow-like or yellow coloration it may have what is called a silica film.  Some glassware is more resistant to this condition than others. 
    These colors follow existing stress lines in the glass and cannot be removed by acid or bleach but can be scraped off with a sharp knife.
    The silica film condition usually occurs:
    -In softened water;
    -When poor rinsing has occurred due to dishwasher overloading;
    -When detergents are used that have strong polyphosphate sequestering agents for use in hard water;
    -With detergent that is not dishwasher safe;
    -When there is a high silica-content feed water.
    To keep this problem from progressing:
    -The dishwasher should not be overloaded;
    -The amount of detergent should be cut back by about 2/3;
    -The water temperature should never exceed 140 degrees Fahrenheit; and
    -If possible, detergents should be used that have a lower phosphate content.

    Etching

    Etching occurs when the causes of colored film are allowed to continue. Signs of this condition are a cloudy appearance that cannot be removed by washing with vinegar (acid), bleach or water. 
    The cloudiness can be uniform over the surface of the glass or it can be spotty.  Unlike the colored film, the cloudiness cannot be scratched off with a knife.
    Etching is a deterioration of the glass that cannot be reversed.  Metal ions have been removed from the glass causes microscopic roughening of the surface.
    The causes of etching are the same as for the silica film, only more time must pass for the etching to occur.
    Hard water dishwashing, to the contrary, results in filming of glassware caused by the presence of calcium and magnesium.
    However, this type of film is readily removed by acid treatment.  Soaking in a mild acid like vinegar or citric acid will dissolve the hardness.
    To avoid etching:
    -Switch to a soft water dishwashing detergent, typically phosphate free;
    -Use less detergent;
    -Reduce water temperature to less than 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Written by David M. Bauman, technical editor of Water Technology and water treatment consultant.

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    Water Conservation Tips

    Do one thing each day that will save water.  Even if savings are small, every drop counts.

    Indoors

    • Insulate hot water pies so you don't have to run as much water to get hot water to the faucet.
    • Install salt-based water softening systems only when necessary.  Save water and salt by running the minimum number of regenerations necessary to maintain water softeners.
    • Choose new water-saving appliances, like washing machines that save up to 20 gallons per load.
    • When you give your pet fresh water, don't throw the old water down the drain.  Use it to water your trees and shrubs.

    Bathroom

    • Never use the toilet as a wastebasket
    • Do not let the water run while shaving or brushing your teeth
    • Take short showers instead of tub baths
    • Before pouring water down the drain, consider other uses for it, such as watering a plant or garden
    • Put food coloring in your toilet tank.  If it seeps into the toilet bowl, you have a leak.  It's easy to fix, and you can save more than 600 gallons per month.
    • Listen for dripping faucets and toilets that flush themselves.  Fixing a leak can save 500 gallons each month.
    • Turn off water while you shave and save more thatn 100 gallons per week.
    • When staying in a hotel, or even at home, consider reusing your towels.

    Laundry

    • Use the appropriate water level or load size selection on the washing machine
    • Wash full loads whenever possible

    Kitchen

    • Keep drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool
    • Wash fruits and vegetables in a basin
    • Use a vegetable brush to clean produce
    • Do not use water to defrost frozen foods; thaw them in the refrigerator overnight
    • Use a dishpan for washing and rinsing dishes
    • Add food wastes to you compost pile instead of using the garbage disposal
    • Operate the dishwasher only when completely full
    • Designate one glass for your drinking water each day.  This will cut down on the number of times you run your dishwasher.
    • Cut back on rinsing if your dishwasher is new.  Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.

    Outdoors

    • Sweep driveways, sidewalks, and steps rather than hosing them off
    • Wash the car from a bucket, or consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water
    • When using a hose, control the flow with an automatic shut off nozzle
    • Avoid purchasing water toys that require a constant stream of water
    • Lower the water level in your pool to reduce the amount of water splashed out
    • Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation when the pool is not in use       
    • Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk or street.
    • Plant during the spring or fall when the watering requirements are lower.
    • Minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning hours, when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter.
    • We're more likely to notice leaky faucets indoors, but don't forget to check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses for leaks.
    • Only water your lawn when needed.  You can tell this by simply walking across you lawn.  If you leave footprints, it's time to water.
    • Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting.  Longer grass shades root systems and holds moisture better than a closely clipped lawn.
    • Use a sprinkler for larger areas of grass.  Water small patches by hand to avoid waste.
    • Water summer lawns once every three days and your winter lawns once every five days.
    • Choose a water-efficient drip irrigation system for trees, shrubs and flowers.  Watering at the roots is very effective, be careful not to over water.
    • While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption.  Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed.
    • Avoid overseeding you lawn with winter grass.  Once established, ryegrass needs water every three to five days, whereas dormant Bermuda grass need water only once a month.
    • Winterize outdoor spigots when temps dip to 20 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent pipes from bursting or freezing.
    • Use a hose nozzle and turn off the water while you wash your car and save more than 100 gallons.
    • More plants die from over-watering than from under watering.  Be sure to water plants when necessary.
    • Aerate your lawn.  Punch holes in your lawn about six inches apart so water will reach the roots rather than run off the surface.

    EPA Drinking Water Standards
    Secondary Standards
    Contaminant Secondary Standard
    Aluminum 0.05 to 0.2 mg/L
    Chloride 250 mg/L
    Color 15 (color units)
    Copper 1.0 mg/L
    Corrosivity noncorrosive
    Fluoride 2.0 mg/L
    Foaming Agents 0.5 mg/L
    Iron 0.3 mg/L
    Manganese 0.05 mg/L
    Odor 3 threshold odor number
    pH 6.5-8.5
    Silver 0.10 mg/L
    Sulfate 250 mg/L
    Total Dissolved Solids 500 mg/L
    Zinc 5 mg/L

    Microorganisms

    Contaminant MCLG1
    (mg/L)2 MCL or TT1
    (mg/L)2 Potential Health Effects from Ingestion of Water Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water
    Cryptosporidium (pdf file) zero
    TT 3

    Gastrointestinal illness (e.g., diarrhea, vomiting, cramps)

    Human and fecal animal waste

    Giardia lamblia zero
    TT3

    Gastrointestinal illness (e.g., diarrhea, vomiting, cramps)

    Human and animal fecal waste

    Heterotrophic plate count n/a
    TT3

    HPC has no health effects; it is an analytic method used to measure the variety of bacteria that are common in water. The lower the concentration of bacteria in drinking water, the better maintained the water system is.

    HPC measures a range of bacteria that are naturally present in the environment

    Legionella zero
    TT3

    Legionnaire's Disease, a type of pneumonia

    Found naturally in water; multiplies in heating systems

    Total Coliforms (including fecal coliform and E. Coli) zero
    5.0%4

    Not a health threat in itself; it is used to indicate whether other potentially harmful bacteria may be present5

    Coliforms are naturally present in the environment; as well as feces; fecal coliforms and E. coli only come from human and animal fecal waste.

    Turbidity n/a
    TT3

    Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness of water. It is used to indicate water quality and filtration effectiveness (e.g., whether disease-causing organisms are present). Higher turbidity levels are often associated with higher levels of disease-causing microorganisms such as viruses, parasites and some bacteria. These organisms can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches.

    Soil runoff

    Viruses (enteric) zero
    TT3

    Gastrointestinal illness (e.g., diarrhea, vomiting, cramps)

    Human and animal fecal waste

    Disinfection Byproducts

    Contaminant MCLG1
    (mg/L)2 MCL or TT1
    (mg/L)2 Potential Health Effects from Ingestion of Water Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water
    Bromate zero
    0.010

    Increased risk of cancer

    Byproduct of drinking water disinfection

    Chlorite 0.8
    1.0

    Anemia; infants & young children: nervous system effects

    Byproduct of drinking water disinfection

    Haloacetic acids (HAA5) n/a6
    0.060

    Increased risk of cancer

    Byproduct of drinking water disinfection

    Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) none7
    ----------
    n/a6
    0.10
    ----------
    0.080

    Liver, kidney or central nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer

    Byproduct of drinking water disinfection

    Disinfectants

    Contaminant MRDLG1
    (mg/L)2 MRDL1
    (mg/L)2 Potential Health Effects from Ingestion of Water Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water
    Chloramines (as Cl2) MRDLG=41
    MRDL=4.01

    Eye/nose irritation; stomach discomfort, anemia

    Water additive used to control microbes

    Chlorine (as Cl2) MRDLG=41
    MRDL=4.01

    Eye/nose irritation; stomach discomfort

    Water additive used to control microbes

    Chlorine dioxide (as ClO2) MRDLG=0.81
    MRDL=0.81

    Anemia; infants & young children: nervous system effects

    Water additive used to control microbes

    Inorganic Chemicals

    Contaminant MCLG1
    (mg/L)2 MCL or TT1
    (mg/L)2 Potential Health Effects from Ingestion of Water Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water
    Antimony 0.006
    0.006

    Increase in blood cholesterol; decrease in blood sugar

    Discharge from petroleum refineries; fire retardants; ceramics; electronics; solder

    Arsenic 07
    0.010
    as of 01/23/06

    Skin damage or problems with circulatory systems, and may have increased risk of getting cancer

    Erosion of natural deposits; runoff from orchards, runoff from glass & electronicsproduction wastes

    Asbestos
    (fiber >10 micrometers)
    7 million fibers per liter
    7 MFL

    Increased risk of developing benign intestinal polyps

    Decay of asbestos cement in water mains; erosion of natural deposits

    Barium 2
    2

    Increase in blood pressure

    Discharge of drilling wastes; discharge from metal refineries; erosion of natural deposits

    Beryllium 0.004
    0.004

    Intestinal lesions

    Discharge from metal refineries and coal-burning factories; discharge from electrical, aerospace, and defense industries

    Cadmium 0.005
    0.005

    Kidney damage

    Corrosion of galvanized pipes; erosion of natural deposits; discharge from metal refineries; runoff from waste batteries and paints

    Chromium (total) 0.1
    0.1

    Allergic dermatitis

    Discharge from steel and pulp mills; erosion of natural deposits

    Copper 1.3
    TT8;
    Action Level=1.3

    Short term exposure: Gastrointestinal distress

    Long term exposure: Liver or kidney damage

    People with Wilson's Disease should consult their personal doctor if the amount of copper in their water exceeds the action level

    Corrosion of household plumbing systems; erosion of natural deposits

    Cyanide (as free cyanide) 0.2
    0.2

    Nerve damage or thyroid problems

    Discharge from steel/metal factories; discharge from plastic and fertilizer factories

    Fluoride 4.0
    4.0

    Bone disease (pain and tenderness of the bones); Children may get mottled teeth

    Water additive which promotes strong teeth; erosion of natural deposits; discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories

    Lead zero
    TT8;
    Action Level=0.015

    Infants and children: Delays in physical or mental development; children could show slight deficits in attention span and learning abilities

    Adults: Kidney problems; high blood pressure

    Corrosion of household plumbing systems; erosion of natural deposits

    Mercury (inorganic) 0.002
    0.002

    Kidney damage

    Erosion of natural deposits; discharge from refineries and factories; runoff from landfills and croplands

    Nitrate (measured as Nitrogen) 10
    10

    Infants below the age of six months who drink water containing nitrate in excess of the MCL could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue-baby syndrome.

    Runoff from fertilizer use; leaching from septic tanks, sewage; erosion of natural deposits

    Nitrite (measured as Nitrogen) 1
    1

    Infants below the age of six months who drink water containing nitrite in excess of the MCL could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue-baby syndrome.

    Runoff from fertilizer use; leaching from septic tanks, sewage; erosion of natural deposits

    Selenium 0.05
    0.05

    Hair or fingernail loss; numbness in fingers or toes; circulatory problems

    Discharge from petroleum refineries; erosion of natural deposits; discharge from mines

    Thallium 0.0005
    0.002

    Hair loss; changes in blood; kidney, intestine, or liver problems

    Leaching from ore-processing sites; discharge from electronics, glass, and drug factories

    Organic Chemicals

    Contaminant MCLG1
    (mg/L)2 MCL or TT1
    (mg/L)2 Potential Health Effects from Ingestion of Water Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water
    Acrylamide zero
    TT9

    Nervous system or blood problems; increased risk of cancer

    Added to water during sewage/wastewater treatment

    Alachlor zero
    0.002

    Eye, liver, kidney or spleen problems; anemia; increased risk of cancer

    Runoff from herbicide used on row crops

    Atrazine 0.003
    0.003

    Cardiovascular system or reproductive problems

    Runoff from herbicide used on row crops

    Benzene zero
    0.005

    Anemia; decrease in blood platelets; increased risk of cancer

    Discharge from factories; leaching from gas storage tanks and landfills

    Benzo(a)pyrene (PAHs) zero
    0.0002

    Reproductive difficulties; increased risk of cancer

    Leaching from linings of water storage tanks and distribution lines

    Carbofuran 0.04
    0.04

    Problems with blood, nervous system, or reproductive system

    Leaching of soil fumigant used on rice and alfalfa

    Carbon
    tetrachloride
    zero
    0.005

    Liver problems; increased risk of cancer

    Discharge from chemical plants and other industrial activities

    Chlordane zero
    0.002

    Liver or nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer

    Residue of banned termiticide

    Chlorobenzene 0.1
    0.1

    Liver or kidney problems

    Discharge from chemical and agricultural chemical factories

    2,4-D 0.07
    0.07

    Kidney, liver, or adrenal gland problems

    Runoff from herbicide used on row crops

    Dalapon 0.2
    0.2

    Minor kidney changes

    Runoff from herbicide used on rights of way

    1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP) zero
    0.0002

    Reproductive difficulties; increased risk of cancer

    Runoff/leaching from soil fumigant used on soybeans, cotton, pineapples, and orchards

    o-Dichlorobenzene 0.6
    0.6

    Liver, kidney, or circulatory system problems

    Discharge from industrial chemical factories

    p-Dichlorobenzene 0.075
    0.075

    Anemia; liver, kidney or spleen damage; changes in blood

    Discharge from industrial chemical factories

    1,2-Dichloroethane zero
    0.005

    Increased risk of cancer

    Discharge from industrial chemical factories

    1,1-Dichloroethylene 0.007
    0.007

    Liver problems

    Discharge from industrial chemical factories

    cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene 0.07
    0.07

    Liver problems

    Discharge from industrial chemical factories

    trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene 0.1
    0.1

    Liver problems

    Discharge from industrial chemical factories

    Dichloromethane zero
    0.005

    Liver problems; increased risk of cancer

    Discharge from drug and chemical factories

    1,2-Dichloropropane zero
    0.005

    Increased risk of cancer

    Discharge from industrial chemical factories

    Di(2-ethylhexyl) adipate 0.4
    0.4

    Weight loss, liver problems, or possible reproductive difficulties.

    Discharge from chemical factories

    Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate zero
    0.006

    Reproductive difficulties; liver problems; increased risk of cancer

    Discharge from rubber and chemical factories

    Dinoseb 0.007
    0.007

    Reproductive difficulties

    Runoff from herbicide used on soybeans and vegetables

    Dioxin (2,3,7,8-TCDD) zero
    0.00000003

    Reproductive difficulties; increased risk of cancer

    Emissions from waste incineration and other combustion; discharge from chemical factories

    Diquat 0.02
    0.02

    Cataracts

    Runoff from herbicide use

    Endothall 0.1
    0.1

    Stomach and intestinal problems

    Runoff from herbicide use

    Endrin 0.002
    0.002

    Liver problems

    Residue of banned insecticide

    Epichlorohydrin zero
    TT9

    Increased cancer risk, and over a long period of time, stomach problems

    Discharge from industrial chemical factories; an impurity of some water treatment chemicals

    Ethylbenzene 0.7
    0.7

    Liver or kidneys problems

    Discharge from petroleum refineries

    Ethylene dibromide zero
    0.00005

    Problems with liver, stomach, reproductive system, or kidneys; increased risk of cancer

    Discharge from petroleum refineries

    Glyphosate 0.7
    0.7

    Kidney problems; reproductive difficulties

    Runoff from herbicide use

    Heptachlor zero
    0.0004

    Liver damage; increased risk of cancer

    Residue of banned termiticide

    Heptachlor epoxide zero
    0.0002

    Liver damage; increased risk of cancer

    Breakdown of heptachlor

    Hexachlorobenzene zero
    0.001

    Liver or kidney problems; reproductive difficulties; increased risk of cancer

    Discharge from metal refineries and agricultural chemical factories

    Hexachlorocyclopentadiene 0.05
    0.05

    Kidney or stomach problems

    Discharge from chemical factories

    Lindane 0.0002
    0.0002

    Liver or kidney problems

    Runoff/leaching from insecticide used on cattle, lumber, gardens

    Methoxychlor 0.04
    0.04

    Reproductive difficulties

    Runoff/leaching from insecticide used on fruits, vegetables, alfalfa, livestock

    Oxamyl (Vydate) 0.2
    0.2

    Slight nervous system effects

    Runoff/leaching from insecticide used on apples, potatoes, and tomatoes

    Polychlorinated
    biphenyls (PCBs)
    zero
    0.0005

    Skin changes; thymus gland problems; immune deficiencies; reproductive or nervous system difficulties; increased risk of cancer

    Runoff from landfills; discharge of waste chemicals

    Pentachlorophenol zero
    0.001

    Liver or kidney problems; increased cancer risk

    Discharge from wood preserving factories

    Picloram 0.5
    0.5

    Liver problems

    Herbicide runoff

    Simazine 0.004
    0.004

    Problems with blood

    Herbicide runoff

    Styrene 0.1
    0.1

    Liver, kidney, or circulatory system problems

    Discharge from rubber and plastic factories; leaching from landfills

    Tetrachloroethylene zero
    0.005

    Liver problems; increased risk of cancer

    Discharge from factories and dry cleaners

    Toluene 1
    1

    Nervous system, kidney, or liver problems

    Discharge from petroleum factories

    Toxaphene zero
    0.003

    Kidney, liver, or thyroid problems; increased risk of cancer

    Runoff/leaching from insecticide used on cotton and cattle

    2,4,5-TP (Silvex) 0.05
    0.05

    Liver problems

    Residue of banned herbicide

    1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene 0.07
    0.07

    Changes in adrenal glands

    Discharge from textile finishing factories

    1,1,1-Trichloroethane 0.20
    0.2

    Liver, nervous system, or circulatory problems

    Discharge from metal degreasing sites and other factories

    1,1,2-Trichloroethane 0.003
    0.005

    Liver, kidney, or immune system problems

    Discharge from industrial chemical factories

    Trichloroethylene zero
    0.005

    Liver problems; increased risk of cancer

    Discharge from metal degreasing sites and other factories

    Vinyl chloride zero
    0.002

    Increased risk of cancer

    Leaching from PVC pipes; discharge from plastic factories

    Xylenes (total) 10
    10

    Nervous system damage

    Discharge from petroleum factories; discharge from chemical factories

    Radionuclides

    Contaminant MCLG1
    (mg/L)2 MCL or TT1
    (mg/L)2 Potential Health Effects from Ingestion of Water Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water
    Alpha particles none7
    ----------
    zero
    15 picocuries per Liter (pCi/L)

    Increased risk of cancer

    Erosion of natural deposits of certain minerals that are radioactive and may emit a form of radiation known as alpha radiation

    Beta particles and photon emitters none7
    ----------
    zero
    4 millirems per year

    Increased risk of cancer

    Decay of natural and man-made deposits of

    certain minerals that are radioactive and may emit forms of radiation known as photons and beta radiation

    Radium 226 and Radium 228 (combined) none7
    ----------
    zero
    5 pCi/L

    Increased risk of cancer

    Erosion of natural deposits

    Uranium zero

    30 ug/L
    as of 12/08/03

    Increased risk of cancer, kidney toxicity Erosion of natural deposits

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