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Old 09-15-2011, 09:39 PM   #1
benbradford
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Default Help with water quality report

I know that there have been a thousand of these, but here is mine

I believe that my water is already pretty soft, but cannot get info about if is temporary or permanent hardness. Here is the info I have been able to get off of the internet so far.

Water hardness varies from 35 to 110 mg/L averaging about 80 mg/L (4.68 grains/g) annually. PH varies from 7.5 to 8.0. Chloride has averaged about 6 mg/L over the previous 10-year period.
Chlorine levels entering the distribution system ranged from 0.81 to 1.83 mg/L. Most of the iron and manganese is removed – trace amounts remain. Additional fluoride is added to the water for dental health benefits to a target level of 1.10 mg/L.

Detected cotaminents as follows in ppm
Copper 1.3
Lead 15
Sodium 1.9


From what I can determine, the water is fairly soft, acidic, and chlorinated.

I treat with campden for chorine, and ph5.2 for mash. I sometimes use gypsum for ales. I would like to know if it temporary or permanent hardness however.

Thanks

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Old 09-15-2011, 09:53 PM   #2
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To answer your question we need to know the sulfate (and chloride which you gave) and alkalinity. Temporary hardness is that which is paired with bicarbonate. If there is more hardness (expressed in equivalents) than alkalinity (expressed in equivalents) the temporary hardness is equal to the alkalinity and the permanent hardness is the hardness minus the alkalinity (total hardness minus temporary hardness).

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Old 09-15-2011, 10:24 PM   #3
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Upon further reading, I found that without the sulfate count, it is impossible to answer.

With the sulfate we could do an ion ratio to determine the bicarbonate, and therefore the alkalinity.

One thing that I read that hardness is usually expressed with 70% being Calcium, and 30% Magnesium. I guess the next step is to send in a water quality sample, or could I just call a brewery in town?

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Old 09-16-2011, 12:34 AM   #4
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With the sulfate we could do an ion ratio to determine the bicarbonate, and therefore the alkalinity.
That only works if you know all the significant ions except one. In this case you would need to know both the calcium and magnesium hardnesses as well as the chloride and sulfate. You can make assumptions about the relative composition of the total hardness but the accuracy of the assumptions changes the accuracy of the bicarbonate estimate.

It is far better to obtain a valid alkalinity number. Your water authority is measuring it (and the sulfate too) but probably not reporting it as the average consumer has no idea what it means. You can try calling the water department and asking to speak to someone in the lab. Sometimes these folks are very helpful (tell them you are a brewer) and sometimes they aren't. You could also check with a local brewery if you are sure they are receiving the same mains water you are and finally, sending a sample off to a lab is certainly going to give you the data you need.
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:43 AM   #5
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Detected cotaminents as follows in ppm
Copper 1.3
Lead 15
Sodium 1.9
Are you sure those numbers aren't ppb rather than ppm? 15 ppm of lead sounds like a lot. BTW those "water quality" reports are just that, letting the consumer know that the water department's product is safe to drink. I would strongly suggest obtaining a detailed water analysis that will let you know the contents of all the important brewing ions.
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Old 09-16-2011, 01:07 AM   #6
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Thanks, the 15 ppb lead is correct, not 15 ppm.

I did talk to the head of the local water authority, and she said that they were not measuring specifically anything that wasn't listed in the report. The only thing that I really go was the ph, the chlorine, the chloride, and the water hardness.

Not really helpful, but I will contact the Breckenridge Brewery here in town, because I hope that he will share his water quality report.

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Old 09-16-2011, 03:39 AM   #7
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Thanks, the 15 ppb lead is correct, not 15 ppm.
And a good thing that is too.

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I did talk to the head of the local water authority, and she said that they were not measuring specifically anything that wasn't listed in the report.
She's lying. They need to know the saturation pH of their water in order to protect their mains from corroding on the one hand or becoming occluded on the other. That requires that they know the alkalinity. Not to mention that it is such a simple test to do. You can do it yourself if you like. Go to www.hach.com and order a kit.
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