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Old 10-24-2012, 01:16 PM   #1
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Default New to water chemistry, help w/ mineral content


I'm an AG brewer who is just beginning to read about water chemistry. I found a report on the water I usually brew with:

I know that I need to determine the content of several minerals in the water(sodium, calcium, magnesium, etc). The problem is that everything on the chart is a chloride, sulphate or carbonate. How do I interperate this??? For example three types of sodium are listed on the chart. Do I add them together??? Also the chart is measured in grains per gallon instead of PPM. I found a calculator to convert to PPM. Is this the correct way to do this???

Thanks for any help.

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Old 10-24-2012, 01:32 PM   #2
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Adding them together sounds way too simple. I'm sure a chemist could tell you exactly how to transfer this information into the information you need, but they are in short supply around here. If you have a minute, you might try calling them directly. Perhaps someone at the water department can simply list for you the ppm for each ion you're after. Here's the number I found on the town's website:
Berkeley Springs Water Works: 271 Wilkes Street, Phone: 304-258-1290.

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Old 10-24-2012, 03:36 PM   #3
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I regard this report with a bit of suspicion. When these materials are in solution you have sodium ions, potassium ions, bicarbonate ions etc are whirling around quite independent of one another. If you boil off all the water then the salts form and they will form in certain relative proportions but how would you tell that there is so much potassium chloride and so much potassium sulfate from the powder? FTIR perhaps but would these guys go to the trouble and expense of FTIR analysis?

In any event how much sodium came from the nitrate and how much from the sulfate is immaterial to you. You are only interested in the total sodium, total chloride etc. Taking these numbers at face value it is a simple matter to figure out the ion contents. For sodium chloride, for example, convert the grains per gallon to mg/L. Then look up (Wikipedia is fine) the atomic/molecular weight of sodium, chlorine and sodium chloride. Divide the mg/L sodium chloride content by the molecular weight of sodium chloride. This gives the millimoles of sodium and chloride per liter. Multiply by the atomic weight of chlorine to get the mg/L chloride and by the atomic weight of sodium to get the mg/L sodium from sodium chloride. For the sulfate and carbonate salts it's a little trickier. Divide mg/L by the molecular weight of the salt. That again gives the millimoles of the salt but note that the formula of potassium sulfate, for example, is K2SO4 whereas for magnesium sulfate it is MgSO4. Thus 1 mmol of potassium sulfate contains 1 mmol of sulfate but 2 of potassium whereas 1 mmol of MgSO4 contains 1 mmol of each. For the carbonates it gets a bit trickier still. In the case of magnesium carbonate, for example, the formula is MgCO3 but in solution it is really Mg(HCO3)2. When the water was boiled off to get the dry salts analysis one CO2 molecule flies off for each molecule of MgCO3 precipitated.
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:34 PM   #4
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This does not look like a drinking water report, it's a mineral analysis that I presume demonstrates the "homeopathic quality" of the spa water. You need a drinking water report.
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