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Old 05-20-2008, 04:17 PM   #1
Jan 2008
Posts: 19
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I went to our local sanitation district office and got a water analysis for our area, but it contained little of the necessary info pertaining to brewing.

My question is, how do I go about asking for an analysis of the specific compounds needed in brewing? If i understand correctly, I would need to know:

In ppm:
Calcium (Ca)
Magnesium (Ma)
Sodium (Na)
Sulfate (SO4)
Chloride (Cl)
Silica (SiO2)
Iron (Fe)

As well as:
Total Hardness
Total Alkalinity

Im not a chemist, so I want to make sure I'm asking the right questions and furnishing the correct info to get what I need. If anyone can help out, or let me know what else I should ask about my water, any help is appreciated


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Old 05-20-2008, 05:32 PM   #2
A4J's Avatar
Mar 2008
the Desert, CA
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Just ask them if they have that information. From your list, California doesn't regulate sodium, calcium, magnesium and hardiness, but it appears in our water report anyway. Hardiness is expressed as CaCO3.

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Old 05-20-2008, 05:46 PM   #3
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Aug 2007
Buffalo, NY
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I looked up the number for my water treatment lab (actually, I got transferred three times and ended up there, but it had the same result). I think it's called a Water Treatment Analysis? I did a bad job and said something like 'the amount of calcium and magnesium and stuff' and 'all the information you have as long as it wouldn't be too much trouble.' The very nice woman faxed me a sheet with a ton of information on it... it had everything you're looking for except maybe silica on it.
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Old 05-20-2008, 06:36 PM   #4
Apr 2008
Madison, WI
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I believe you can ask for the "Organics", is what they are sometimes considered.
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Old 05-20-2008, 07:42 PM   #5
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Jul 2006
State College, Pennsylvania
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Tell them you are a homebrewer and want to know the breakdown of the salts and hardness in your water as they are important for brewing. We get mailed yearly water reports, but they don't include the info. on the salts. It is mostly reports on possible contaminants to the water. I called our local water district and told them I was a brewer and they knew exactly what I wanted. Not the organics, that would be pollutants in the water like industrial solvents and pesticides, good to know for sure, but not what you need for brewing purposes
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Old 05-20-2008, 07:49 PM   #6
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Jan 2008
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Ask for a "Water Cemistry Analysis Report".

And be nice about it. It is Public Information but isn't usually published for the public. I get mine in the form of a protected excel file but I do have to request it regularly. I got no-where with the water department customer service people and had to call the lab manager directly.

If you are an ass with them, you will become the lowest priority and you'll get it "when they get around to it". And prolly just get a copy of what they have published, a cleanliness report, which is useless for brewing.

Be sure to ask for an e-mail copy as it is much easier to distribute and takes less effort than a hrd copy. Besides, you could always print it yourself.

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Old 05-20-2008, 08:17 PM   #7
Bernie Brewer
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Feb 2006
Eldorado, WI
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Around here the only thing the county office will test for is coliform, and maybe a couple other pathogens. In order to get a complete analysis, you have to go to a private lab. Might be different where you are though.........
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Old 05-20-2008, 08:18 PM   #8
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Jun 2007
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Originally Posted by cactusgarrett View Post
I believe you can ask for the "Organics", is what they are sometimes considered.
In chemistry "organic" compounds contain at minimum carbon and hydrogen, so that wouldn't get what he's looking for.

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Old 05-20-2008, 08:52 PM   #9
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Jul 2006
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Originally Posted by GilaMinumBeer View Post
Ask for a "Water Chemistry Analysis Report"
That got me a very short and useless summary that really only told me that the city water supply was chlorinated and otherwise relatively uncontaminated. I had to call back and ask about salts, hardness, and alkalinity to get the correct report.

Originally Posted by menschmaschine View Post
In chemistry "organic" compounds contain at minimum carbon and hydrogen, so that wouldn't get what he's looking for.
While that may be true, the holders of a city water report likely don't have chemistry degrees. They may well refer to the types of figures that we're interested in as "organics."
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:16 PM   #10
Apr 2007
Omaha, NE
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Many municipalities have these reports online. Try the water dept. web site.

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