Common Water Quality Problems in Public Supplies


Besides health related contaminants in water, people may deal with one or more of the following issues.


Hardness of water vary from one region to another. It is the main cause of white scaling and spotting on glassware. The higher the concentration of hardness causing chemicals in your water, the more white scale you will notice on faucets and other water fixtures. This scale is not easily cleaned with water. Scale from hard water can also cause damage to water heaters and the water pipes in your home. Many people notice that hard water is hard on cloth. The effectiveness of shampoo and soap also goes down when water is hard. Normally hard water is on the alkaline side (ph>7).

Reducing hardness in your water will extend the life of water heaters and keep pipes from clogging. Water softeners are an effective way to remove the cause of hardness in your household water.


Blue/green staining on water fixtures and clothing is often caused by the presence of copper in the water. One possible cause of leaching copper in water is the fact that corrosive water is passing in copper pipes. Corrosive or acidic water can eat and damage the pipes, resulting in the release of copper into water.  Whole-house filtration systems with calcite (alkaline) media can raise the pH of water, effectively reducing its potential to cause damage and staining.


Red or orange staining usually indicates the presence of iron in water. Iron is a naturally occurring substance from rock formations that water picks up underground. Many people find this stain very annoying and hard to clean. Chlorine normally oxidize iron but filtration is needed afterward to remove the red staining particles. In fact, a water softener will remove iron from water entering the house.

Black staining usually indicates the presence of manganese in water. Manganese is rare and is quite a nuisance. In many cases, when find manganese, you find also iron in the water.


Off tastes in water can have many causes. Most contaminants causing off-tastes can be successfully reduced by installing carbon filters as a point of entry system or point of use system.

Chlorine taste and odor is caused by compounds containing chlorine added to water supplies. These compounds can cause odors and tastes that many people find objectionable.


Rotten egg smell in water is caused by hydrogen sulfide gas in the water. This gas is naturally occurring; however, when present, it can cause very objectionable smells and can even cause damage to copper pipes due to its corrosive nature. If it is present in your water, KDF media with GAC can remove this gas. alternatively, the gas can be removed by aeration or oxidation using chlorine.


Cloudy water may be caused by the presence of suspended particles in water, or simply from air bubbles. If a glass of cloudy water clarifies over time from the bottom of the glass upwards, it usually indicates micro-bubbles. However, if it clarifies over time, from the top down, or does not clear at all, this may indicate the presence of suspended particles. Suspended particles can be removed by sediment filters as point of entry system. Many point of use systems has sediment pre filters.

QUESTION: Should You Filter Your Water? Are there any benefits from drinking filtered water as opposed to municipal tap water? ANSWER.