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WATER: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How

Without water, there can be no life. Since most people receive their water from a secondary source, it's only right to take a look at some of the unique problems of water safety.

What is the difference between surface water and ground water?

Groundwater is water that's hidden because it's buried somewhere in the earth's surface in places between gravel, sand, and clay. However, some scientists believe that it accounts for 95% of freshwater in the world, which makes it extremely vital to life's survival. About 50% of the US gets their drinking water from groundwater surface and 40% of the river flow in the US depends on groundwater. Surface water is water that's on the surface of the earth. Water in lakes, rivers, and the ocean is considered surface water.

What is hard water and how do I measure it?

Hard water is water that's high in dissolved minerals, particularly calcium or magnesium.There are kits you can buy to test your water's "hardness" but your water provider should have that information available because they should have done testing already. Washing clothes in it makes them look dingy and feel scratchy. Bathing in hard water leaves film on the skin and it can prevent any actual washing. It also makes hair dull. Hard water causes spotting when it's used in the dishwasher.

What to do if water is hard?

If your water is hard, you can buy a water softener. You can also use rinse agents that remove mineral deposits in the shower or dishwasher and lower the temperature of your water heater, which will reduce the amount of minerals deposited in tanks and pipes.

Why does my water stink and what can be done to fix it?

Sometimes, people have water that has a bad, rotten egg smell to it. This occurs because sulfur and sulfate in the water produce sulfide gas. This is harmless but it does make the water smell. Some people only have smelly water when they turn on hot water. The best thing to do is disinfect the entire water system by chlorinating it. However, this is not a long-term solution. A special oxidizing filter can be installed to fix the problem.

What are water stains and how are they formed?

Water stains are formed when water drips repeatedly onto a surface. As the water drips, minerals build up, causing a visible stain. Oxidized stains are old stains that have turned yellow over time and are usually caused by water-based spills or oil-based stills. Water soluble stains are stains that can be removed with water-based cleaning products. The term "colloidal" refers to any chemical mixture that has one substance evenly dispersed throughout another substance. Gram staining refers to a special method of differentiating bacteria into two large groups based on their special properties.

How can filters improve drinking water?

Water filters can filter out all of the excess and unwanted minerals found in water. It makes water taste better and drinking fewer minerals reduces the risk of contracting certain illnesses. There are several methods of filtering. Deionization results in highly purified water that has all of its mineral ions removed. Distillation occurs when water is heated to a boil to kill off bacteria and then condensing the steam into a container, leaving solid contaminants behind. With reverse osmosis, pressure is used to force a solution through water membrane, allowing pure solvent to pass through. It's one of the best ways to produce mineral-free water. Ion-exchanging, also known as water-softening, occurs when a special treatment method is used to remove dissolved magnesium, calcium, and other minerals.

When should I test my water and how are test done?

It's a good idea to test your water when you suspect something is wrong with your water supply. If your water has a strange smell or odor or someone in your house is experiencing gastrointestinal diseases or you live near livestock or even if your water stains your dishes, it's time to test your water. Test for the presence of bacteria and other contaminants. Water is tested by collecting samples. Some people choose to send their water to a laboratory or use simple kits that can test the levels of certain contaminants on their own.

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