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Very high Alkalinity and Chloride in my water?

(22 Posts)
napkin Tue 21-May-13 23:12:43

I done a home water test and all was fine apart from the two stated above. Is this a problem? Does anyone know what this means?

flow4 Wed 22-May-13 00:03:10

Purer water is naturally neutral, with a pH level of 7.0. High alkalinity means its pH is higher than 7.0 because of something else in the water. Alkaline is the opposite of acid.

Chloride is one of the (many) things that get added to water by water companies. It's also what they put in swimming pools. It is added to purify/kill germs, and there is generally more of it in urban areas, or in towns/areas which are a long way away from the supply, where water has to travel a long way in pipes, or where water is 'recycled' many times.

napkin Wed 22-May-13 00:21:47

Would this be any reason to worry and would I need to treat it?

napkin Wed 22-May-13 00:23:21

I thought they added Chlorine not chloride to swimming pools?

flow4 Wed 22-May-13 07:38:39

Chloride is the word used to describe compounds of chlorine. There are lots of different chloride compounds, including sodium chloride, which is salt - so if your test kit is just telling you there are 'chlorides' in your water, that's not very useful. Chlorine itself is a gas that doesn't occur naturally, but swimming pools and water companies (I believe) use a compound of it that oxygenates easily - i.e. that releases chlorine when it reacts with oxygen, to 'purify' the water.

Have you got your own private water supply? If so, I'd say you need to get a professional to tell you whether it's fit to drink, cos I'm just some random, reasonably well-informed stranger on the internet! If not, and you share a supply with others, then the powers-that-be judge it fit to drink... But if you are someone who still has doubts, you can buy one of the many water filtering kits available. smile

nocake Wed 22-May-13 07:55:21

As flow4 says, if your water isn't from a private supply then it will be safe to drink. In the UK we have excellent water quality because there are laws that protect us.

Water can be alkaline because of natural minerals that are dissolved in it. Hard water will always be alkaline. You don't say how alkaline yours is.

napkin Wed 22-May-13 09:28:45

The Alkalinity is measuring around 12 and the chloride around 500 so very high. I do not have a private water supply. Was concerned as my washing is wearing fast and the limescale and orange rust is bad in my bathrooms and the water is drying out our skin. I done the test to find out if the water is to blame but now I don't know where to go from here?

flow4 Wed 22-May-13 23:14:50

What scale is your water alkalinity test using? Your drinking water is very unlikely to have a pH as high as 12. Alkalines that strong can cause burns (though probably in stronger concentration than drinking water). Corrosive/caustic chemicals like bleach, ammonia and caustic soda have a pH of 11-12!

This level is also beyond legally permitted levels of alkalinity for the UK - the permitted maximum is about 10, and the recommended range is about 6.5-7.5.

If the scale is (supposed to be) pH, then I would do a couple of things to check the accuracy of the kit... Firstly, re-test the water a couple of times. Secondly test some other things. For example, lemon juice/vinegar should have a pH level of about 2. Milk should have a pH of about 7.

If the pH really is 12, then I reckon you should report it to your water company, then to the Drinking Water Inspectorate if the company doesn't act quickly. There is some guidance here >>

napkin Thu 23-May-13 08:39:16

My pH level measures around 10 what seems ok. A little high.

napkin Thu 23-May-13 09:14:57

Thanks for all your advice Flow4. Do you think i should get onto my water company still?

nocake Thu 23-May-13 21:44:00

If you're in an area with very hard water, and it sounds like you are, there's nothing the water company can do about it. The water will meet the safety standards. You could look at having a water softener installed.

napkin Thu 23-May-13 22:38:08

I'm not sure if a water softener will be any good as my water is high in chloride which is a type of salt and a softener will carry more salt.

flow4 Thu 23-May-13 23:47:27

pH10 is still high. I'd still report it to the water company, if I were you. It is possible that there's some kind of contamination, and I'd want to get it checked out... They may just tell you that's normal for your area - and then you'll be reassured - or they may find something. You have nothing to lose.

PigletJohn Thu 23-May-13 23:55:44

The water company will be doing regular laboratory checks of their water quality, and I bet the first thing they will do is challenge the accuracy of your home test kit if it gives strikingly different results.

What make is it, and where did you buy it?

What county or city are you in? Do you live at the end of a long lane?

Rust stains are quite unusual and are more often from old iron tanks or pipes in the house. How old is your home?

flow4 Fri 24-May-13 07:59:49

Yes, I think a contaminant in your own pipes or near your house is most likely.

The high pH is very unusual, which is why I suggest testing some other things like lemon juice and milk to check whether the kit is accurate.

If it is, you don't need to complain to the water company, you can just approach them to inform and raise a concern. I think they may actually be as keen as you to check it out.

napkin Fri 24-May-13 12:48:46

I will test the water again and call the water board if the same results. Kits are expensive to buy to test other things so think this might be the best thing. No Iron in my water so don't think the rust colour staining can be down to that. A lot of my pipework is new.

napkin Fri 24-May-13 12:50:30

I live on the boarders of SE so I know I have hard water.

napkin Fri 24-May-13 12:53:37

I bought my kit from simplex health 13 in 1 kit.

flow4 Fri 24-May-13 18:27:05

You can buy 160 pH test strips for just £2.29 on Amazon smile

flow4 Fri 24-May-13 18:29:35

Red/brown water is often peat, rather than iron. Do you have peaty soil in your area?

I think OP meant that the water is causing rust stains, not that the water is red/brown, as that would not pass industry standards with regard to water quality. Hard water will cause rust staining.
You could check the website of your water company and get a copy of their Drinking Water Quality report. The Drinking Water Inspectorate will have audited them.
They will also, on request, test your water at tap.
There's nothing you can do about having hard water, that's down to the catchment area of your supply. A water softener will help.

napkin Fri 24-May-13 21:29:36

I will get onto the water board for them to test for peace of mind.

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