How healthy is your water?

We use our water every day—in more ways than we even think about—so you could say that its health has a strong connection to our own. We should be getting annual checkups, and our water is no different. A lot can happen in a year, after all. Here’s to making it a healthy, happy one.

How would you describe your water?

Select from options below, and we’ll come up with a preliminary diagnosis.

IS EVERYTHING FINE?

We definitely hope so! Contact us today for a free 10-minute water assessment and find out for sure.


ARSENIC

Number 33 on the periodic table is nothing to mess around with. Left untreated, water tainted with this naturally occurring mineral has the power to cause or worsen nervous system disorders, skin conditions and various types of cancer. Overall, the long-term effects of arsenic, even in small doses, can be devastating and sometimes even fatal.

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SIGNS + RISK FACTORS
Luckily for us Hoosiers and our neighbors to the north, arsenic doesn’t typically present itself naturally; however, arsenic is practically impossible to detect without a water test. It’s odorless, tasteless and leaves no visual clues. It typically pollutes areas surrounding large agricultural and industrial sites, but it’s also a good idea for those with private wells to test for arsenic—just in case.

TREATMENT PLAN
If a test determines there is arsenic in your water, the best way to treat it is through a series of filters. These separate filters will not only remove the arsenic, but also its companion contaminants, commonly consisting of fluoride and total dissolved solids (TDS).

CONCLUSION
Even if your water seems fine, our advice is to get a test—especially if you have a private well. Tri-County will come to you and perform a quick diagnostic, free of charge. Contact us today to set up some peace of mind.

IRON

Iron is a culprit for many common water ailments notoriously referred to as having “hard water”. While non-toxic, iron-tainted water can taste unpleasant at best, look startlingly dirty and stain basins and fixtures. Over time, iron often leaves limescale buildup, creating blockages in plumbing. These same mineral deposits also tend to put a strain on water-dependent appliances, shortening their lifespans and lowering their efficiencies. You might start to notice an increase in utility costs.

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SIGNS + RISK FACTORS
Aside for the apparent rust-color, limescale buildup and metallic taste, iron can make hair feel dull, skin feel itchy, cause clothes to feel scratchy and worn and make lathering difficult.

TREATMENT PLAN
This is where water softeners and/or filtration systems come into play. These solutions will reliably remove minerals like calcium, iron and magnesium and give you water you’ll actually want to use and drink.

CONCLUSION
Many people can and do live with “hard water”, but it’s obviously not ideal. Solutions are relatively simple, and while there are some costs associated with them, the treatments will pay for themselves over time by preserving your favorite clothing and costly appliances and by lowering monthly utility bills. Contact us today to get the water you deserve.

LEAD

Perhaps one of the most sinister of all water contaminants, lead is a mineral element that can increase blood pressure and hypertension, decrease kidney function and cause reproductive issues in adults. However, the largest threat is to children and infants, with any exposure potentially leading to behavior and learning problems, lower IQ, hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems and anemia. In the worst case scenarios, lead poisoning can trigger seizures, coma or even death.

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SIGNS + RISK FACTORS
What’s perhaps the most disturbing aspect of lead contamination is how sneaky it is. Without a water test, lead may go undetected until serious health complications arise.

The most common cause of lead contamination is old and aging pipes. While modern-day plumbing is not comprised of lead, some of what exists has not yet been updated or properly repaired.

TREATMENT PLAN
Knowledge is the best defense against lead poisoning. The most important step is getting an official test. If there is a presence of lead in your water, you may continue to wash with and bathe in it (lead does not absorb through the skin), but immediately discontinue drinking or ingesting it and switch to bottled water until an appropriate filtration system can be installed.

CONCLUSION
Lead detection is one of the most important reasons to have your water tested—even if everything about it appears normal. The risks far outweigh the free test, so contact us today—your family is worth it.

NITRATES

Nitrates are naturally occurring ions which exist in water and all living things. That being said, they’re not exactly something you want to drink in abundance—especially since they typically come from fertilizers and septic material. It might be lucky that nitrates are tasteless and odorless, except it makes it so much harder to detect them. But don’t think ignorance is bliss—having too many nitrates in your system can elevate carcinogen levels and cause cancer.

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SIGNS + RISK FACTORS
Your water might be at increased risk for nitrate contamination if you live in a heavy agricultural area, but exposure can occur in other places and for other reasons, as well. Municipalities know this and treat affected groundwater accordingly, however those relying on private wells will need to test and treat their own water.

TREATMENT PLAN
If your water test concludes higher than average (10 mg/L) nitrate levels, ion exchange units, distillation or reverse osmosis methods are all practical and reliable solutions depending on where and on what type of water the treatment is required. A test should then be administered once a year to make sure levels remain in the safe zone.

CONCLUSION
Nitrates are tricky to get rid of without professional assistance and equipment. Mechanical filters or chemical disinfection (like chlorine) do nothing to remove nitrates from water, and attempting to boil it away can actually raise nitrate levels. For these reasons, we encourage everyone with a private well to get a water test. Contact us today to get one scheduled, and leave the dirty work to us.

PERFLUORINATED COMPOUNDS (PFC)

PFC are manmade chemical compound pollutants that usually originate from facilities that manufacture things like non-stick coating additives, household cleaning products and pesticides. While most producers of these chemicals began to phase out their usage at the turn of the century, PFC are long-lasting, and their effects are widely felt to this day. PFC can stymy childhood development, while adults may contend with their reproductive health, cancer, thyroid imbalances, immune system issues and cardiovascular complications.

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SIGNS + RISK FACTORS
Unfortunately, the risk of PFC contamination is widespread, due in large part to the compound’s resistance, how easily it soaks through soil and how far it travels through groundwater. Because they are virtually undetectable, awareness only comes with proactive testing.

TREATMENT PLAN
Removing PFC is a difficult job requiring expert assistance. One method of treatment is to install a membrane filtration system to separate your water from the unwanted particles. Another is to use granular activated carbon filters to eliminate them.

CONCLUSION
We cannot stress enough the importance of getting a water test. PFC, like most other water contaminants, fly under the radar of human senses until potentially serious health issues arise. Contact us today for a convenient and complementary water evaluation. Our 10 minute test could help save a life.

SULFUR

It’s hard to miss if water contains sulfur. Unlike its contaminant cousins, sulfur is not inherently dangerous, but its presence is impossible to ignore.

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SIGNS + RISK FACTORS
Sulfur is naturally occurring in rocks and soil which can easily find its way into groundwater and private wells. It can derive from other sources as well, including landfills, leaky fuel tanks, old septic systems, chemical labs and other community hazards. Sulfur-reducing bacteria can even collect on water treatment equipment, thriving in the high temperatures of hot water heaters.

Sulfur is one of the easiest water issues to self-diagnose. Some of the hallmarks of sulfur contamination are a musty, swampy or rotten egg smell (that may be worse around heat sources) and a strong, unpleasant taste. Your plumbing and appliances can also take a hit, with sulfur producing iron bacteria, which, in turn, corrodes pipes and fixtures.

TREATMENT PLAN
Those dealing with sulfuric water can benefit from using bottled water for cooking and drinking until a permanent solution can be put into place. Reverse osmosis and distillation methods work nicely for smaller volumes of water and ion exchange is typically used for larger quantities.

CONCLUSION
The presence of sulfur in your water may be obvious, but it may not be as obvious as to what type of contamination you’re dealing with. Chances are your water contains common, harmless sulfates, but it can also contain hydrogen sulfide, which originates from sewage pollution and is flammable and poisonous in large doses. Contact us today to find out which, and we will be happy to remedy either issue.

TOTAL DISSOLVED SOLIDS (TDS)

Total dissolved solids (TDS) refers to naturally-occurring mineral solids such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron, which are commonly found in most people’s water. In safe amounts, TDS is actually beneficial to our bodies, and is, in fact, essential to life—but balance is key. An overabundance of TDS can typically be blamed mostly on human waste products (de-icer salt, agricultural and storm water runoff, industrial waste, etc.) and can cause a variety of diseases when above a 500ppm level.

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SIGNS + RISK FACTORS
TDS comes from rivers, lakes, reservoirs, springs, wells—basically anyone’s water has the potential to contain too much TDS.

The first noticeable sign of too much TDS is water turbidity. You might start to notice your water looking cloudy, and it might begin to have a salty, metallic and/or bitter taste. Appliances using water may start to slowly degrade, and plumbing may begin to corrode.

TREATMENT PLAN
Because TDS particles are larger than most contaminants, reverse osmosis is the best treatment option. Water will travel through synthetic membranes and slip through its .0001 micron pores, leaving TDS behind.

CONCLUSION
Dealing with TDS is an excellent example of why water testing is so important. Everyone can potentially have issues with it and not know exactly to what extent. Contact us today for a free water test, and we’ll see what you’re dealing with.

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We’re celebrating over 30 years, thanks to our valued customers.
Tri-County Water Conditioning wants you to know we appreciate your business and will never stop giving you our very best.

I needed a tiny plastic clip for my water softener that was purchased at Tri-County more than a decade ago. I called them a few minutes after closing time, not really expecting anyone to answer. Not only did someone answer, but the service man I spoke with was very friendly, knew exactly what part I needed, and was so kind as to leave it in an envelope outside the office so that I could pick it up after hours. He didn’t even charge me for it. Outstanding service! Thanks!
—Nathan B.