Just like New Englanders, the water quality in New England doesn’t change much. In our 30 years’ experience of installing water treatment systems in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine, we have found consistent common denominators that plague homeowners throughout the region. Bedrock wells commonly show higher levels of radon, arsenic, iron and hard water. Municipal water is often higher in chlorine, chloramines, and fluoride. Dug wells will typically show water test results that are high in nitrates or bacteria. When performing water tests in the seacoast area, we are always on the lookout for high salt concentrations.
Almost all of New England water is on the acidic side. Water that is too acidic will break down toxic metals like copper and lead in a home’s plumbing and deposit those toxic items into the drinking water.
Our most comprehensive water test analyzes over 75 different water quality problems. To narrow that list down, here is a basic description of the most common issues we run into in treating New England water. Click on the link to learn more about them.
Arsenic – A naturally occurring element found in bedrock and a preservative in pressure-treated wood. Once actually thought to be a cure for leukemia, arsenic is now recognized by the EPA as a toxic substance that must be taken seriously when evaluating water quality.
Bacteria – Coliforms, E.Coli, and other strains of bacteria can infect the well when the water is disturbed or oxygenated. Bacteria testing is required with any home inspection.
Chloramines – Chloramine is a chemical combination of chlorine and ammonia often used in treating municipal water – all of which present long-term health risks.
Hard Water – Water that is high in calcium carbonate will create buildup in pipes and residue in sinks, bathtubs, and appliances. Although primarily aesthetic, detergents perform better and dishes stay cleaner when water is softened by removing the calcium carbonate.
Mineral Staining – Also aesthetic, water that is high in iron and manganese will stain clothing, sinks and bathtubs. Unless you are fond of orange clothing, you might want to consider removing iron from your water.
Radon – A radioactive gas that is created by the natural breakdown of radium in bedrock and distributed through water channels in bedrock wells. Radon becomes dangerous when released into the home by turning on a faucet. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
Volatile Organic Compounds – groundwater contaminants from paint thinners and fuel products travel long distances through bedrock channels. Some of these chemicals are known carcinogens and are undetectable in water through sight or smell.