Is my city water clean and safe?

 Min read
June 15, 2023

Heather has noticed the water quality in her family’s new home isn’t the best. Between the color of the water coming out of the kitchen sink, the stains appearing in the washing machine, and the smell of her laundry, she knows that something isn’t quite right. It isn’t just the aesthetics that Heather is worried about, she has legitimate concerns that there could be a contaminant in her home’s city water. Just as there can be issues with well water, it’s possible that city water can contain problems too. Right now, we’ll take some time to talk about those potential problems as well as how Rusco can help you clean everything up.

In talking about the potential problems with city water, it’s important to first understand where it comes from. The Watershed Institute has a good breakdown and explanation of this. There are a few sources from where city water originates depending on the area and even part of the country someone lives in. Sometimes city water comes from deep in the earth in the form of groundwater. It’s also possible that the water originates from surface water such as rivers and streams. There are even rural areas in certain parts of the country that receive water from individual and public community wells. The good news is that a lot of this water pulled in by cities gets cleaned up by drinking water treatment plants before it gets pumped into homes.

With that said, the Institute points out that surface and groundwater sources of drinking water are each vulnerable to pollution. Different activities that unintentionally pollute a small stream in a neighborhood, for example, could end up polluting a drinking water supply. Therefore, even if you have city water instead of well water in your home, the opportunity for contaminants to end up in your water does exist.

Along with accidental pollution, there are a few other common city water problems. Even though municipalities are responsible for providing water that meets EPA standards for health and safety consumption, they don’t have to remove anything that affects the home or the aesthetic benefits that come along with having quality water. Certain issues that could pop up in your home’s water, even if it’s city water, include rust, scale, and hard water deposits.

Depending on how old a city’s pipes are could result in rust ending up in your home’s water. If a city has an aging plumbing system, rust that has developed in the pipes over time can break off as water flows through and end up in your home’s water supply. Even if a city has an updated water infrastructure, the pipes in your own home may be old. Specifically, if you have an older home with galvanized pipes, it’s very possible that rust could be forming and end up in your water if that rust is broken loose.

Another issue that can be present in city water is scale, which is directly tied to hard water. The Water Quality Association points out that scale deposits are typically an indicator of hard water. Hard water is a common quality of water that contains dissolved compounds of calcium and magnesium. Dissolved calcium and magnesium salts are primarily responsible for the majority of scaling in pipes and water heaters. This can cause numerous problems with laundry, anything in the kitchen, as well as in the bathroom. Scale deposits from this hardness buildup will affect fixtures and appliances found throughout the entire home.

If you suspect that the water in your home has any of the above issues, it would be a good idea to get your water tested. Previously, we talked about different testing methods that exist for finding out exactly what is in your home’s water. If you do end up finding out that your water contains some contaminants, Rusco has several options that can help you out.

Rusco sells a variety of water filters designed specifically for removing sediment from your water. Whether you’re trying to take large sediment or small sediment out of your water, there is a wide selection of mesh or micron sizes to choose from with a Rusco filter. One thing you’ll want to consider, especially if you’re dealing with a variety of sediment like what is possible with city water, is implementing the step-down filtration method. A lot of times, people who use a Rusco filter will say it does a great job, but either it’s blocking up too fast or there’s still some sediment getting through. It’s in these situations that we recommend using the step-down filtration method.

Step-down filtration is a method that requires putting at least two filters in a series. The first filter that you have in line will be a bit more on the coarse side and the next filter will be finer than the first. The whole idea is that the first filter will catch the bigger sediment you’re trying to eliminate, but still let the smaller stuff through. The second filter will then remove the small stuff. By putting two filters in line, you’re preventing one finer filter from trying to catch everything by itself, which will lead it to clog up quickly if you don’t constantly flush it out. You’re also still making sure that you have a filter fine enough to catch smaller sediment if the original filter is coarser. As an example, in dealing with city water, you’re likely going to be working with finer sediment, to begin with. One possible way to achieve step-down filtration could be to obtain a 250-mesh filter. This is a fine filter already but still falls somewhere around the middle of all the options that Rusco offers. Following that 250-mesh, you could then step down to a melt-blown filter, which is currently the finest filter we offer at 5 microns. A setup like this will allow your filters to split up the amount of work each one is doing, ensuring that neither filter clogs up quickly, but also that you’re not still allowing a bunch of sediment to get down your water line.

If it turns out your city water has contaminants in it following a test, consider implementing Rusco filters to clean it up. If you have any additional questions, give Rusco a call at 1-800-345-1033 to speak to a customer service representative.

Source Notes: All information in this article relating to where city water comes from came from The Watershed Institute. Information regarding scale and hard water came from the Water Quality Association.