The Saratoga Sun -

Hard water discussion on tap

Saratoga Town council hears water hardness complaints


Saratoga’s Town Council was questioned at its first meeting of the month regarding the town’s water supply and a recent study detailed to the Saratoga Water and Sewer Joint Powers Board (Sewer Board) that showed the town’s drinking water may be getting harder.

One member of the public took to the floor during the scheduled public comments section of the meeting to discuss issues regarding the town’s water supply, and reports that water in the town is getting harder.The person said he heard in the news about the increasing hardness of the water coming from the town’s wells.

Last month during the monthly meeting of the Sewer Board, the Saratoga Sun reported Jon Nelson of North Fork Engineering informed that board the increase in hardness of the towns water.

According to figures read aloud to the council at that meeting, the towns five wells had all seen increases in hardness since they were opened in 2009.

Hardness of water is affected by the water coming in contact with mineral rich soils and rocks.

In 2009, Well No. 1 scored 117 milligrams per liter (mg/L), just three points shy of being considered hard by engineering standards, Nelson said. Well No. 2 were at 140 mg/L, Well No. 3 scored 160 mg/L, and the fourth and fifth wells were both at 175 mg/L.

The most recent testing done in May showed well No.1 had passed the threshold for hard water with a count of 135. Well No.2 and No.3 were unchanged, and the fourth and fifth wells increased to 197.

According to documents published by the U.S. Geological Survey, water with a hardness scale above 180 is considered “Very Hard.”

According to the National Academy of Sciences, hard water is not considered a health risk, but can be an economic issue.

Hard water can shorten the useful life span of appliances that use water by leaving mineral scale buildup inside the appliance, requiring more frequent repairs and replacement, with one study from the U.S. Department of Energy that estimated hard water shortens the useful lifespan of electric water heaters by 50-60 percent, and decreases energy efficiency by 8 percent for every 17.7 mg/L of hardness.

Mayor Ed Glode discussed the hard water issue. The town, he said, is currently studying the hard water situation.

Nine years ago when the wells were installed, a study showed the water coming from them would be OK, Glode said. Because the study indicated the water was acceptable, the well project proceeded.

But, if current studies show the water has significantly changed, there could be plans in the future to take steps to address the hardness issues, Glode said.

“If the water we got nine years ago is the same as the water that we have now, I don’t know that we’re going to have any funding available to fix it,” Glode said. “If the water is in fact much different now than it was nine years ago when we did our study, then we think there’s room to move forward with …we need to address our water system.”


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