We would like to point out some of the most common measurements used to determine water quality and explain them to you in a practical and simple way. Today, we will discuss pH value, Redox potential, µS microsiemens, and water hardness.
The pH value specifies the acidity of the liquid in any liquid substance. The scale goes from 0 to 14. Right in the middle, that is, a pH of 7 denotes a neutral liquid – for drinking water, the ideal pH is between 7.2 and 7.4. The lower the value, the more acidic the liquid is. However, the pH scale should be understood such that for each integer number on the scale (ie for each color sample on the color measuring strips) the degree of acidity is increased by a factor of 10. Therefore, a pond with a pH of 6 contains ten times more acid than one with a pH of 7 and 100 times more than one with a pH of 8.
On the other half of the scale, which ranges from 7 to 14, the liquids are soapy. The blood pH, for example, must remain constant in a very narrow range between 7.35 and 7.45, otherwise, the person would be seriously ill. And there are other interesting examples for the correct pH of a liquid:
Normal rain, for example, has a pH of between 6.5 and 7.4. The acid rain that occurs in industrial areas usually has a pH of around 4. Coca Cola has a pH of between 2.5 and 2.7, almost as acidic as vinegar.
But also in our body, we can find strong acidity: gastric juice. In the morning, on an empty stomach, the pH is around 1.5, while human saliva is between 6.5 and 7.4. By contrast, pancreatic juice with a pH of 8.4 is already in the very alkaline part and soap with a normal pH of between 9 and 10 already itches heavily in the eyes.
In a very simple way, it could be said that the pH value depends on the concentration of hydrogen ions (H +). The more they are in the liquid, the more acidic it will be.
The Redox potential
The Redox potential measures the oxidation-reduction potential, that is, degradation or compaction. The Redox potential (English = oxidation-reduction potential = ORP) expresses the ability of a molecule to give or receive electrons. The oxidation or reduction potential is measured in mV and can reach both positive and negative values. In nature, the Redox potential can be found between +600 mV (oxidation) and -300 mV (reduction), which represents the sum of oxidation and regeneration processes that occur in nature.
When, for example, a substance reacts with oxygen, oxidation occurs. When wood is burned in a fire or when the iron is oxidized, oxidation occurs. The reduction is exactly the opposite, as if, for example, the oxide was re-extracted from the oxygen and the iron returns to its original brightness.
Oxidation processes are useful, they are the basis for obtaining vital energy. Positive values of Redox potential mean that, for example, through the transfer of electrons, water promotes oxidation. The higher the Redox potential (eg acid Anolyte), the greater and faster the death of bacteria, viruses, molds, fungi, spores, etc. This is also the case in animals, plants, and in humans, they destroy pathogens. Between +850 and +1000 mV (with a pH of around 7) all microbes are dead.
Negative Redox potential values mean that the lower the Redox potential, the greater the reducing power. Reducing agents give up electrons. Negatively charged ions can combine with so-called free radicals (positively charged) and render them harmless. The lower the Redox potential, that is, the more alkaline eg water, the more electrons the water can yield to oxidizing substances. It is, therefore, an ideal free radical scavenger. Redox reactions are those processes that ensure the vital functions of living organisms.
Our organism, and nature in general, depend on the functioning of both processes. The neutral AnolyteIt supports oxidation par excellence so that the reduction can be fully developed and at the same time link free radicals. Therefore, if the oxidation process were not supported, bacteria and germs would also be preserved and would remain alive.
µS – Microsiemens
Microsiemens are abbreviated with the µS symbol. This unit of measurement informs us about the ability of a liquid to conduct electric current. For this, it is necessary that the water contains minerals. Therefore, the electrical conductivity in µS tells us how many substances are dissolved in the water that can conduct electric current. This value is measured with a TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) meter. However, many of the substances dissolved in water say nothing about their quality.
A high conductivity due to a large amount of calcium, in fact, gives us a highly desirable high conductivity in water. Conversely, water may contain very few solids, but if it is arsenic, 20 µS will be enough to poison me. Therefore, it is not a high or low measure of TDS, but what kind of solids – no matter how much or how little – are those that are dissolved in the water.
Louis-Claude Vincent discovered in the 50s of the last century, in several different locations in France, relationships between the quality of drinking water and the incidence of diseases. From three things, that is, low measurements of solids in the water, slightly acidic pH value and a low Redox potential, he deduced that the water should be healthy. This theory was never really scientifically proven. When the relationship between conductivity and diseases is elaborated, but the reason for this conductivity is not known (it is about minerals or pollutants), the conclusions reached about health based on conductivity could even be considered negligent.
Vincent’s work would not even have become popular had it not been for the followers of reverse osmosis who found in it a theory confirming the intake of osmosis water.
Hardness of water
Low water hardness is understood as the concentration of calcium and magnesium ions. The content of calcium and magnesium salts determines the properties of the water. The higher its proportion, the harder the water will be. Of course, this hardness of the water is not harmful to health.
Calcium and magnesium are dissolved little by little from the rock layers and through the rainwater, they are dragged into the groundwater. Therefore, acid rain can strongly increase the hardness of the water.
But there is another range of hardness that is not so easy to remove. This is the non-carbonated hardness. This part of the hardness that is very difficult to remove is made up of anions such as chlorides, nitrates, and sulfates bound to water. This is the residual hardness of the water because it is only possible to see it once the water has completely evaporated. Chlorides are a charge on the water that forms deposits. A high sulfate content also causes premature deposit formation. The significant increase in conductivity is already an indication of the influence of contaminated water on groundwater.
Nitrates are another indicator of contamination that produces high conductivity in drinking water. Nitrate hardness is formed by organic and inorganic nitrogen fertilizers, or by sewage filtration. Another cause of the nitrogen content in the soil that leads to the formation of nitrates is the result of the breakdown of plant proteins.
Nitrates are really dangerous when they become nitrites in combination with bacteria during the digestive process. Then, in the bloodstream, nitrites oxidize hemoglobin in the blood. The iron in the blood then loses its ability to distribute oxygen. Without oxygen, our organs react with fermentation and destruction.
Phosphates, on the other hand, are used as a softener. For simplicity, the dosage of phosphates is known as decalcification. But in reality, this is not entirely correct, since this type of water treatment does not remove calcium and magnesium ions but simply prevents their crystallization.
Therefore, this measure is intended to stabilize the hardness and not to eliminate the compounds that generate the hardness.
Phosphates in water favor germs as well as direct reactions like “phosphate disease.” This is due to an excess of phosphates that causes hyperactivity in humans and especially in children. The established limit for phosphates contained in drinking water, according to my research, was 6.7 mg / l.
However, for some years now it no longer appears in the regulation for drinking water.
In the technical field, decalcification occurs through different measures:
● Precipitation with sodium carbonate or sodium phosphate
● With ion exchangers by means of so-called decalcification equipment, polyphosphates
● At home by means of softeners incorporated in detergents and cleaning products (phosphates)
● In most of the cases are food phosphate
● For some years, one of the new forms of decalcification is the cultivation of crystalline seeds. This produces anti-lime protection thanks to the crystallization nuclei that increase the molecular structure, which allows its subsequent filtration. The principle is known in nature in pearl cultivation.
However, in most homes, it is decalcified with ion exchangers. These must be regenerated with sodium chloride, so they greatly pollute wastewater and our health. Since this greatly increases the concentration of sodium in drinking water.
Water problems have serious consequences and should be eliminated at all costs, albeit by pestering our local water supplier even, if possible, with the support of affected neighbors when it comes to serious problems. This will probably cost us time, patience, and perhaps also money. If this price is too high, at least choose a good filtration system for your home.
Name – Sunil Trivedi
Bio – Sunil Trivedi is the Managing Director of Aqua Drink. With 15 years of experience in the water purification industry, Sunil and his team have been ensuring that his clients consume 100% potable water to lead a healthy life and keeping water-borne diseases miles away.