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What does pH mean in a well water test and how does it affect water quality?
Friday, August 10, 2018
It is a measure of where, in the range of acid to alkaline, the water falls. Neutral water is 7.0 pH. Below 7.0 is acid and, conversely, as the number rises above 7.0 the water becomes progressively more alkaline. The term “pH” was originated by Soren Peter Lauritz Sorensen, a Danish biochemist, in 1909. The “p” is an abbreviation for the German word for power, potenz, and “H” is stands for hydrogen—because pH is the concentration of the negative log of hydrogen in water.
Most water in our North Florida area is alkaline, with a pH of around 8.0. The alkalinity goes hand-in-hand with elevated hardness, due to dissolved particles of the calcium carbonate of the karst rock underlayment of the ground. The pH of well water will also be affected by acid rain, soil runoff, decomposition of organic materials, and leaching of mineral deposits.
An acceptable level for drinking water is 6.5 to 8.5. When the level drops below 6.5, the acidity of the water will attack copper piping. The acidity leaches out the copper and will begin to pit the walls of the pipe.
Also see our blog posts Should I test my well water for arsenic? and Is a high iron level in well water a health hazard? and What is the danger of radon in well water?
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