You own or operate a public water system and have worked hard to stay in compliance with local and federal safe drinking water standards. But you shouldn’t stop there. There are 15 other common contaminants that can affect the taste and aesthetic quality of your drinking water and wreak havoc on your delivery system and any water-using appliances. In this month’s blog, we discuss the importance of the non-regulatory secondary drinking water standards.
Secondary Drinking Water Standards
If you own or operate a public water system, you are fully aware of the EPA’s National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (PDWRs), which limit levels of specific contaminants with known health risks. You may be less familiar with their National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations (NSDWRs).
These non-mandatory standards set recommended limits for 15 contaminants known or anticipated to occur in public water supplies. While these contaminants present no health risks, they can affect the quality of your drinking water and cause costly damage to your water delivery system and any water-using appliances.
Water Quality Problems
Commonly known as “nuisance chemicals,” these secondary standards contaminants cause a range of water quality problems. The EPA groups these problems into three categories:
1. Aesthetic Effects: Drinking water has an undesirable taste, odor, or color:
- Salty, metallic or bitter taste
- Rotten egg, musty, or chemical odor
- Cloudy, colored, or tinted water
- Slippery feel
“If these contaminants are present in your public water system, people are not going to want to drink the water, even though it’s technically safe,” explains Christine Fletcher, president and founder of Secondwind Water Systems.
2. Cosmetic Effects: While they do not damage the body or cause health risks, these contaminants can cause undesirable effects, including:
- Skin, eye, or tooth discoloration
- Stained or discolored clothing
3. Technical effects: While not regulated by the EPA, secondary standards contaminants can have significant economic implications in the form of:
- Staining of household fixtures from corrosion or scale build-up
- Damage to any equipment or appliances that come in contact with contaminated water
- Mineral build-up that restricts water flow in hot water pipes, boilers, and heat exchanges
A Lesson on Secondary Standards Contaminants
Secondwind recently worked with a customer who learned about the effects of secondary standards contaminants the hard way. This customer, a public school, never tested for these contaminants. Unfortunately, their dishwashers were destroyed by corrosion related to high levels of water hardness. “Had they tested for these contaminants, they could have caught the problem before their appliances were damaged,” Fletcher explains. Following a complete site analysis, the Secondwind team designed and installed a treatment system that will provide quality drinking water that’s free of any corrosion-causing secondary contaminants.
Testing and Treating Public Water Systems
For nearly 30 years, the professionals at Secondwind Water Systems have been keeping New Hampshire’s public water systems safe and efficient. We have a solid and long-standing relationship with the NHDES and experience with the highest quality sanitation and disinfection systems in the region. Contact us today for your FREE site analysis.