Aqualogic® Inc.

Clean Water Technology since 1966

Welcome to Home of the Certified Water Testing and Water Improvement Systems since 1966.

Common Problems

If you don't know exactly where you stand from a water quality point-of-view or what you should test for, don't worry! Just consult the guide below to establish your starting point. If you still have questions or concerns, please contact us!

Symptoms, Problems, Causes, and Recommended Treatment Method Guide

Symptoms: Chlorine taste; foul odor; damage to hair; itchy skin

Problem(s): Chlorine

Causes: City Water Disinfection. Chlorine is commonly utilized by water treatment municipalities as a microbial disinfectant. Chlorine will also oxidize soluble iron and manganese to insoluble oxides. It is also commonly used to treat hydrogen sulfide. Because chlorine dissipates over time, an excess or residual amount is added prior to exiting the treatment facility to ensure effective disinfection throughout the piping distribution system to your home. The closer your residence is in proximity to the chlorination injection point, the higher concentration of chlorine and vice versa. A group of harmful chlorine by-products, called Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM's) may also be present. The EPA maximum contaminant level for chlorine in drinking water is 4.0 mg/

Recommended Treatment Method:

Symptoms: Soap does not lather requiring higher soap usage and need for fabric softeners; soap “scum or curd” around bathtubs and shower stalls; mineral deposits on dishes and clothes; hard carbonate scale build-up on heated surfaces such as water heater, heat exchangers in boilers, in piping, and around faucets and fixtures; dry, unmanageable hair and itchy scalp and skin. Although “Hard” water is not considered unhealthy, it tends to be a nuisance in many aspects. It reduces heating equipment efficiency due to scale build-up on heated surfaces. Therefore, more heating energy will be required, resulting in higher energy costs while decreasing the useful life of heating equipment and water-using appliances. Scale build-up may be unsanitary as well by providing a surface for bacterial growth. Hard water can take its toll on fabrics, dulling colors and damaging garments.

Problem(s): Calcium and Magnesium Hardness.

Causes: When acidic rain travels through the Earths surface, it commonly seeps through bedrock comprised of limestone. Limestone is calcium and magnesium carbonate. The limestone is dissolved and creates “hard” water, water rich in magnesium and calcium ions.

Recommended Treatment Method:

  • Whole House/Point-of-Entry: Cation-exchange Backwashing Water Softener: Single and Dual Tank Systems; Metered or Time-Clock valve systems. Single Tank Systems come include one tank for the softening resin, a brine tank for salt, used to regenerate the softening resin. Dual Tank Systems come with an additional tank with activated carbon for pre-treatment, which removes chlorine, tastes and odors in municipal water applications and extends the life of the softening resin.
    Note: Model selection is typically based on water hardness, water usage, water source and other factors.
  • Drinking Water Point-of-Use: Reverse Osmosis system.

Symptoms: Unpleasant metallic tastes; rust particles; reddish-brown staining on plumbing fixtures, in toilets and on driveways; red water; odors.

Problem: Iron

Causes: Iron is naturally occurring and relatively abundant in the Earths crust. Iron occurs in four different forms: soluble (know as “clear water iron”), insoluble or oxidized (known as “red water iron”), colloidal (extremely tiny particulates), and iron bacteria (typically of Gallionella, Crenothrix, and Leptothrix species). In much the same way as calcium and magnesium hardness is introduced into water, mineral iron is also dissolved by acid water. It is insoluble until it is exposed to oxygen to form insoluble or red water iron. If iron is in the presence of certain species of iron bacteria, these bacteria utilize iron in their diet and deposit a reddish sludge when they die. This sludge will build-up and clog piping systems and cause plumbing component failure. EPA Maximum Contaminant Level for iron in drinking water is 0.3 mg/l.

Recommended Treatment Method: Treatment of iron is dependant upon the amount of iron present, pH, maximum flowrate, and if iron bacteria is also present.

  • Whole House/Point-of-Entry: Filox® Backwashing: A non-chemical oxidizing media to reduce iron. This system is very versatile and will also treat manganese and hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg odor). Suitable for higher flowrates ranging from 6 to 27 gpm and pH ranging from 5.0 to 9.0 Standard Units. Greensand-PlusTM : An enhanced version of the traditional medium to remove iron from water. This system will also treat manganese and hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg odor). Suitable for lower flowrates ranging from 3 to 12 gpm and a wide pH range. Note: The use of chemicals and oxidizers, such as chlorine, potassium permanganate, and oxygen may be required for both systems to provide the optimal treatment for iron, manganese and hydrogen sulfide.
  • Drinking Water Point-of-Use: Reverse Osmosis system.

Symptoms: Unpleasant metallic tastes; black particles; brown-black staining on plumbing fixtures, in toilets; odors.

Problem: Manganese

Causes: Although not as abundant as Iron and is in fact a relatively rare metal in nature, manganese is typically present with iron and enters the water in much the same fashion (see “Iron” above). In the presence of oxygen, manganese dioxide is formed in an acidic medium and will precipitate dark brown and black stains at very low concentrations. Manganese bacteria may also be present and react in the same fashion as iron bacteria. EPA Maximum Contaminant Level for manganese in drinking water is 0.05 mg/l.

Recommended Treatment Method: Because Manganese is very characteristic to iron, the same removal methods for Iron are utilized (see “Iron”).

Symptoms: “Rotten Egg” odor and/or taste; silverware tarnishes quickly; corrosive.

Problem: Hydrogen Sulfide gas; Sulfate Reducing Bacteria; “Sulfur Water”.

Causes: Hydrogen sulfide is a gas and is found primarily in well water. Although its rotten egg smell is a sure indication of its presence, testing for concentration levels must be done at the point of source as the gas will evolve over time.

Recommended Treatment Method:

  • Whole House/Point-of-Entry: If iron or manganese are present then same removal methods for iron are utilized (see “Iron”). For treatment of water with low concentrations of hydrogen sulfide in the absence of iron and manganese, oxidation can be accomplished be a Chemical Feed Pump Injection System which typically feeds chlorine or potassium permanganate compounds.

Symptoms: Cloudy water; sediment, sand, silt and rust particles.

Problem: Turbidity

Causes: Often associated with excessive iron; common in new wells until stabilized; existing wells due to corrosion of metallic casing or screens allowing sand to enter; erosion in production zone; loss of drive-shoe seal; overpumping.

Recommended Treatment Method:

Symptoms: Brownish, light yellow to brown tea colored water; musty odors; yellow stained fixtures, fabrics, laundry; tangy or tart after taste to water.

Problem: Tannin (humic or fulvic acid)

Causes: Dissolved organic matter from the decomposition of plant life created when water flows through decaying vegetation or peaty soil.

Recommended Treatment Method:

Symptoms: Green stains on bathroom sinks, toilets, and other porcelain surfaces; blue green water from copper piping; Pin-holes in copper piping and corrosion of plumbing fixtures; reddish brown stains from iron or galvanized pipe; metallic taste to water.

Problem: Acidic Water (low pH)

Causes: “Acid rain” is formed in the atmosphere when gaseous carbon dioxide is dissolved forming liquid carbonic acid which is very aggressive due to its lowered pH value.

Recommended Treatment Method:

Symptoms: “Salty” water; “soft” water; associated with high blood pressure and heart disease in the “at risk” population; can aggravate certain diseases.

Problem: Sodium

Causes: Household water softening systems; naturally occurring sodium in rocks and soils, rivers and lakes; industrial waste; synthetic fertilizers; sewage.

Recommended Treatment Method:

Symptoms: Short-term: Excessive levels of nitrate in drinking water have caused serious illness and sometimes death. The serious illness in infants is due to the conversion of nitrate to nitrite by the body, which can interfere with the oxygen-carrying capacity of the childs blood. This can be an acute condition in which health deteriorates rapidly over a period of days. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blueness of the skin. Long-term: Nitrates and nitrites have the potential to cause the following effects from a lifetime exposure at levels above the MCL: diuresis, increased starchy deposits and hemorrhaging of the spleen.


Problem: Nitrates/Nitrites

Causes: Possible sources are from fertilized agricultural lands, municipal and industrial waste water, landfills, animal feedlots, septic systems, urban run-off and decaying plants.

Recommended Treatment Method:

Symptoms: Foul taste and odors; chlorine taste; “salty” water; bitter taste.

Problem: Taste and Odor

Causes: Organic matter; elevated total dissolved solids; alkaline water.

Recommended Treatment Method:

Symptoms: Laxative effect; scale formation; bitter or salty taste; corroded metal surfaces; build-up in water pipes; dark slime in toilets (sulfur-oxidizing bacteria); dark staining on clothing; “rotten egg” smell especially from hot water source.

Problem: Sulfates and Chlorides

Causes: From dissolved minerals from some rock and soil formations. Naturally present in groundwater especially in combination with Hardness minerals;

Recommended Treatment Method:

Symptoms: Health effects may include short term gastrointestinal disorders and illnesses such as gastro-enteritis, giardiasis, typhoid, dysentery, cholera, and hepatitis which have been linked to water contaminated by microorganisms. Bacteria in water cannot be seen, tasted, or smelled and many health-related symptoms are not immediate. Therefore, the only way to reliably determine if water is contaminated is by a laboratory test.

Problem: Bacteria

Causes: Micro-organisms which find their way into a water supply can come from a variety of sources including sewage, animal wastes, or dead and decaying animals. Contamination may also occur whenever a new well is constructed; if there is flooding near the well; when the water supply system on a well has been disassembled for repairs to components such as the well itself, pump, pressure tank, treatment devices or pipe lines and nearby construction.

Recommended Treatment Method:

Symptoms: Some people who drink water containing arsenic in excess of EPA's standard over many years could experience skin damage or problems with their circulatory system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer. Observable symptoms or effects of arsenic poisoning include thickening and discoloration of the skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, numbness in hands and feet, partial paralysis, blindness. It has been associated with the development of diabetes.

Problem: Arsenic

Causes: : Arsenic is a naturally occurring element in the environment. Its presence in ground water largely is the result of arsenic-bearing minerals dissolving naturally over time as certain types of rocks and soils are weathered. It may also occur because of mining or industrial activity in some areas. It is recommended to test for arsenic if Well is in or near an area of present or past apple orchards.

Recommended Treatment Method:

Symptoms: VOCs may be harmful to the central nervous system, the kidneys or the liver. VOCs may also cause irritation when they contact the skin, or may irritate mucous membranes if they are inhaled. Some VOCs are known or suspected carcinogens (or cancer-causers).

Problem: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's)

Causes: : Typically, wells contaminated with VOCs are located near industrial or commercial areas, gas stations, landfills or railroad tracks; leaking underground storage tanks; industrial spills (depending upon the speed of groundwater movement, a spill may take years to reach nearby wells, so wells may not be contaminated until months or years after the spill is discovered).

Recommended Treatment Method:

Symptoms: In babies and children, exposure to lead in drinking water above the action level can result in delays in physical and mental development, along with slight deficits in attention span and learning abilities. Excessive amounts of this water over the years can place adults at higher risk for cancer, stroke and high blood pressure, and kidney problems.

Problem: Lead

Causes: : Lead can be found in natural deposits. Though it is rarely present in source water, it enters tap water through the corrosion of plumbing materials. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures and solder. However, new homes are also at risk: even legally “lead-free” plumbing may contain up to 8 percent lead. The most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures which can leach significant amounts of lead into the water, especially hot water.

Recommended Treatment Method: