What is the pH Level of Water? For Tap, Pure, Filtered and Drinking Water - Why pH Level Matters

What is the pH Level of Water

Having a good pH balance plays significant factor in your overall health and this is generally agreed by doctors and scientists. The pH, or potential hydrogen level, in your body is influenced by the food and kind of drinks you consume. pH is the measurement of hydrogen ions concentration. This measurement is based on a scale that goes from 0 to 14. It is worth to take note of pH levels of seven (7) is the neutral level, under seven (<7) is the acidic and above seven (>7) is the alkaline. You may have encountered diet fads or special kind of drinks claim to be having “high alkaline”. What does this mean and how does pH level has something to do with it?

 

What is pH?

In chemistry, pH is a scale value to tell whether an aqueous solution is acidic or basic, according to Wikipedia. The numbers range from 0 to 14. Like already mentioned, the lower the scale, it is acidic, the higher the scale it is basic or alkaline and seven is the neutral scale. Some types foods that are acidic are processed foods like yogurt, fish and cheese and some basic foods are vegetables like beets, bell peppers and kale which are actually high alkaline.

 

What Does pH Have to do With Water?

The neutral pH of 7, located at the middle of the pH scale, is considered to be pure water. Unluckily, not every kind of water available is pure water and the chance of getting the actual neutral level is in fact rare. But, why do pH levels change? The fluctuation is caused by varying factors affecting the alkalinity and acidity of water.

The primary and most common reason for this is the soil composition and bedrock where the water is located. The pH of water here can be influenced by the rock type, the acidity of water can still be neutralized. Another factor can be the organic material and plant growth near the water which may also influence its acidity. Plants also give off carbon dioxide in the form of cell respiration and also during its decomposition. This carbon dioxide reacts with water only to increase its acidity. Other factors are acid precipitation, dumping of chemicals and coal mine drainage.

Common Water pH Levels

Type of water

pH level

Tap water

Varies; typically about 7.5

Distilled reverse osmosis water

5 to 7

Common bottled waters

6.5 to 7.5

Bottled waters labeled as alkaline

8 to 9

Ocean water

About 8

Acid rain

5 to 5.5

 

Different pH Levels of Human Drinking Waters

Tap Water

The common pH level of tap water, generally coming from groundwater systems is 6-8.5. Environmental Protection Agency or EPA consider tap water drinkable, however it can cause different problems. For instance, chlorine is not good for human consumption but the human body can technically tolerate it. But, in the long run would become carcinogenic (leads to cancer) and other health complications. Lead is another risk that may be present in tap water in your home due to the lead present in the pipes.

In the Washington, DC territory, the tap water originates from the Potomac or Patuxent Rivers. This water is process with essential filtration methods like flocculation, which adds chemicals to the water to get particles to coagulate and coast so they can be removed; sand filtration, which filters out large pieces of debris; or chlorination, which adds chlorine to eliminate bacteria and other microorganisms.

Filtered Water

Filtered water is common in many households and is part in their daily life. Most people filter their tap water which comes from dam, public source or sometimes from a desalination plant. In this case, the water travels miles and miles of metal pipes to reach tap water in your home.

The pH level of filtered water can vary from acid to weak alkaline. The body needs to flush out toxins, and for that to be effective is to drink water with higher pH. A good pH level is 8.0. This is not too alkaline and not acidic. Higher than that may cause detoxing effects like nausea, light-headedness and others. Short term consumption can be okay if you are acidic, otherwise, you can experience the mentioned above. For very high pH levels, one may also increase their number of free radicals, more than what your body needs and may risk your healthy cells.

Fluoride is added to your water supply. This is what helps prevent dental decay, however it is also a water contaminate. Most water filters do not filter all contaminates out of the water. Furthermore, filters are the perfect breeding ground for microorganisms including algae and mold. So it is really necessary to regularly change your water filter. Otherwise, this could be worse than your tap water. If you have poor water quality water supply, then you will also end up with poor water quality.

 

Pure Water

When the water from a water source is being removed from all impurities, it is called pure water or purified water. Pure water can be purified by micro-porous filtration, carbon filtration and ultraviolet oxidation. Distilled water is the most common kind of pure water. Purification processes involve combination of any of the processes in some places. Pure water can be used as a drinking water, in cooking, and laboratories as in scientific studies.

Pure water is characterized by the quality and level of the impurities found in the water. For a water to become legally defined as “purified water”, water impurities should be reduced to extremely low level if not removed at all cost. The impurity level of dissolved solids in the purified water must not be above 10 parts-per-million. If the water meets this limit inherently has higher purity than tap water, filtered water or even spring water.

Drinking Water

According to EPA standards, a drinking water must have 6.5-8.5 pH value. They firmly indicated that even within the acceptable pH range, a slight change in the high or low-pH water can be unappealing for many reasons. High pH water may taste like baking soda, a slippery feel and may leave deposits on fixtures. This is according to EPA in their website. However, low-pH water may be bitter or metallic in taste which may also contribute to fixture corrosion.

pH levels of drinking water are monitored and checked by EPA and the required level must be kept intact. Otherwise, if not carefully regulated, the effects of drinking too much alkaline or acidic water can be dangerous. When the pH level reaches lower than 7.0, it can lead to corrosive quality of the water. This means it contains zinc, iron, copper and lead from plumping and different metal fixtures. Thus, there is metallic or bitter taste of the water.

High alkaline water does not bring too serious health problems except that one may have aesthetic problems. Thus, there is a taste of baking soda and a slippery feel. It also leaves scale formation or pipe precipitates on fixtures, dishes and utensils.

 

Optimum Body pH

The typical definition when you refer “optimum body pH” is referring to the pH of the blood. As a matter of fact, different parts of the body have different optimal pH to function properly. For instance, the gastric juice in the stomach should have a pH between 1.5-3.5 so that food can be properly digested. The blood, on the other hand, should have 7.36 pH level.

 

What Happens If Your Body Isn't Balanced

Just as a saying goes, too much of something is bad. Being too acidic or too alkaline can cause problems to your health. If your diet is too acidic may let you gain weight, slower immune response and susceptibility to infections. However, if your diet it too alkaline may let you slow down your metabolism especially in absorbing key nutrients. Fortunately, our body strives to keep the pH level at constant balance. What contributes to our pH level are what we take in such as the liquids we drink and foods we eat, even the emotions that we feel.

 

The Health Effects of pH

It is named a secondary drinking water contaminant whose effect is viewed as aesthetic. Be that as it may, the EPA suggests that open water systems maintain pH levels of in the range of 6.5 and 8.5, a great guide for individual well owners. Water with a low pH can be acidic, normally delicate and corrosive. Acidic water can filter metals from funnels and fixtures, for example, copper, lead and zinc.

 It can likewise harm metal pipes and cause aesthetic issues, for example, a metallic or harsh taste, clothing recoloring or blue-green stains in sinks and drains. Water with a low pH may contain metals like what is already mentioned copper, lead and zinc. Drinking water with a pH level over 8.5 shows that an abnormal state of alkalinity minerals are available. High alkalinity does not represent a health hazard, but rather can cause aesthetic issues, for example, a soluble alkali taste to the water that influences coffee to taste bitter; scale develop in pipes; and brought down productivity of electric water warmers.

 

How to Test the pH Value

Contact your state or local health office for a rundown of ensured certified laboratories that can test the pH level of your water. If your water is acidic (under 7 pH) you may have issues with leaching of copper and lead from your pipes. Think about testing for copper and lead if the pH test demonstrates your water is exceptionally acidic. If testing demonstrates that your water has a high pH, think about testing for alkalinity and hardness also, as these can be related with high pH water.

In any case, the primary method to treat the problems of low pH water is with the utilization of a neutralizer. The neutralizer encourages a solution into the water to keep the water from reacting with the house pipes or adding to electrolytic corrosion; a common neutralizing substance is soda ash. Neutralizing with soda ash builds the sodium substance of the water.

 

What are the Treatments for pH in Drinking Water?

Two home treatment techniques to alter pH are acid neutralizing filters and chemical feed pump systems infusing a neutralizing solution. An acid neutralizing filter utilizes a calcite or ground limestone (calcium carbonate) for normal pH correction, yet could likewise incorporate a mix of magnesium oxide and calcite, if the pH is low. Since the water ingests these minerals when it goes through the channel, the alkalinity and hardness will raise.

Hardness is effortlessly treated with a water softener that uses a ion exchange process to put off the hardness minerals. A chemical feed pump solution is made with well water and soda ash (similar to baking soda) and blended in an solution tank.

While choosing the pH treatment method, the levels of total dissolved solids (TDS) and carbon dioxide in the water ought to be taken into consideration. For instance, acid neutralizing filters are not as viable in raising pH when the water contains extreme levels of TDS or carbon dioxide. If the pH level of the well water is more noteworthy than 8.5, you can lessen the impacts of extreme alkalinity by introducing either an special ion exchange unit intended to diminish alkalinity or a substance nourish pump framework that infuses a weak acid solution. This system is more complex. If high pH is an issue, please contact your local water specialist for detailed advice.

 

Other effects on Humans

Exposure to extreme pH values brings about irritation to the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes. Eye irritation and complication of skin disorder have been associated with pH values more than 11. Furthermore, solutions of pH 10– 12.5 have been accounted to make hair strands swell. In sensitive people, gastrointestinal irritation may likewise happen. Introduction to low pH esteems can also bring  related effects. Less than pH 4, redness and irritation of the eyes have been reported, the seriousness of which increases with diminishing pH. Less than pH 2.5, harm to the epithelium is irreversible and intense. What's more, since pH can influence the level of erosion of metals and disinfection efficiency, it might indirectly affect health.

 

Conclusions

 In spite of the fact that pH generally has no immediate effect on water consumers, it is one of the most essential water-quality parameters. Careful attention regarding pH control is crucial at all stages of water treatment to guarantee tasteful water clarification and disinfection. For effective cleansing with chlorine, the pH ought to ideally be under 8. The pH of the water entering the distribution system must be controlled to limit the erosion of water mains and pipes in household water systems.

The inability to do as such, can result into the contamination of drinking-water and can have awful effects on its taste, scent, and appearance. The ideal pH will vary in various sources as indicated by the composition of the water and the nature of the construction materials used in the distribution system, however it is frequently in the range 6.5– 9.5. Higher pH values can result from accidental spills, treatment breakdowns, and unfixed cement mortar pipe linings.


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