Hard water is an inconvenience that many people across the United States deal with regularly. 85% of the US freshwater supply is “hard,” or high in mineral content. Though a number of metals and minerals can be present in hard water, the minerals most commonly found in hard water are calcium and magnesium which can leave a damaging residue on dishes, laundry, hair, or anything else that is washed with it. Texas has some of the hardest water in the country according to the US Geological Survey, with more than half the state drawing water from sources containing more than 180 milligrams of calcium and magnesium per liter.
In addition to hard water, cloudy water can cause many problems for the people who drink and use it. Cloudy, or “turbid,” water is caused by high levels of dissolved particles in the water supply. These particles can consist of sediment, algae, and/or microscopic organisms from construction, storms, and/or urban runoff. Cloudy water is not only aesthetically unappealing, but it can also house pathogens and contribute to waterborne disease outbreaks.
Another major issue with municipal water supplies is the chlorine used to treat water. Chlorine is typically used as a cheap and effective way to treat water and reduce the bacterial count to make it safer for drinking, but once the water has left the supply, it no longer serves a purpose. Not to mention, chlorine can damage household appliances and produce a host of byproducts that can contribute to a number of adverse health effects. Studies have linked the consumption of large amounts of water containing chlorine byproduct with an increased risk of cancer and, in pregnant women, miscarriage.