The Nature of Water

The need for safe, healthy water is critical to all human life. The search for ways to ensure a ready supply of high quality water has been the life's work of some of our brightest scientists, and the amount of technical knowledge they have generated can fill volumes of text. Such a vast amount of knowledge is beyond the scope of this manual. Our need for knowledge of water quality issues is more practical, more job and customer oriented. We have therefore, made a serious effort to limit this manual to 'purposeful information.'

We recognize that your time is valuable and limited. So, our goal is to give you the technical information that will help you feel more comfortable when solving your customers’ water problems. While you won't need to keep a copy of the periodic Table of the Elements at your side, and you won’t need to know how to balance a chemical equation, understanding the contents of this manual will still require a good portion of your brain power and attention. You won't need to be a scientist to understand the material, but it will require more from you than a quick scan while having your morning coffee and doughnut. In exchange for your effort, you will gain the expertise necessary to hear the customer's problem: to determine the degree of the problem, or to see if any other problems also exist; and then to choose the correct R-Can product to solve the problem. . . to everyone's satisfaction.

We need to consider the nature of water. The primary answer is water's ability to dissolve some portion of nearly everything with which it comes in contact. No matter if the material is natural or man-made, water seems to always dissolve, and hold in solution some part of what it passes through or is contained in. In fact, water is referred to as the 'universal solvent.' If the substances that water dissolves were all good for us, and if they did not damage our plumbing systems and personal possessions, there would be no need to study this manual. Unfortunately, the substances that water dissolves can be unhealthy or even toxic. These substances can also ruin expensive plumbing fixtures and clothing. In addition, they can be offensive to our senses of taste, smell and aesthetic appearance. Water can also "carry along" with it particles of sediment, dirt and rust These are not dissolved in the water, but simply carried with the flowing water, or held suspended in standing water. Nevertheless they can do damage just the same.

A final troublesome characteristic of water is that water is a welcome home (or medium) for all types of bacteria and micro-organisms. When allowed to go unchecked, this condition can cause problems ranging from minor intestinal irritation to serious illness or death. If we think back to our school days, most of us can remember studying the "hydrological cycle". You remember the process of how water vapor condenses in the atmosphere and falls to earth as precipitation. Once on the surface of the earth, most of the water evaporates back into the atmosphere, where it will again condense and fall back to earth as precipitation. About 30% of the precipitation, however, does not evaporate. Instead, it seeps into the ground or runs off into streams, rivers, or lakes. As the water seeps in to the ground or as it flows over the surface, it dissolves minerals and other substances contained in the ground. Under the surface, the water tends to collect in porous portions called 'aquifers.' These aquifers are the source of our well water.

Points to Keep in Mind

  • Water as found in nature, will always have some substances dissolved in it.
  • It will always have the potential to have particles suspended in it.
  • It will always have the potential to be a suitable home to disease causing organisms.

This is true of "fresh" mountain streams, well water, and even municipally treated water systems. To achieve "pure water", or anything close to that goal, water must be filtered or treated in some way.

As you now can begin to see, the problem for us to solve will depend upon what the water has had contact with. These conditions can vary greatly, not only from one region of the country to another, but also within the same general location. Water drawn from wells in the same area may not be exactly the same. The quality of water from a municipality owned treatment facility will depend upon the age and condition of the equipment. Even though the water may be classified as safe to drink, the aesthetic quality may be less than desirable.

Fortunately, our knowledge of the nature of water has increased steadily over the years. The most frequently occurring problems have been studied very closely. We now know the symptoms, the cause of the symptoms, and how to cure the problem itself. Sometimes the symptoms are easy to read and easy to cure. Other times, several problems exist in the water at the same time. Then it gets more complicated and usually more costly to correct.

Let's examine these water problems as they will be reported to you by your customers ... the symptoms they see, taste, smell or fear. Along with the symptoms we will provide the cause of the condition, so you will be able to explain to our customer exactly what is going on with their water supply.

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