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Water Hardness Assessment Issues - Bangalore, Advice Required!

Hi Experts,

We recently shifted toan apartment in Bangalore situated in Kundelhalli. The ground water is very hard in this area and the builder has installed a water softener plant. But we had not observed any major change in taste of the supplied water from the plant, even a water purifier company salesman measured the TDS value of the supplied water at around 800.

We contacted the apartment maintenance department and they measured the CaCO3 ppm of the water using an ion-exchange test kit. Samples were taken of the input, output from the filter plant and in apartment. In all the samples the CaCO3 ppm was around 400ppm, which we found surprising as the plant does not seem to be doing anything.

Maintenance person in response told us that the filter has to be recharged with salts everyday which is done at 5:30 AM in morning. They said that they have measure the ppm value to be around 50-75ppm around that time and perhaps by the time we had measured the samples, around 12:00 PM in afternoon, the filter needs to be recharged again. They said that they are going to check the water samples at different times to check where the filter capability reduces.

I have couple of questions on this:

1. Can you please confirm if the above argument by the maintenance team is techinically correct and if yes, then what steps should be taken to mitigate this?

2. The water testing kit just measure the CaCO3 contents, while the TDS measuring device gave a reading of 800ppm, so should we take the CaCO3 content as the basis of measurement or the overall TDS ?

We will be grateful if any of the experts can help us on this.

 

Best regards,

Ashutosh

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Comments

1. Confusion on testing water hardness.

Dear Ashutosh,

I will first clear up the confusion on hardness and TDS.

Total hardness of water is measured using a Hardness Test Kit. The result i.e the total hardness is expressed in ppm or mg/litre as CaCo3. Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is the total mineral content of the water that has been tested and it includes the total hardness.

When you use a water softener, you should test the total hardness as only that is relevant in a softener.You have mentioned that samples of water were taken from the "input" and "output" of the filter and tested to find that the total hardness was around 400ppm.My guess is that the samples for testing were taken from the filter and not the softener.If I am right, you will get the hardness figure since a filter does not remove hardness.It only filters the water before it is softened.

About your questions:

a)The argument given by your maintenance team is correct.I also feel that the team is somewhat confused about what to do.I suggest that the company which supplied the softener assess the people who operate the softener and train them properly.

b)If it is a water softener,then only the total hardness in ppm as CaCo3 that is relevant and not the TDS.

If you need any more clarification, please ask me.

Regards

S.S.Ranganathan

93437 34229

S.S.Ranganathan

2. Dear Member,A few

Dear Member,

A few clarifications may be relevant before answering the questions posed. First, hardness is different from total dissolved solids. Hardness is due to presence of calcium and magnesium ions. Secondly, taste is mainly perceived due to the presence of sodium chloride among the dissolved solids. Softening reduces calcium and magnesium ion, which may not alter the taste, but it must reduce hardness.

Now we can take the questions.
1. Can you please confirm if the above argument by the maintenance team is techinically correct and if yes, then what steps should be taken to mitigate this?
 Softening depends on the exchange capacity of the material used in the bed to replace calcium and magnesium ions. The material has to be replaced to restore capacity.
2. The water testing kit just measure the CaCO3 contents, while the TDS measuring device gave a reading of 800ppm,   so should we take the CaCO3 content as the basis of measurement or the overall TDS?
Apparently, there is no need to measure TDS. They are not significantly reduced in softening. Only the hardness of input and output of the softening unit need to be measured to assess its performance. Hardness is expressed in terms of CaCO3; water does not contain much of it because it is quite insoluble.

With regards
Paritosh Tyagi
Chairman (Retired)
Central Pollution Control Board
New Delhi

3. Dear Member,A few

Dear Member,

A few clarifications may be relevant before answering the questions posed. First, hardness is different from total dissolved solids. Hardness is due to presence of calcium and magnesium ions. Secondly, taste is mainly perceived due to the presence of sodium chloride among the dissolved solids. Softening reduces calcium and magnesium ion, which may not alter the taste, but it must reduce hardness.

Now we can take the questions.
1. Can you please confirm if the above argument by the maintenance team is techinically correct and if yes, then what steps should be taken to mitigate this?
Softening depends on the exchange capacity of the material used in the bed to replace calcium and magnesium ions. The material has to be replaced to restore capacity.
2. The water testing kit just measure the CaCO3 contents, while the TDS measuring device gave a reading of 800ppm,   so should we take the CaCO3 content as the basis of measurement or the overall TDS?
Apparently, there is no need to measure TDS. They are not significantly reduced in softening. Only the hardness of input and output of the softening unit need to be measured to assess its performance. Hardness is expressed in terms of CaCO3; water does not contain much of it because it is quite insoluble.

With regards     

Paritosh Tyagi
Chairman (Retired)
Central Pollution Control Board
New Delhi

4. Dear Ashutosh,I regret to

Dear Ashutosh,

I regret to inform you that the maintenance team is either taking you for a ride or are themselves misinformed. First of all, let me tell you about the terms TDS & Total hardness as CaCO3. TDS is total dissolved solids. It is the sum total of all ions, positive (calcium, magnesium, sodium etc.) and negative (chlorides, sulphates, nitrates, phosphates etc.). Hardness is caused only due to magnesium and calcium (both positive ions) and results in scaling.
Taste in water is dues to high chlorides as well as TDS (salinity in water). Sadly, softener does nothing to reduce either TDS or chlorides. Chlorides, when added to sodium ion, give you NaCl (sod. chloride) or common salt.
Water softener plant is a plant which replaces the calcium and magnesium in water with sodium. It is an ion "exchange" process and not "removal" of ions. The sodium ion concentration actually increases in water by softening. It will reduce scaling but shall do nothing to change the taste.
Now, if maintenance person says TDS was 50-75, they are lying. If softener is used, there will be no reduction in TDS. There will be reduction in hardness. The hardness shall reduce from 400 to 50-75. It still does nothing to improve the taste.
The recharging is not to be done for the filter but softener shall be recharged by rock salt (the big chunks of rock salt available from local store). You may recharge the softener any number if times but the taste shall never improve. You TDS shall never change, only slightly alter. This is because calcium and magnesium have been "replaced" by sodium.

CaCO3 is not a measure of TDS. It is a measure of calcium carbonate (total hardness). For reduction of TDS, you need an R.O
 
SOLUTION: If yours is a society of about 150 flats, install a common RO plant in the society of capacity 500 litre/hour. Have a treated water tank of sintex (internally plastic lined) of capacity 2000 liters. For drinking water, take water from the common RO plant. For bathing, washing, kitchen etc., soft water of softener shall suffice.
 
A R.O of 500 lph at TDS of 800 shall cost about 2-2.25 lacs including erection. The consumables shall be chlorine and anti-scalant and power. The plant shall produce about 5000-7500 liters per day of water of TDS 50 mg/l. This means each flat gets about 30-50 liters water; enough for drinking and even cooking.
 
I hope your queries are addressed and you have been suitably informed.

Best regards,
Taral Kumar
Executive Director
Akar Impex Pvt. Ltd.
Noida, Uttar Pradesh

5. Dear Ashutosh,The purpose of

Dear Ashutosh,

The purpose of installing a softener palnt is to remove hardness, so that it is below the specified limit for drinking water by BIS. The size of the softener unit is to be decided by the number of apartments and water consumption. Regeneration of resin, in the unit, is required, when total hardness in treated water is beyond the desired value. BIS specification is below 300 mg/L.  Generally, after considering the inlet water quality as well as water consumption, the manufacturer, after installation, recommends the frequency of regeneration (recharging) of the resin.You can look up the following site for BIS drinking water specifications for various parameters

www.chennaimetrowater.tn.nic.in

Problem which you are facingpresently could be due to
1) Increase in water consumption during morning hours
2) Recharging may not be complete.

You should consult the firm, which has installed the unit so that they can give the proper solution.

There are specific water testing kit for hardness, which is generally colour based.
TDS, which is due to total soluble salts, is measured by conductivity method.

Since hardness removal decreases TDS, if the softener plant is removing hardness, there will be a decrease in TDS, in treated water as compared to the inlet water.

In the present case, as the intention is to specifically reduce hardness, you should go in for hardness measurement than TDSW.

Regards

Leela Iyengar
Advisor  
Arghyam
Bangalore

6. Good water softner in Bangalore

Hi,

I live in a apartment with 60 flats at Bangalore. Here the water is a hard. Could you please let me know good water softner provider in Bangalore?

Jazil M

9916012326

7. Regarding TDS and hardness

I have small doubt, I have a TDS meter, if we test with that for a water it will give value in ppm of total dissolved salts but I want to find hardness value with it. Can we findout the hardness using TDS value if we can? Can anyone please give the conversion factor.

8. Is it possible to install water softener for apts in Hyderabad?

Is it possible to install a unique water softener for all 20 flats in an apartment complex in Hyderabad? How much will it cost?

Can you please give me addresses of agencies that deal with water softeners?

9. Looking for portable water softeners for bathroom - Suggestions?

Hi everyone,

We live in an apartment in Old Airport Road area in Bangalore and the water here is very hard. We are looking to install a cheap water softener in the bathroom shower. Could someone give ideas about which one to buy and how much do these come for? Any contacts of dealers/shops will be welcome.

Thanks,
Archana

10. We have a system to condition hard water and its affordable too

Hello,

We have solution for your problem with hardwater.

Our system conditions water and it is affordable too, let me know if you are looking for these services.

11. Require softener for a quantity of 300 ltrs of soft water

My requirement is to to have a water softener which can provide 300 ltr of clean soft water for our family. Can you please reply with your contact details.

Regards,
Harish

12. Contact me for details on treating hard water

Hello Harish,

We have solution for hard water problem, for details regarding this you can reach me at -+91-97404 33444.

Thanks
Vijayendra

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