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Water Softening Techniques Sought : Low - reliance on Electricity Preferred - Maharashtra

I have borewell water for use in home and I have following water test results:  pH 7.5, chloride 138, nitrates 247, total hardness 500, dissolved solilds 728, iron 0.126, and fluoride 0.302.  Please advise me on normal and abnormal values and please advise on solutions for it.  Please note I am in a village near Shirdi (Maharashtra, India) and do have MSEB supply for only 6 to 8 hours and am using solar power.  So, if possible, please give solutions that will use very little or no electricity.

Harshad Mahajan




Dear Harshad,

The test report provided by you shows that your water is hard in nature. The most objectionable thing is very high levels of Nitrate. The maximum permissible limit of Nitrate is 45 mg/l.You should go for R.O. treatment of water to make it potable, but normally all R.O.purifiers works on electricity.

Kindly contact some dealer of water purifiers, if there any water purifier is available which works on solar power also.


Amit Kr. Singh,
Govt. of Haryana,
Public Health Engg. Department,
Water Testing Lab,Karnal-132001(haryana)


Dear Mr. Harshad,

With the present available technology it is not possible to run water treatment plant without energy.

You can explore the Solar or wind power to generate the electricity. I have carried out the experiment on the application of Wet land species for Water Treatment & the results are encouraging. A small plant may be tried at your place.
Please contact if you need more information

Prof. R. V. Saraf
Viraj Envirozing India Pvt. Ltd.
21 Radhakrishna, Near SBI
Paud Road, Pune 411 038
Tele/Fax: (020) 25433445
E Mail:


Dear Mr.Mahajan,

From the few parameters as tested and mentioned in your e mail, the Nitrates at 247ppm are more than 5 times more than what is safe.Total hardness is high,all this is with reference to BIS-10500 which is the Indian Standard for water used for human consumption.Take a look at BIS-10500 and you will straight away know what is above limits in your water.

Whether you wish to reduce hardness and/or Nitrates there are no methods that can be used without electricity.Water softening will reduce hardness and demineralisation can reduce nitrates and both involve pumping of water through equipment at a certain pressure.This can not be done without electricity.Both involve using solutions of chemicals. Softening uses large quantities of salt and demineralisation needs solutions of caustic soda and Hydrochloric acid.

Even assuming you find a way to get electricity adequate for the purpose,you still have the problem of the waste water that these two treatment processes will create(due to the need to use the chemicals mentioned above)They are very difficult to dispose of and can contaminate ground water in your area.Have you looked at alternate better sources of water in your locality? The very high Nitrates are obviously due to the heavy use of fertilizers for agriculture.

If you have any doubts or queries,please feel free to ask.





Dear Mahajan,

As per the report, all components, except nitrate, are within the BIS maximum permissible level for drinking water. Permissible level for nitrate is 45 mg/L, whereas nitrate is 247 mg/L in the bore well water. High intake of nitrate leads to Blue baby syndrome in infants. Preferred method for nitrate removal from water is Reverse Osmosis. This process requires power. However, whenever there is power, one can treat the water and store. Ion exchange India ltd markets ion exchange resin for the removal of nitrate.

I have enclosed a file of BIS standard for drinking water as well as Product sheet for the resin marketed by Ion exchange.

BIS Standards

Product Data Sheet


Leela Iyengar


Dear Harshad,

Water softening will not lower TDS of your water. By water softening you will increase sodium content of the water. This increase in sodium content will be equal to total hardness of the present water i.e. 500 ppm. Generally water softening is applied where water is used in cooling towers or for washing clothes. For drinking water water softening is not recommended.

If still you want to use water softening in your home and that too without electricity. Solution is already present in indian market or you can make a water softener. I have seen some water softener which are nothing but a PVC pipe with bottom covered with plastic strainers and resin media is filled up to half of the length of the pipe.

In your case I think a pipe dia of 6 inches will be sufficient and height of this pipe will be around 1.5 mtr. Place this pipe vertically on plastic strainers sheet. about 20 ltr ion exchange resin will be sufficient for this column. Regeneration of this column is possible with gravity feed of brine solution from top. This column is sufficient to give 4000 ltr soft water in one regeneration. it will require no electricity and cost of this water softener will be around Rs 6000.


AK singla



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