• Aquarius Drilling
  • Aquarius Drilling
  • Aquarius Drilling
  • Aquarius Drilling

Metal Poisoning from Town Water (Copper)


How does soft town water cause metals poisoning in water?

Copper Poisoning

Soft water will, when it sits in copper pipes, literally dissolve the copper out of the pipes and leave a green tinge on porcelain and white enamel and can be bitter in taste.

COPPER DETECTED BY TEST over 1ppm can be a problem with young children and long term with all of us. The Australian Drinking Water Safe Limit guidelines are 2ppm. I believe that it is set too high.

Copper presence is a very common and widespread problem with soft water supplies and unsuspecting users getting sick from copper poisoning.  Blonde haired women developing a green tinge to their hair from the hot water copper exposure is just one of the physical signs.

Canberra, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney all have very soft water supplies.  They are all generally supplied by Reservoir water that is actually filled direct by rainfall, river systems and run off.  This water supply has a low level of calcium and magnesium mineral base

Understanding Water

First the water user must understand that water is a living item with an active mineral base.

The mineral base comprises calcium and magnesium, hardness mineral salts, sodium and chloride, the attacking mineral salts. 

Water Balance

A water supply must be in balance with the hardness or it will misbehave.  The water supply that is very low in mineral content will attack soft materials such as:

Older plumbing styles which were typically galvanized.  Soft water will dissolve the inner pipe wall metal and send the water quite brown.  The water carried can be found to also contain elevated levels of zinc.

  • Copper plumbing is a very soft metal and dissolves quite readily under aggressive water conditions.  This will send porcelain blue or green and make the water taste quite bitter.
  • Old un-galvanaised iron pipes will also cause brown water to come out of the tap leaving elevated iron levels present.
  • Brass or alloy fittings can also affected and will release metals into the water stream, mostly zinc.

An aggressive water supply will have a low hardness presence by test and a low pH that is generally not above a pH of 7.2 and more typically as low as a pH of 6.5

Aggressive Conditions in Water

Rainwater can calculate to quite an aggressive index. It will attack any soft metal including copper, brass, iron, galvanized metals. If rainwater is stored in concrete tanks, then it will dissolve the lime out of the concrete walls and harden up and cease to be aggressive. In non concrete tanks, the store water can have a pH as low as 5.5. Melbourne water is very similar in mineral base and mostly aggressive.

Stopping the Metals Problem

Calcite Filter

This can be generally achieved by passing the water supply on demand use, through a calcite chip filled filter or vessel filled with the calcium chip or ground calcium. The water hardens up, the calcium level climbs, the alkalinity elevates and the pH goes higher and the problem ceases.

Dusty Water

The water that travels through this type of pH correction filter becomes dusty with calcium and harder.  We then add a sediment filter which stops the dusting from passing through.

Harder Water

We apply a magnetic clamp to again soften the high calcium content water and this also assists with any clarity issues. There is no other guaranteed safe way for whole of house treatment.