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Community Water
(Revised 9/27/2007

The Borough publishes an annual report on water quality.  It's responsibility is to deliver potable water to residents that meet certain government health standards.  These standards do not include limits on hardness or content of certain minerals, protien or harmless bacteria that may make it safe but unpleasant.  Mayor Simpkins also recently wrote a letter describing the towns efforts to control iron content.

As a community service, the following information is published for your use in deciding what if anything you wish to do to improve the quality of your water supply.  Please share your experience with your neighbors. Your contributions to this page are welcome.  E-mail the webmaster.

10/3/2007 Rent a maintenance free water conditioning system

Dick Kobrin has known David Zastavny from Rainsoft in Vincentown for over 15 years. He asked him to come up with an affordable solution to our water issues.  David's flyer outlines his rental program. This option is provided for those of you who would prefer to rent a maintenance free system as opposed to owning one.  Click here to see his flier and feel free to contact David for more information.

10/20/2007 Dick and Sue Kobrin Install a unit from Rainsoft

We have a conventional softener and whole house carbon filter. The softener regenerates with potassium chloride (Trade name K-Life) and adds a small amount of potassium to the water instead of sodium. The carbon filter takes out sediment and chlorine from the whole house and we skipped the reverse osmosis unit. It's a maintenance free rental program. $ 300 for the install and $ 40.00 per month plus tax. They supply all of the K-Life and change the carbon every 2 years. 4 times a year they come out and fill the "salt" tank and check the unit out. There is also an option to purchase.

They did not change any of the plumbing other than to tie into the water line and run a drain for the backwash.

We never had the sulfur smell that other's have talked about. Only odor was strong chlorine and that is gone. If the smell is sulfur, the carbon tank should take care of it but I would strongly suggest that anyone who is looking to buy has the water tested first and asks the "specialist" any questions. Most companies have Water Quality Association Specialists on board who will check the water at no charge. Beware of over priced units with a strong sales pitch

Nice deal if you don't want a large out of pocket expense.

9/27/2007  Resolution

Thanks to all of you who took the time to respond to my e-mail several weeks ago.  Since no one explicitly stated that I could quote them, I won't.  I can tell you that people experience a range of issues from none to everything that we've experienced and documented below. 

A couple of weeks ago I engaged NJ Water Resources to install a water softener and a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system.  The price was exactly as they quoted and significantly less than the competition.  I believe the quality of the equipment to be every bit as good and just as effective. There was an additional cost of $175 to have a 0.5" hole drilled in the granite counter for the RO Faucet. This was done by Tabernacle Granite and Marble.

The entire system, including the RO was installed in the basement at the point of entry for the city water.  That is also close to the sewer line which made a convenient connection for back washing.  The installation was done at the scheduled time.  The RO is normally installed under the sink which takes up every bit of usable space.  They were able to accommodate me and install that system in the basement over the softener.  The pressure tank was installed in the beams to minimize any pressure drop.  We have plenty of pressure at the kitchen sink.

The only down side of the installation was that they ran a new line for the refrigerator rather than using the line already installed by Ryan.  It's a small issue but a bit of an annoyance.

Since the installation, which included shocking the system with Hydrogen Peroxide, we have had no hydrogen sulfide odor; no yellow deposit in the toilet; the clothes come out of the drier soft as a feather; the dishes and stainless pans sparkle when removed from the washer; the RO water is clear and tastless as water should be; and the ice cubes from fridge are crystal clear and impart no taste to the drink even when drinking pure melted cubes.

Water softeners are notorious for adding Sodium.  The alternative is to use Potassium Chloride.  If you have high blood pressure you want to avoid sodium.  if you have kidney problems you want to avoid potassium.  The way out is to use RO to remove the majority of both ions from the water for cooking and drinking.  If you are not concerned about the increase in sodium (or potassium), the water provided from the softener is quite fit for all uses.  I actually cook with it and just adjust what little salt I might add.

Many of you have effervescence when you first turn on the faucet in the morning.  That condition still persists and is probably due to dissolved air, forced into the water by the high line pressure.  When the faucet is first turned on the sudden pressure drop allows the rapid release of the gas causing the effervescence.  There is no Hydrogen Sulfide smell emanating from the escaping air as there was before the treatment.  The theory is that there were bacteria introduced into the plastic piping of the house during construction which fed on proteins in the water producing the gas which then dissolved only to be released with the air.  The fact that the hydrogen peroxide treatment seems to have solved that problem lends credence to the theory.

I know that there are those among you who feel that the problems we have are the responsibility of the town.  Surely they are responsible to provide us with potable water that meets all the standards set by the State and Federal authorities.  They do this and provide an annual report  of the water quality.  The pH of the water is well controlled.  The mineral content is within acceptable standards albeit on the high side. If the hydrogen sulfide is from bacteria in the house lines, then the responsibility for eliminating that falls on the home owner or Ryan Homes. 

There are those among us who choose not to live with the water as it is delivered.  We are free to add systems to correct the inadequacies.  Providing this type of conditioning on a global level would not be at all cost effective.  For example, you would not want to water your lawn with conditioned water although you might like to use it to wash your car.

If our theory is correct, the hydrogen sulfide can be corrected by treating the pipes in the home with Hydrogen Peroxide.  This is an inexpensive solution and does not require the installation of other conditioning equipment.  While this odor is unpleasant, it does not represent a health threat.

I hope you have found this discussion helpful in making your own decision about what you want to do.  If I can be of any further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me.


Problem:  When washing clothes not even fabric softener will soften the towels.  The water has a slightly yellowish cast to it.  When clear plastic water bottles are refilled, they become coated with a brownish layer.  When the water from a faucet is first run, there is an unpleasant rotten egg odor which dissipates quickly.  The water does not have an unpleasant taste but iit s not clear.  The dish washer tends to leave pots and glassware spotted.

 The Cause:  The water hardness was measured at 8 grains per gallon.  The scale ranges from 1 to 10 with anything under 1 being considered soft and anything over 10 being considered very hard.  Hard water requires more soap and synthetic detergents for home laundry and washing, and contributes to scaling in boilers. Hardness is caused by compounds of calcium and magnesium, and by a variety of other metals. Water is an excellent solvent and readily dissolves minerals it comes in contact with. As water moves through soil and rock, it dissolves very small amounts of minerals and holds them in solution. Calcium and magnesium dissolved in water are the two most common minerals that make water "hard."

 Both suspended and dissolved forms of Iron were also found to be present  according to Culligan. Iron is one of the most common elements found in nature accounting for at least 5% of the earth's crust. It is understandable, therefore, that just about all water supplies contain some measurable amount of iron. Iron stains and contaminates anything it contacts. The resulting stains are usually yellowish-brown to reddish-brown, but may be gray to black in the presence of some organics. Iron may also cause undesirable odors and tastes in water.

 The pH of the water was tested and found to be 7.5 which Is just slightly basic, 7 being neutral; anything lest than 7 is considered acidic; anything greater than 7 is considered basic or alkaline.  We have no problem with the pH of our water.

 The source of the “rotten egg” odor is unclear.  The most likely cause is harmless  Bacteria which feed on the dissolved iron  or proteins in the water system.  It is interesting that others in the community are not experiencing this problem.  We therefore suspect that somehow these organisms have been trapped in our system during construction.  The odor is likely the result of these organisms dying and decaying.

 Remediation:  Culligan did the above testing.  Their recommended remediation included a filter on the primary feed to the domestic water system which will trap particulates such as suspended iron particles.  The water will then pass through an ion exchange tank which will remove dissolved metal compounds including but not limited to calcium, magnesium and iron.  This “water softener” will provide treated water to the whole house including the hose bibs but excluding the sprinkler system.. 

One side effect of the softener is that it increases the sodium content of the water.  It uses the sodium ion to replace the larger metallic ions.  The sodium salts that result have no impact on the water hardness.  The increase in sodium content is undesirable from a health perspective for many seniors.  The alternative of using the more expensive potassium salt is not attractive to those with impaired kidney function.  Therefore a Reverse Osmosis system will be placed under the kitchen sink to remove these soluble salts and provide drinking water and ice cubes free of all chemical impurities. 

The "rotten egg" odor will presumably cease to be a problem once the iron is removed from the water and the food for the bacteria is eliminated.  In order to purge them from the piping  the entire system will be shocked with a high concentration of chlorine that will kill any existing organisms.  Once this is completed there should be no further odor.

The price quoted was just under $3500 for the project.

Water Resources of NJ also performed tests on the water and confirmed the above results except for the iron.  Their qualitative test did not show iron dissolved in the water They did observe turbidity which could be from insoluble iron or other impurities and sediment. They recommend an ion exchange softener as above to control the hardness.  A Reverse Osmosis system was recommended as above to reduce the sodium content and to remove other impurities and provide pure filtered drinking water and ice cubes. They will also shock the entire system with Hydrogen Peroxide to eliminate any residual bacteria residing in the plumbing.  The price quoted was $2000.