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Local Water issues

I just heard back from the engineer responsible for my local water. Where we are I guess they don’t test and report on as many things as other regions (small town and such).

What he gave me was Hardness - 40mg/l Sodium - 20 mg/l

PH - 7.5-7.8

For the most part I have not had much luck brewing with this water - I assumed it was hardness, but from this it does not look like that is the issue.

Comparing the PH here to the store bought stuff I use (PH less than 7) I’m thinking that might be the issue?

I have e-mailed back to see if he knows the sulphate level.

That sodium level is definately higher than the store bought stuff I use.

Anyway, if anyone has any other helpfull input about this information I would apreciate it.

Also our local stuff does contain chloramine so I would be adding sulphite (campden tabs to the mix)

Not enough info to really draw any useful conclusions. Sens a sample to www.wardlab.com and get test W-.

Thanks for the link, though I don’t know if there would be any legal issues about sending test samples accross the border. I’m sure there would be a lab in Ontario that could do the same thing.

Or I’ll just keep buying my water. I don’t really brew very often anymore so it may not be worth the trouble.

Bummer- need to get you back on the train

Shoot an email to the lab and see what they say. If it is a problem, they may know a Canadian company you can use.

Seems strange you Providence/National health dept dont require a broader set of tests.

[quote=“Nighthawk”]Shoot an email to the lab and see what they say. If it is a problem, they may know a Canadian company you can use.

Seems strange you Providence/National health dept dont require a broader set of tests.[/quote]

I looked at all the stuff that is required for health testing. Lots on there, but not really much to do with minerality. Just the stuff that can’t be there in any amount.

If I lived 20 km down the road in the Ottawa juristiction I could access all the info on-line for free. The water there was always good for brewing, but for some reason ours has never worked well for me.

I did find a lab in Ottawa that can test for anything. If I ever have the time to brew more than a handfull of times a year I might check them out.

Bummer- need to get you back on the train[/quote]

Yep. Life gets in the way sometimes. Last fall I tried getting a few “Night Brews” in to solve my problem. Simple extract stuff. Didn’t really help.

For now I will just have to take off a few days of work per year so I can keep my skill level at passable to inadequate.

Kids grow up and move out one day don’t they? Or at least they might reach an age of actually being usefull and can help brew. Until that day…

Both the hardness and sodium levels are OK for brewing. The most likely detractor is the alkalinity. If you can’t get the water professionally tested or get more information from the utility, then some simple aquarium test kits for alkalinity and calcium hardness would get you most of the way to resolving brewing issues. The test kits are cheap.

Good to know. I might just check on that.

Interesting thing about my water is it is coming from the same source (I would now assume) as my water did when I lived in Ottawa. The 2 main differences are who treats it and the fact that it has to travel through downtown Ottawa to get here.

The hardness (or lack of hardness) surprised me because I had gotten a metallic taste a few times in the beer and a couple of stores in town sell water softeners. Looks like everyone is getting dooped.

Whoa! The hardness value reported in a water report only reflects the contribution of calcium and magnesium. However, any divalent metal ion contributes to the actual hardness of water. In most cases, the typical convention of calculating hardness on only the calcium and magnesium content is appropriate. This is because those other metal ions are typically at very low concentration.

But even at very low concentration, ions like iron and manganese can add a pronounced flavor to the water. So the hardness value is meaningless in this case. I’m betting that all those residents that have ion-exchange water softeners are using them to remove the iron and manganese content and not necessarily the calcium and magnesium hardness.

If the water hardness is really that low, using ion-exchange softened water may be OK since there isn’t that much hardness to exchange and the resulting sodium content of the treated water may not be that high.

Iron and/or manganese could be the source of the metallic flavors you detect.

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