Common Water Ailments & Remedies

ContaminantMCL/Action LevelCommon Sources/NotesConventional Treatment Method(s)
Alkalinity 400 mg/L Naturally Occurring/Subsequent to Treatment Reverse Osmosis, Anion Exchange
Aluminum 0.05 to 0.2 mg/L Natural deposits Distillation, Reverse Osmosis, PE Cation
Ammonia Highly Variable Natural/Industrial Waste/Disinfection with Chloramines Distillation, Ion Exchange with Clinoptilolite, Specifically Designed Redundant Series Softening
Antimony 6 ug/L Natural/Industrial Waste Coagulation, Reverse Osmosis
Arsenic 10 ug/L Natural deposits, smelters, glass, electronics wastes, orchards Reverse Osmosis, NTO, Anion Exchange, Activated Alumina, Manganese Greensand
Barium 2 mg/L Natural deposits, pigments, epoxy sealants, spent coal circulatory system effects Reverse Osmosis, Distillation, Cation Exchange Softening
Boron 1 mg/L Natural/Boiler Blowdown Pollutant Reverse Osmosis, Distillation, Selective Anion Exchange, Deionization
Cadmium 0.005 mg/L Natural deposits, galvanized pipe corrosion, batteries, paints Reverse Osmosis, Distillation, Submicron Filtration
Chloramines (as Cl2) 1-4 mg/L Municipal Disinfection (Total Free) Water additive used to control microbes, Catalytic GAC, Fine Mesh GAC, KDF-85, Clinoptilolite for Residual Ammonia Adsorption
Chloride 250 mg/L Naturally occurring Reverse Osmosis
Chlorine 1-4 mg/L Water disinfection (Test as Free Chlorine) Activated Carbon, KDF
Chromium-6 0.1 mg/L Natural deposits, mining, electroplating, pigments Reverse Osmosis, Anion Exchange
Coliform Zero Indicated Contamination by Animal Wastes and Possible Pathogens Redundant Monitored Disinfection. Chlorination, Contact Time, Absolute Filtration, UV
CO2 N/A Naturally Occurring/ levels above 50 ppm may need treatment Aeration, Soda Ash or Caustic Soda Injection, Calcium Carbonate and/or magensium oxide filtration
Color 15 Color Units Multiple Reverse Osmosis, pilot testing, Bone Char, Coagulation, Anion Exchange, Ultrafiltration
Copper 1.3 mg/L Natural / industrial deposits, wood preservatives, plumbing corrosion Reverse Osmosis, Polyphosphates, Ion Exchange Softening
Cryptosporidium Zero Animal or human waste, contaminated food products Reverse Osmosis, UV, 1 Micron Absolute Filtration
E.coli (Escherichia coli) Zero Naturally occurring, human or animal wastes Ultraviolet, Redundant Monitored Disinfection. Chlorination, Contact Time, Filtration, UV
Fluoride 2 mg/L Natural deposits, fertilizer, aluminum industries, water additive Reverse Osmosis, Bone Char, Activated Alumina
Giardia Zero Naturally occurring, human or animal wastes Reverse Osmosis, Carbon Block (0.5 micron), UV, 1 Micron Absolute Filtration
Hardness ≈3 GPG Naturally Deposits Ion Exchange Softening and Various Alternates.
Heavy Metals Varies Naturally occurring, manufacturing byproduct KDF, Titanium Oxide, RO, Distillation
Hydrogen Sulfide N/A .05 mg/L Natural Rotten egg taste and odor Iron Reduction Filter, KDF 85, Catalytic GAC, Oxidation or Aeration Followed by Filtration, Replace Magnesium Water Heater Anode with Aluminum or Zinc.
Iron 0.3 mg/L Natural deposits Iron Reduction Filter Oxidation or Aeration, Followed by Physical Filtration, Ion Exchange, Special Media (e.g. FerriLite) Filtration.
Langelier Index >0.0 Natural and Human Impact Used to predict corrosivity of water. -2 to 0.0= Moderately Aggressive,
Lead 0-15 ug/L Pollution, corrosion Micro-D, Reverse Osmosis, DI, Special Design Ion Exchange Softener, Special Design GAC Cartridge., KDF.
Log Reduction N/A N/A Logarithim or Exponent of 10. 1 Log = 90%. 2 Log = 99%. 3 Log = 99.9%...
Magnesium N/A Natural deposits See Hardness
Manganese 0.05 mg/L Natural deposits Iron Reduction Filter Oxidation or Aeration, Followed by Physical Filtration, Ion Exchange, Special Media (e.g. FerriLite) Filtration.
Mercury 0.002 mg/L Crop runoff, natural deposits, batteries, electrical switches Reverse Osmosis, Activated Carbon
Methyl TertiaryButyl Ether (MTBE) 20-40 ug/L Leaking underground gasoline storage tanks. High Capacity GAC, Air Stripping above ≈100 ug/L.
Nitrate 10 mg/L Animal waste, fertilizer, natural deposits, septic tanks, sewage Reverse Osmosis, Ion Exchange
Nitrite 1 mg/L Animal waste, fertilizer, natural deposits, septic tanks, sewage Reverse Osmosis, Ion Exchange
Perchlorate ≈4 ug/L Industrial Wastes Reverse Osmosis, Anion Exchange
pH ≈8.5 Natural and Human Causes Low pH: Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Oxide, Soda Ash. High pH: Acidify e.g. White Vinegar.
Radium 5 pCi/L Natural deposits Reverse Osmosis, Special Designed Ion Exchange Softening
Radon 3000 pCi/L Natural deposits Aeration/Venting, Activated Carbon
SAR (Sodium Adsorption Ratio) <3.0 acceptable for most irrigation. Measure of the suitability of water for agricultural irrigation as determined by the solids dissolved in water. High sodium levels in water can replace calcium and magnesium in the soil causing poor infiltration of water and air. The use of water with a SAR above 3.0 for irrigation needs to be carefully considered or soil/crop damage may result.
Selenium 0.05 mg/L Natural deposits, mining, smelting, coal/oil combustion Reverse Osmosis
Silica N/A Natural deposits Reverse Osmosis in conjunction with deionization to remove up to 90%, low levels can mimic hardness.
Silt Density Index (SDI) ≈4 at 15 Minutes Suspended Matter, used primarily to predict membrane fouling potential Physical filtration, coagulant, settling tank. No correlation to NTU.
Sodium N/A Natural and Human Causes Reverse Osmosis
Sulfate 250 mg/L Naturally-occurring Reverse Osmosis, ion exchange
Tannin ≈50 APHA Units Naturally-occurring Anion Exchange, Bone Char, Chlorination, Reverse Osmosis
Total Dissolved Solids 500 mg/L Erosion of naturally occurring mineral deposits Reverse Osmosis
Trihalomethanes (THMs) 0.08 mg/L By-product of chlorination in drinking water Activated Carbon, KDF
Turbidity N/A (1 NTU max. recommended) Soil runoff, Natural Whole-House Sediment Filter, Reverse Osmosis, Coagulant
Uranium 0.03 mg/L Natural occurring Reverse Osmosis, Anion exchange
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Varies Industrial Wastes Activated Carbon, Aeration

*Data herein is provided as a courtesy and is subject to change without notice by IWP.


❐ Impact Water Products. Ontario, California, U.S.A.