Water Treatment – “The Salt Free Water Softener”

The Keystone Clean Water Team is a 501c3 and the main goal of the organization is to educate and inform the public on issues related to watershed management, water quality, groundwater, conservation, and the links between the environment, ecomony, and living within a community.    As a group, we provide educational outreach via are webportals, workshops, and other training programs.  During the past year, one of the most common questions we get ask is:  “What do you think of the “Salt Free Water Softener”,  my normal answer is “It depends”.

For some “salt free water treatment” systems by most common answer is quarky.  I will not mention these systems, but I will refer you to a great website so we do not have to worry about liability  (H20.con).   Of the softener and “salt-free” systems we have been able to seen the field the ones that appear interesting would include the following:

Water Softener (Conventional and With A Twist)

In general water softeners reduce the level of total hardness in the water and when this hardness is removed it is replaced with ions of sodium or potassium. The total hardness can include elements like calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, and other divalent/or mulivalent cations, i.e., ions that have a positive charge of more than one.  These ions are replaced by ions with a positive charge of one.   The system requires an internal resign that acts as the treatment area and a brine tank that is used to backwash and recharge the resin.   These have a long-history of use, but can increase the level of sodium and potassium in the water.  These systems can be vulnerable to bacterial regrowth, chlorine interaction, and in some cases “Iron Out” needs to be added to the brine tank.   A water softner can add in dealing with issues related to more significant scale formation and problems with iron and manganese.  If you are considering this treatment system, we recommend that you conduct a comprehensive water quality test and seek the advice of a local expert.  If you are a DIY, get your water tested and  please visit this portal (Whole House Water Softener / Alternative No-salt Softener (just reduces hardness- Using a Crystal Eagle Anti-scale media ) ).   For the record, we have seen problems when a water softener is added to an older home and system. In these cases, we have seen that water softener was typically removing too much of the water hardness.  When this softened water was introduced to the system, the system experience elevated levels of lead, copper, and other trace metals and because the line was not properly shock disinfected intermittent water quality problems with “dirty and discolored water” (PS: this is Flint Michigan in a nutshell).

Aquios Systems (Aquios FS-220)  (Salt Free)

The Aquios technology uses a polyphosphate/silicate additive in the media to bind or sequester the hardness as a mineral form.  The media is known as Siliphos Data Sheet. Rather than feeding a polyphosphate chemical into the water like is done for corrosion control and sequestering for some municipal water sources, this is accomplished using a point of entry or use treatment system.  The filter has a fixed capacity for hardness reduction, so it is critical to get a detailed water quality test so the system can be properly sized.  In addition, the system normally included prefiltration to reduce or remove sediment and chlorine.

(Aquios FS-220)

Nuvo H20 (Salt Free)

This systems uses a chelatin approach to reducing the total hardness of the water. Therefore, the hardness is bound and sequestered within the media, which is very similar to the Aquios approach, but they use CitraCharge.  CitraCharge appears to be an additive that includes citric acid, which is a weak organic acid.  From the companies website, “The chelant in CitraCharge creates a ring structure to bind the ions to the CitraCharge instead of to other ions, which is what typically causes scale and hard-water deposits.”  A CitraCharge powder is also available to help clean and remove stains in your dishwasher.

Nuvo H20 System

Other Products

General Electric – Citric Acid Cleaner  (Dishwasher, etc)

Citic Acid based cleaner-Clean Environment Bathroom Cleaner

Please make sure to get your water quality tested.  For this problem we would recommend, the following for  Well Water or City Water.

AquiSense POU POE Treatment System with UV Disinfection Multiple Barriers

AquiSense can help provide families with the purest water available.  The PearlAqua harnesses the power of ultraviolet (UV) light to destroy pathogens in the most natural way possible, without adding any harmful chemicals.  The PearlAqua has been compactly designed to be a Point-of-Entry (POE) or Point-of-Use (POU) system.  Physical filtration of the water is required before UV disinfection so a PearlAqua is a great addition to any existing water treatment system.

The PearlAqua was designed to work with any water treatment system so installation of the unit is easy and retrofitting is simple.  Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems remove dissolved inorganic solids from water, but not organic materials or pathogens.  This may lead to algae growing in the holding tank, but recirculating the water through a PearlAqua will prevent algae from ever growing. Traditional UV disinfection systems use a large amount of electricity and heat the water while they disinfect.  These systems also use mercury gas-filled lamps to create their UV light. Mercury lamps are very fragile and release mercury into the water stream when they break.

The LEDs inside the PearlAqua last for 10,000 hours.  A mercury lamp will have a similar lifespan, but a mercury lamp can only be turned off/on a few times per day.  This limitation leads to the lamp remaining on, even when there is no water flow – hence annual replacement.  The PearlAqua LED system can be turned on/off an infinite number of times per day, so the unit only runs when water is flowing through it, greatly extending the lamp replacement interval. For example, a PearlAqua unit that is on for 2 hours a day will only need a lamp replacement every 14 years!

 The Units provide  “The Home Concept

1 .DC input power means solar power is possible
2. After hot water tank as pathogen barrier
3. Point of use legionella control
4. Disinfect rain water after storage
5. Post septic tank for environmental protection
6. Reuse grey water without concern of infection
7. RO/filter system final polishing and/or bio-film control

For more news and information – Go to News Page

A few steps

Step 1 – Get your water tested.
Step 2 – Get the water properly treated.

Lead Drinking Water Crisis in Flint Michigan KDF

Lead- Metals- Corrosive Water
Water Quality Association Addresses Drinking Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan

Offers facts and tips about treating for lead contamination

Lisle, Illinois -The Water Quality Association (WQA), an Illinois-based not-for-profit organization, is offering informational resources to help with the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Flint residents are expected to receive federal aid to help ensure their access to safe drinking water. On January 16, 2016, President Obama signed an Emergency Declaration for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate all disaster- relief efforts. The declaration states that, “This emergency assistance is to provide water, water filters, water filter cartridges, water test kits, and other necessary related items for a period of no more than 90 days.”

Lead (Pb) has been identified as the waterborne contaminant of primary concern for Flint’s residents. To minimize the presence of contaminants such as lead, which may enter the water after it has left a municipal treatment facility, WQA recommends water treatment equipment that has been certified by an ANSI (American National Standards Institute)-accredited certification body. Such accredited entities include WQA’s Gold Seal Product Certification Program, NSF International and Underwriters Laboratory. Flint residents are encouraged to visit www.wqa.org to search for the names of products certified by WQA for lead reduction. Click here to download a technical fact sheet about Lead (Pb).

It is important consumers follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance. WQA also lists of water treatment professionals across the U.S. on its website at www.wqa.org.
Additional notes
1. Recommend that we concentrate on the following – get kids and adults blood tested.
2. Get first flush testing completed for lead and alternative water source for drinking.
3. Install point of use treatment in the interim.
4. Develop a plan to remove the lead service lines.
5. Develop a plan to install corrosion control.
6. Lawsuits should wait until the problem is addressed.

More on lead in drinking water- Corrosion 

Check out the Know Your H20? App

Water Treatment Systems – Must Likely need a neutralizing filter and a filter that has KDF 85 or KDF 55 media.


More – 2/4/2016

Water Quality Association Addresses Frequently Asked Questions about Lead in Water

Lisle, Illinois -The Water Quality Association (WQA), an Illinois-based not-for-profit organization, is offering informational resources to help differentiate fact from fiction regarding the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The Association has compiled answers to several of the most common questions, while addressing some widespread misconceptions Flint residents may have about lead (Pb) in drinking water.

What are potential health effects from lead?

Lead poisoning often displays no outward symptoms; however, irritability, weight loss, vomiting, constipation, and stomach pain are possible signs to look for. Young children and pregnant women are at the greatest risk, even from short-term exposure. Reduced cognitive development and neurobehavioral deficits are associated with blood levels less than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood in children.[1] Therefore, there is no safe level for lead to be present in the blood of children.[2] Individuals will adsorb more lead if they have poor nutrition than those with better diets.

Can a Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) meter be used to detect lead in drinking water?

No. There have been some misconceptions around TDS Meters. These meters cannot measure lead specifically; they detect the conductivity directly related to the concentration of combined total dissolved solids such as minerals, salts and metals. The typical sample of tap water in the U.S. contains approximately 350 parts per million (ppm) of TDS[3], which, as a whole does not on its own indicate a health concern and in many cases is used as a means to enhance taste of water.  Lead concentration is found 1000 times lower at the parts per billion (ppb) level, and is too small to be detected without sophisticated instrumentation. Moreover, because TDS meters don’t measure individual ions, lead cannot be detected on its own.

Where can I go to get my water tested?

Water testing should be done be a certified testing laboratory.[4] WQA strongly recommends water testing be conducted at each point of use in accordance with appropriate sampling procedures. The water should be checked after a period of disuse before a specific water treatment product is selected. Water conditions can change, so the water should be tested both before a treatment product has been installed and at regular intervals following installation. Studies have shown the reported levels of lead found in some Flint, MI water results are higher than conditions under which the manufacturer set the replacement recommendations for filters in published manuals.

How do I maintain a filter once it is installed?

Always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions and contact the manufacturer to confirm usage and capacity. To ensure the manufacturer can provide the most accurate recommendations, have test results for lead and iron on hand for review.

Where do I find a product certified for lead reduction?

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited entities offering product certification include: WQA’s Product Certification Program, NSF International, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, and Underwriters Laboratory. To find products certified by WQA for lead reduction. Contact information for local professionals and manufacturers of certified products can also be found wqa.org.

B.F. Environmental Builds Expertise into New Water Quality Mobile App – Know Your H20?

B.F. Environmental Builds Expertise into New Water Quality Mobile App

Company experts have developed a new tool that will help families stay healthy


WILKES-BARRE, PA—September 22, 2015—B.F. Environmental Consultants, an environmental consulting firm providing a range of services throughout the Northeast, announced today the launch of a new mobile app that will make it possible for homeowners to get answers about the quality of their drinking water. Brian Oram, a professional geologist and soil scientist and founder of B.F. Environmental Consultants, developed this new diagnostic tool, called “Know Your H2O?”

“Consumers have fully embraced mobile technologies. If we want to help them, we’re going to have to make our information available to them through their IOS and Android devices,” Oram said. “This new app will put actionable information about water quality into the hands of homeowners all across the country. I’m very proud of this new product.”

Know Your H2O? relies heavily upon the massive online water quality resource the company has made available through the launch of its Water Research Center website. The first version of the software helps consumers diagnose potential water quality problems by exploring aesthetic problems, physical problems, health concerns, or specific problems in their homes. The app is supported by additional content that is directly linked to the Water Research Center.

“This tool helps consumers diagnose problems, but then goes beyond that to provide recommendations for further testing or corrective action,” Oram said. “The app is based on a holistic approach and is guided by concerns about our water, homes, and health. It is a comprehensive tool that can be used by any homeowner, building inspector, water quality professional, or water treatment professional to diagnose a problem and determine next steps.”

For more information about the mobile app or to download your own free copy, visit: http://knowyourh2o.us

About B.F. Environmental Consultants, Inc.

B.F. Environmental Consultants, based in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Poconos, has been providing professional geological, soils, hydrogeological, and environmental consulting services since 1985. The company specializes in the following areas: hydrogeological and wastewater evaluations for siting land-based wastewater disposal systems; soils consulting (soil scientists), environmental monitoring, overseeing the siting, exploration, and development of community/ commercial water supply sources; environmental training/ professional training courses, and other environmental services. For more information about B.F. Environmental Consultants, visit www.bfenvironmental.com and www.water-research.net.

Fibromyalgia and Drinking Water – Connection

Fibromyalgia is a complex disorder that is composed of a series of debilitating symptoms. It is estimated that 5.8 million Americans suffer from this disorder.  These symptoms include muscle and join pain, release sleep, headaches, and periods of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  There have been studies that suggest that this disease may have trigger related to presence of fluoride in the water and the disease is associated with low levels of magnesium and zinc the body.  Therefore, it may be necessary to ensure the body is properly hydrated and getting adequate macro and micro-nutrients.   This is one reason we like or suggest drinking moderately hard alkaline water.   Since the research is not clear, but it is clear that proper hydration helps to regulate stress, body temperature, aid in lubricating joints, and supports a healthy immune system, we recommend the following:

1. Drink water – We are not going to say 8 glasses per day, but if you fill thirsty or hungry – this may be a sign you need to drink more water.   (8 glasses is a myth).
2. Try to pick a hydration source that does not provide a lot of sugar, salts, or calories – we should get our calories from our food.  We can also get our water from our food – try an orange, apple, pear, etc.
3. If your urine is very dark, more water is needed.  If the urine very clear, drink less.
4. Drinking coffee and teas are ok, but watch caffeine intake and avoid alcohol as a hydration method.
5. Get your drinking water tested.
6. Consider a Water Filter to Improve the general quality of the water.


We seek new people at all skill levels for a variety of programs. One thing that everyone can do is attend meetings to share ideas on improving the Keystone Clean Water Team (CCGG Program), enabling us to better understand and address the concerns of well owners.  We look for people that can forward solid articles, help coordinate local education efforts, and more.  Become part of the Keystone Clean Water Team!.

Everything we do began with an idea.

We realize your time is precious and the world is hectic. CCGG’s volunteers do only what they’re comfortable with. It can be a little or a lot.  Get YOUR WATER Tested – Discounted Screening Tests !   Get educated on Drinking Water Quality in Pennsylvania.

For more information, please go to CCGG’s About Page or contact us.

Keystone Clean Water Team /Carbon County Groundwater Guardians is a 501(c)(3) IRS approved nonprofit, volunteer organization and your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.  The IRS Officially Approved Name change to the Keystone Clean Water Team by the IRS.  Unsolicited donations are appreciated (Helps us complete our mission).

Help the Organization and Get Your Water Tested or Order the Private Well Owner Guide (proceeds benefit This Organization).