We hear all the time about local things, whether it is food preferences, sayings, or favorite pastimes. But water problems? Not so much. As it turns out, water problems do tend to change based on the particular region of the US. When you think in terms of geography, it only makes sense that coastline areas may be different from the Great Plains when it comes to their water quality. Check out this map of common water problems by location:
Since finding the right water treatment solution for your home begins with identifying your specific water problems, looking at water issues that are common in your part of the country
might be a good place to start your research.
West Coast Water Problems
West coast water issues vary based on topography. For example, while water tends to have less minerals in Oregon and Washington, most of California has hard water. Another issue seen on the west coast is fertilizer runoff, which can create pockets with high nitrates contamination. Certain parts of the west coast also have water sources that have a pH lower than 7, meaning it is acidic. The Bull Run watershed that provides the city of Portland’s water is one example of an area affected by acidic water. Low pH water is more corrosive and will eat away all your plumbing and fixtures, and if left untreated, will make the walls of your pipes so thin that they will puncture under the pressure from the water inside.
Being next to the ocean can bring some beautiful views, but with it also comes salt water intrusion. Ground water from a well or cities that utilize surface water from a nearby lake or river are considered fresh water sources because they do not contain any salt. The closer you are to an ocean, the higher the risk of salt water mixing with the fresh water and changing the taste.
You may wonder why having a drought would make a difference to the quality of your water. Hard water is going to be hard water no matter if you have a lot or a little, right? That’s not necessarily true. If you imagine a glass that has 12 ounces of water in it and just a dash of salt, when you drink it, it probably won’t taste that bad. But if you put a dash of salt into just 1 ounce of water, it’ll taste a lot stronger. That same principle can be applied to a larger scale when it comes to your water supply. Any contaminants that exist become more concentrated and lead to problems faster when there is less rainfall.
Common water issues in California, Oregon, and Washington include:
Mountain Water Problems
The mountainous states have geographic characteristics that can create complex water quality challenges. Granite and limestone minerals dissolve into the water making hard water the region’s predominant issue. Arsenic is also often seen in this area. Arsenic is a naturally occurring substance that comes from the ground the water travels through to get to your home and can be a concern when it comes to your drinking water.
Hydrogen sulfide is also found in nature and can be picked up by your water. This is the cause of the “rotten egg” odor that sometimes happens to well water. There is no negative affect to your health if you have hydrogen sulfide in your water, but often the smell is so bad you wouldn’t want to drink it or shower in it.
Water problems in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming:
Central Water Problems
The Missouri Valley area water is known to have heavy iron content, especially in Nebraska, eastern Kansas and eastern Oklahoma. Iron in your water can either be dissolved so your water still looks clear, or it could still be in a particle form that will actually make your water look like a dark orange or brown color. In either case, the iron deposits left on your sinks, showers, and appliances will leave very stubborn rust stains.
Hydrogen sulfide is also common in this area which causes those same “rotten egg” odors found in the mountain region. Agriculture is widespread throughout the area due to the flat wide open areas of rich soil and their high amounts of rainfall. America produces about one third of the corn and soybeans that are used throughout the world and over 80% of that comes from the Midwest. This high farming business also means that there are a lot of fertilizers used to ensure the crops are hearty and plentiful, which means nitrates can also be a problem.
Chlorine is a water contaminant that is common across the entire country because all cities have to include it in order to keep water safe from bacteria as it is traveling to your home, but the Midwest states are being flagged because not all city water is the same and most of the worst culprits fall into this area. Some municipalities increase the amount of chlorine because the water has to travel a longer distance, and others include both chlorine and ammonia (also known as chloramines) to create an even more potent disinfectant. These added chemicals are good at preventing bacteria but once the water has reached your home, it’s no longer necessary and can cause strong taste and odors in your water. It’ll also dry out your skin and hair.
Common water problems in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas include:
Common Great Lakes Water Problems
The Great Lakes states’ water problems can vary within the same state. For example, in the western and northern parts of Wisconsin, acidic water can be common but it isn’t very hard, while in the southern part of the state water tends to be hard without having an issue with the pH levels. The same could be said about upper Michigan and lower Michigan. Red stains from iron and iron bacteria issues are typical throughout the Great Lakes states.
Michigan has also received a lot of attention in recent years for their lead contamination in publicly supplied water. Lead becomes a more prevalent issue the further east we go across the United States, because there are cities that have been established for decades longer than other parts of the country and their infrastructure is still utilizing plumbing from that era. Lead pipes used for plumbing were banned in 1984 after people realized the negative health effects it causes, but many cities have not replaced all of their plumbing. The people of Flint, MI made national headlines but many large, old cities also have this problem, like Milwaukee and Chicago.
As we focus on the states surrounding the Great Lakes, we should also mention the introduction of tannins in their water. Tannins are decayed vegetation from trees, swamps, and other plantlife. This organic debris can get into the water supply and cause it to look like a yellow or tea color. Tannins are not harmful to your health, but they can make your water not taste very good or smell “earthy.”
Typical water issues in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin include:
Northeast Water Problems
Hardness can be any issue, depending on where in the Northeast you are located. You will know easily by the white, crusty build up around faucets and fixtures as well as spotting on glasses. Low pH is common, so many people end up having to neutralize their water in order to prevent corrosion or the stubborn blue-green stains on their fixtures. In New York, where water is hard, magnesium and calcium can raise water alkalinity to help balance out the acidic conditions so they don’t have to worry about that as much. Municipal water treatment issues, such as high chlorine levels, are common throughout this area.
Another problem that is notorious in this area is arsenic in the water. Arsenic is naturally found in the ground in various parts of the country and could change over time. You may not have had arsenic in your well water 5 years ago but it has found its way in recently, and you would never know it because it can’t be seen, smelled, tasted. That is why it is important to have your water tested at least once per year.
Much like the west coast, the east coast also needs to think about salt water intrusion from the nearby ocean. Lead in the city water supply is also common in this area because more east coast towns were built before World War I and contain a lot of history, so they aren’t likely to tear up the streets to replace the old pipes.
Frequent water issues in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont include:
Southeast Water Problems
In southeastern states, residents commonly complain about yellow or brownish water. This discoloration is due to tannins, a decayed organic matter that penetrates the water supply. In northern Florida, rust orange stains are very common due to the high iron content in the ground there, which can make the removal of any tannins present even harder to tackle.
There also tends to be more limestone in the bedrock of this part of the country and salt due to its proximity to the Atlantic ocean.
Common water issues in Florida, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee include:
Test Your Water and Choose a Customizable Water Treatment Solution
While water problems can be common in particular areas, every home is unique, so water testing is imperative in determining effective treatment.
Homes in any region can benefit from a WaterMax water treatment solution because the WaterMax is fully customizable.
Unique among water treatment systems, WaterMax allows users to solve specific and multiple water problems with one highly-efficient system. The unique WaterMax three compartment design allows for the use of additional custom media options to address specific treatment needs. Every WaterMax is built with fine mesh resin and Bacteriostat to prevent the development of bacteria.
For any concerns you may have about the water you consume, we offer certified Reverse Osmosis (RO) drinking water systems. These are tested and proven to remove contaminants like lead, arsenic, or nitrates to make sure your family is drinking purified water without having to rely on always purchasing bottled water from the store.
Contact EPA Water Consultants to schedule your complimentary in-home consultation to learn more about the common water issues in your area. We can help customize your water treatment solution today! We are your Greater Philadelphia area Hague dealer providing service in towns like Washington Crossing, Willow Grove and Wayne, PA.
EPA Water Consultants have been working with homeowners, home builders and businesses for years throughout Pennsylvania to solve multiple water-related problems. Each install is completed by an EPA Water employee as if it was our home – no subcontractors! With our 100% water quality guarantee, EPA Water Consultants will provide the best water available to you and your home or business!