Author Topic: Water Profile  (Read 1290 times)

Offline pmallory

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Water Profile
« on: November 25, 2010, 12:28:01 AM »
I am trying to figure out what my water profile is. I live in San Francisco. I called the water quality department and they only gave me limited info. I am looking for specifics like, calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfate, chloride, and bicarbonate. The only info I got was given in a range of the city of San Francisco. The range was so large it didn't help. They don't have specific info on each zone where the water sources are similar. The info I got for my neighborhood was:

In mg/L:
Hardness 38
Alkalinity 36
Chloride 11
Floride1
pH 9.1
Chlorine 1.8

Conductivity 136 μS/cm
Turbidity .24 ntu

Can anyone help me interpret this? Also, how can I get my water tested for the info I need, and how much does it cost?

Also, the ranges for the whole city were:

In ppm
Calcium 2-26
Magnesium .2-8.8
Sodium 3-23
Chloride 4-14.6

These seem a lot lower than what I'd expect just by what I've read from books, but I know San Francisco has very good tap water. Anyone have any guesses why this could be?

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Water Profile
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2010, 01:31:24 AM »
Your best bet is to send a sample to Ward Labs and have it tested, the W-6 test for $16.50.

http://wardlab.com/FeeSchedule/WaterAnalysis.aspx
Tom Schmidlin

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Re: Water Profile
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2010, 01:54:02 AM »
You are on the Hetch Hetchy water system(google it for more info). You basically have soft water. It is direct snow pack melt from the Sierra's. From what I've tasted out of the tap from my friends in Oakland years ago, it tasted amazing. Not even a hint of chlorine. Now depending on the condition and composition of your pipes, you may want to run it through a GAC filter. If I had this brewing water(which I didn't have in San Jose or Livermore, they got it from wells that seeped from the Delta and it was medium hard), I'd filter and you could feel confident about brewing Pilsners without mineral additions to hoppy ales adding calcium sulphate or dark beers adding calcium carbonate. By all means if you have any questions, get your water tested. I lived in the S.F. Bay area for over 20 years and am very familiar with the quality of water sources in the area.

Offline a10t2

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Re: Water Profile
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2010, 10:40:28 AM »
Assuming those numbers are correct, you have everything you need except sulfate, and as soft as your water is it probably isn't too high.

Did they give you the units for alkalinity? If it's total alkalinity as CaCO3 equivalent, then your bicarbonate should be right around 43 ppm. Working backward from the hardness, assuming the Mg is 4 ppm, the Ca would be 10 ppm.

So your RA is ~20-30. Add a little calcium (gypsum for hoppy beers, calcium chloride for malty) and you can brew any light beer as-is. For anything darker than a pale ale you'll need to add carbonates using chalk and/or baking soda.

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Offline thcipriani

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Re: Water Profile
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2010, 07:46:45 PM »
Quote
Did they give you the units for alkalinity?

I'd guess it's as CaCO3 - if we're working in milliequivalents/L then we've got some funky water/a wacky water report.

Also, units for hardness'd be helpful.

I'd say ship it to Ward's for good numbers.

If I were going to interpret it I'd say a.) You might need some calcium if you're having trouble with conversion or flocculation or both - but I wouldn't look here first b.) watch the alkalinity vs the pH during the sparge - you don't want it to climb too high. Might acidify the sparge water or cut it or both.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2010, 07:48:44 PM by thcipriani »
Tyler Cipriani
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Water Profile
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2010, 08:02:37 PM »
Unless otherwise noted, hardness and alkalinity are always given as ppm as CaCO3 here in the US.

Kai

Offline pmallory

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Re: Water Profile
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2010, 09:17:30 PM »
Did they give you the units for alkalinity? If it's total alkalinity as CaCO3 equivalent, then your bicarbonate should be right around 43 ppm. Working backward from the hardness, assuming the Mg is 4 ppm, the Ca would be 10 ppm.
http://seanterrill.com/2009/08/08/water-water-everywhere/

The only units for alkalinity are mg/L. I don't know in what form though, so does that mean it CaCO3? I am guessing alkalinity and RA are different. I don't understand how alkalinity is different than pH, or how it can be measured on a scale different than the pH scale.
Also, my pH was 9.1. Can that be correct, that seems really high? Hardness was also given in mg/L.
I am also unclear which water you treat, everything (sparge water and strike water)or just the strike water?
Thanks for the help.

Offline Kaiser

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Re: Water Profile
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2010, 09:27:10 PM »
The only units for alkalinity are mg/L. I don't know in what form though, so does that mean it CaCO3? I am guessing alkalinity and RA are different. I don't understand how alkalinity is different than pH, or how it can be measured on a scale different than the pH scale.
Also, my pH was 9.1. Can that be correct, that seems really high? Hardness was also given in mg/L.
I am also unclear which water you treat, everything (sparge water and strike water)or just the strike water?
Thanks for the help.

In this case Alkalinity and Hardness were given as mg/l as CaCO3. The "as CaCO3" is seen as redundant since talking about Alkalinity or Hardness implies that he unit has to be an equivalence based unit.

You may want to read through this article: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/How_to_read_a_water_report. It should answer at least some of the questions you have.

Kai

Offline a10t2

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Re: Water Profile
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2010, 11:13:16 AM »
Unless otherwise noted, hardness and alkalinity are always given as ppm as CaCO3 here in the US.

That's probably true. The only reason it was on my mind is that I just got the report from the local utility and it was in mEq/L - I'd assume they just read the value from their testing equipment and don't bother to convert.
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Water Profile
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2010, 11:32:40 AM »
mEq/l is the SI unit for harness and alkalinity. I have been seeing the same thing with water reports from Germany. mEq/l is starting to replace dH (German Hardness).

Kai

Offline micsager

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Re: Water Profile
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2010, 08:40:50 AM »
Your best bet is to send a sample to Ward Labs and have it tested, the W-6 test for $16.50.

http://wardlab.com/FeeSchedule/WaterAnalysis.aspx

I just my water to ward labs yesterday, priority mail, from the pacific northwest.  I figure I'll have an email from them by weeks end.... 

Not really trying to solve any problem here, just want to get a baseline.  I drew the water from the line after my sediment filter.  I'll post numbers (and seek advice) once I get that report.  In many ways, I'm looking for new ways to improve my brewing.  (I think I've about everything)