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Removing Temporary Hardness - Fail


I treated some water a few weeks back with slaked lime in an effort to reduce my bicarbonate levels.  I'm getting sick of buying and transporting large amounts of RO water from the store.

I finally got my Ward Labs report back. Very strange to say the least. Like Fallrun, I've listed my base water first, then the water treated with slaked lime:

Treatment Comparison : (Pre -> Post)
PH : 7.7 -> 10.1
Sodium, Na: 16 -> 152 ( idea what happened here. Must have something to do with my water softener which I though I'd bypassed)
Potassium, K : 11 -> 2
Calcium, Ca : 54 -> 2
Magnesium, Mg: 21 -> <1
Total Hardness, CaCO3 : 223 -> 5
Sulfate, SO4-S : 2 -> 7
Chloride, Cl : 3 -> 2
Carbonate, CO3 : <1 -> 89
Bicarbonate, HCO3 : 297 -> 208
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 : 244 -> 319

I would say this is very much alike the results FallRun (from the NB forum) got with his treatment.

My calculations are showing the RA of the "treated" water to be 168. While my untreated water is 192.

What gives? With how much chalk was pushed out of solution, I'd have expected much better results.  I guess one positive is that I completely consumed all of the calcium in the process of forming chalk.  Maybe next time I just need more calcium?

Any ideas?

Your results show some consistencies, but there are other values that seem "odd."  It makes sense that the pH would change, but just adding lime should not drop all your other ions.  The reaction, for example, has little to do with Cl or SO4, but you see the results change.   This makes me question a few things. I would question the following :

a) how many samples did the Ward Labs test?  
b) the Clark process only affects carbonate.  However, adding sodium carbonate (or creating substantial side reactions) could start affecting Na and Mg levels.  I would be surprised at the levels you have measured of Na, however, just from a lime process.

You may want to investigate, what temperature you did things at and how much mixing was involved, the time length for reaction, etc. If all else fails, you may want to talk to the manufacturer and get a "tech" chemist on the phone.

Also note that commercial quicklime has other impurities (silica, iron, alumina, etc).  If adding lime, I would want to make sure it is a pretty high purity grade source..For example, I wouldn't just use the stuff from the garden center....otherwise you may be changing alkalinity, but adding other things you really don't want to ingest.  You may want to look at whether these are in your water before you use it.   My suggestion whenever testing water is to look for results from three samples.  

Best of luck and brewing to you!

Your water report is for water coming out of the water softener.  A water softener removes the hardness by removing the Calcium and Magnesium and replaces it with a high level of salt (>100-150ppm).  I sent in samples of both the 'softened' water (on the water softener side of the plumbing) and a sample of the 'hard' water prior to the softener (outside water spigots are normally not plumbed to be after the softener, plus I have a hard water drinking faucet plumbed to my kitchen sink). I do not brew with the 'softened' water because of the high levels of sodium (Na) in the water.  Like you, I spend a lot of time filling bottles at the Reverse Osmosis station at the store.

Any chance you used lye instead of lime?

I suggest you to get a GH&KH water test kit. This will save you the cost of sending reports to ward labs even though it will not be as detailed. But knowing your base water and knowing what should change, it should be good enough to verify the results.



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