What's in Your Water? Pt. 2

By Hema Mullur
NewsWest 9

The results are in. 

Tuesday night we told you why West Texas water may taste so bad, but can it be bad for you?
We had our water tested and some things in it may surprise you.

Though it's filtered several times before it gets to your tap, what is your water bringing with it?
To find out, we brought our water to AquaFuzion.

"I would be hard pressed to find somebody go, 'Oh, I love Midland water' or 'I love Odessa water'," said Matt Alderson, the president of the company.

So we put our water to the test.  The first:  hardness.

"We're going to take this chemical, and we're going to add 5 drops into every container," Alderson showed us.  "If the water turns pink that means its hard.  So Big Spring water is hard.  Midland Water is hard.  Odessa water is hard.  And just to show you that the tests do work, our water is soft."

Okay, so everyone knows the water is hard, but how hard?

"The water is measured in grains per gallon.  A grain is simply a measurement of weight in water," said Alderson.  "Anything less than one grain per gallon is considered soft.  Anything over 10.5 grains per gallon is considered very hard water."

Our results:  Big Spring, 45 grains hard.  Midland, 46 grains hard.  And Odessa, 51 grains hard.

The next test, for chlorine.

"These are really high levels of chlorine," he showed us on a chart.  "So you definitely don't want to be in the green or the blue area.  According to the city water, and it kind of matches up with this test right here, we average about 3 parts per million.  The EPA actually allows up to 4 parts per million.  Most pools are going to have about 1.5 to 2."

That's right.  Tap water that has more chlorine than a swimming pool.

"You can actually absorb as much chlorine taking a 15 minute shower as drinking 8 glasses of water," Alderson said.

If that hasn't gotten your attention.

"This is a chemical that is going to draw out the impurities in the water.  Water after it's gone through a filtration process, aside from the yellow dye that we added in there, the water is crystal clear," he demonstrated.

But our samples were anything but.

"These are your hardness substances, which are calcium, magnesium, and iron, aluminum, copper," Alderson pointed out.  "This is basically everything that your water would pick up and carry with it."

And you won't believe just how much "stuff" there is.

"Anything that's not water.  Primarily its your natural salts, things like that," he said.
But our samples.

Big Spring.  We have 945 parts per million of stuff in the water that's not water.
Midland water, 946, Odessa water, 869, Filtered water, 5.

"You want your water to be between 0 and 50 parts per million," Alderson says.  "100-200 is considered hard water.  200-400 ppm is the average tap water in the US and what the EPA considers marginally acceptable.  400 to 500 is high TDS.  Anything over 500 ppm, the U.S. EPA does not recommend you drink."

But here, the EPA allows up to 1000 parts per million.   Okay for us, but not for the rest of the U.S.

"If you went to Burger King and you ordered it your way and you got the special sauce and the kid hands you the burger and he says, 'I put 946 things in here and I have no idea what they are,' would you take a bite of that burger?"

Though one sip may not kill you, what about drinking it every day for the rest of your life?
We ask a doctor about the health effects of some of the things in our water, and we'll tell you how West Texas water affects your wallet as well. 

That's Thursday night on NewsWest 9 at 10.