Hard water wastes soap and detergents, forms scale and deposits, and clogs pipes, water heaters, and other water using appliances. 0 gpg = Soft Water, 1-2 gpg = Slightly Hard, 3-6 gpg = Moderately Hard, 6-9 gpg = Hard Water, 10+ gpg = Extremely Hard
E.P.A recommends under 4.0 mg/L of Chlorine. Pools are ideal at 1 to 3 mg/L, you wouldn't want to go out to a swimming pool and take a drink. Too much chlorine causes eye, nose, and skin irritation, and could possibly cause stomach discomfort. Chlorine can be absorbed via your skin causing more frequent psoriasis or eczema flare-ups.
TDS = Total Dissolved Solids is the total of minerals dissolved in the water such as calcium and lime. Calcium and lime come naturally from the water source and through the water treatment process. A high TDS of 1500 or more would be more like a brackish water source.
The E.P.A. recommends under 0.3 ppm of Iron. Over 0.3 ppm of Iron will cause red staining on outside walls and sidewalks, pool areas, gardens, and more. This occurs when iron oxidizes with oxygen/air. White clothes get a dingy pink color to them and tubs and toilets get dingy pink rings and stains.
With Acidic water (a pH 6.9 or lower) your water becomes corrosive to copper pipes and fixtures. Ice and hair become a bluish green color. Alkaline water with a high pH is currently being sold in health stores as a way of cleansing your body. Household plumbing and appliances should have pH Neutral water. 7.0 = Neutral Water, < 7.0 = Acidic Water, > 7.0 = Alkaline Water
Turbidity is the measure of the amount of light absorbed by water caused by insoluble particles that are suspended in water. It can be caused by inorganic substances such as sand or clay, as well as organic substances such as bacteria or plant matter. Turbidity generally has no health effects, though higher levels have been associated with some disease-causing microorganisms which may cause headaches, nausea, cramps, and diarrhea.
Tannic acid causes a yellow/brownish tint in the water. Tannic acid is caused from decaying organic matter in the water such as tree leaves.
The E.P.A recommends under 0.05 ppm in water. Over 0.05 ppm of manganese causes brown/blackish stains on plumbing fixtures and clothes.
Water with sulfur has a rotten egg smell. Sulfur can corrode pipes, and cause blackish stains on plumbing fixtures, bathrooms, and clothes.
While coliforms such as Escherichia (E. coli) are able to survive long enough outside of water to be detected, other disease-causing bacteria cannot. Coliforms generally do not pose a danger to people or animals outside of the potential of food poisoning, however their presence is useful in indicating the presence of other disease-causing bacteria, such as those that cause typhoid, dysentery, hepatitis A, and cholera.
EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agree that there is no known safe level of lead in a child's blood. Lead is harmful to health, especially for children. Lead can enter drinking water when service pipes or fixtures that contain lead corrode due to water with a high acidity, most comonly from brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures with lead solder.
Nitrate is a compound that is formed naturally when nitrogen combines with oxygen or ozone. Nitrates are also formed through plants and animals, or released in smoke and industrial or automotive exhaust, which can then enter into drinking water supplies through the process of runoff or by direct contamination. The E.P.A recommends under 10 ppm of Nitrates. Nitrates over 10 ppm may be harmful for infants under 6 months.