pH in Drinking Water
pH in Drinking Water
What is pH in drinking water?
The pH level of your drinking water reflects how acid
ic it is. pH stands for “potential of hydrogen,”
referring to the amount of hydrogen found in a substance (in this case, water). pH is measured on a
scale that runs from 0 to 14. Seven is neutral, meaning there is a balance between acid and
alkalinity. A measurement below 7 means acid is
present and a measurement above 7 is basic (or
What are the health effects of pH?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does
not regulate the pH level in drinking water. It
is classified as a secondary drinking water contaminant whose impact is considered aesthetic.
However, the EPA recommends that public water systems maintain pH levels of between 6.5 and
8.5, a good guide for individual well owners.
Water with a low pH can be acidic, naturally soft
and corrosive. Acidic water can leach metals from
pipes and fixtures, such as copper, lead and zinc.
It can also damage metal pipes and cause aesthetic
problems, such as a metallic or sour taste, laundry staining or blue-green stains in sinks and drains.
Water with a low pH may contain metals in addition to the before-mentioned copper, lead and
Drinking water with a pH level above 8.5 indicates that a high level of alkalinity minerals are
present. High alkalinity does not pose a health risk, but can cause aesthetic problems, such as an
alkali taste to the water that makes coffee taste
bitter; scale build-up in plumbing; and lowered
efficiency of electric water heaters.
If your water is acidic (less than 7 pH) you may have problems with leaching of
copper and lead from your plumbing. Consider testing for copper and lead if the pH test shows your
water is highly acidic. If testing indicates that your water has a high pH, consider testing for
alkalinity and hardness as well, as these
can be associated with high pH water.
For more information about pH in drinking water:
Check out the link: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Secondary Drinking Water Standards.
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