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Water rates up, quality goes down!!

Original post made by Lee, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on May 20, 2010

I've been reading about the new water rates coming, and at the same time have noticed the quality of our water is going down!

I get it that we have more people in the Tri-Valley area, and the demands for water have gone up. But we are having the same quality control issues as last summer--sticky, white residue on dishes and glasses. Makes me shudder to think what is left on our hair and skin after a shower!!

After 14 years of residency and good water, I have concluded we need a water filtering system for our home now. On top of paying more for it, now I must pay for a system to make it healthy in our home! I'm not happy. Can anyone suggest which type of system I should check into?

Comments (12)

Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 20, 2010 at 11:41 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Probably one of the reasons for the water rates going up is because of the cost associated with the chemicals needed for removing nitrates from the water.

This news came out recently: Web Link and more at Web Link

"In the East Bay, the most significant concentrations have been found in the Livermore-Amador Valley, where at least seven public wells have had high levels of nitrates in recent years. That water is treated before it is delivered to customers."

Posted by DogTurd
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on May 20, 2010 at 9:18 pm

What is the white stuff in the water?

Posted by tennessee jed
a resident of Jensen Tract
on May 21, 2010 at 8:01 am

This discussion has been going on since the late 60' I remember. Then, the issue was phosphates in the water. Seems not much has change in the discourse. I have always used either a bottled water service, or, as is the case now, a R/O and filter system for the drinking and cooking. I have always referred to the Pleasanton water as "Bathing only solution" .

Want to find out how bad the water straight out of the tap is? Just take a sauce pan, put 1" of water from the tap, and boil it dry. If you have used an AllClad or similar profession quality pan, you might have to replace it. You wouldn't believe what was encrusted in the pan! Why would I even consider drinking it!...yuk

Posted by Lee
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2010 at 9:48 am

Thanks for the info. I have contacted Culligan water people, and they are going to test my water and show me options. Has anyone out there had a good experience with water systems? Which ones?

Posted by The Professor
a resident of Downtown
on May 21, 2010 at 9:57 am

Cloudy water occurs for a variety of reasons. You know what the most common reason is? Air bubbbles. This is more common in the winter when the water is cold, because the solubility of gasses increases as the temperature decreases. So, fill up a glass of water and then let it sit for 30 minutes. If the cloudy water turns clear, the air has come out of solution.

If that's not what's going on, then welcome to the water of the Tri-Valley area. This area sits on a large alluvial plane. That's why there are so many rock quaries around here. It is very porous, which means there is a lot of storage for ground water. We're fortunate to be able to tap into that source for some of our water needs, especially in the summer months. What it also means is that depending upon how much ground water we (the city) are using, our water may be extremely hard with lots of minerals, salts, and even fine grit in it. These minerals are actually good for you!

Finally, welcome to California's water system where we have to treat the crap (literally!) out of the water to ensure it is safe. Yeah, it might smell a little like chlorine, however, don't let people scare you: if you boil away a quart of water in a pan and you see a lot of residue, it is almost certainly mineral deposits, not nitrates or phosphates or pesticides. You can't see or taste the stuff that's harmful. (Isn't that a cheery thought!)

So, do what a lot of people do: get a software system (if your home/apartment is set up for one.) Then, get a reverse osmosis system to generate filtered (i.e. "pure") water for drinking. Just remember that most software systems use a lot of salt to get rid of the minerals, and this salt is not great for the enivironment either.

Posted by Donita
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 21, 2010 at 10:15 am

We just recently moved to Pleasanton. I was unpleasantly surprised at how bad and how expensive the water is here... We had EDMUD before - very good water at half the price.

Posted by Dave Ferguson
a resident of San Ramon
on May 21, 2010 at 3:07 pm

If you were to ask the City of Dublin or DSRSD (the water district in Dublin)if you could install a water softener, their answer would be "yes, but we would prefer you install a water conditioner". This is because a traditional water softener (note: this does not pertain to Culligans tank exchange) uses either sodium or potassium to process the water. VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: IF YOU INSTALL OR HAVE INSTALLED ONE OF THESE UNITS, IT MUST DISCHARGE THE WASTE INTO A SANITARY DRAIN LEGALLY. If it's discharge ends up in the storm drains, you could be faced with fines from the City in which you live, Zone 7 who polices our flood control, the EPA and lastly if a fish dies the Department of Fish and Game. Why would a City prefer you to have a conditioner? they do not use sodium or potassium, when sodium or potassium or put into the sanitary drains (again, where they are supposed to be) the water ends up at the sewage treatment plant where the municpality is reclaiming the water to water our parks and golf courses. I had a customer the other day whose water softener was discharging into her storm system that drained into the front lawn, about 10' from the gutter. The lawn was dead in a 2' square area from the sodium in the line, she is very lucky that the sodium in the water did not reach the gutter. PLEASE, if you have a company install a water softener, pull City permits from the City that you live. LASTLY: Water conditioners are allowed to discharge the water that is used for cleaning its carbon filter into gardens and storm drains, because only municipal water 'dirt' is being washed out and no added sodium, potassium or chemicals.
If i can assist you in any other way, don't hesitate to call.
Dave Ferguson, Mr. Rooter Plumbing of the Tri-Valley, (925)416-0966

Posted by Dave Ferguson
a resident of San Ramon
on May 21, 2010 at 3:23 pm

PS A 'good' reverse osmosis unit uses 3 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of clean water. (not very 'green')

Posted by M.
a resident of Downtown
on May 21, 2010 at 4:30 pm

M. is a registered user.

Yes, the water quality in so far as taste is rather shockingly low.
After a while I suppose we all get used to it. As The Professor stated the water is perfectly safe, and you get extra minerals form it, which is nice. Unfortunately it does play havoc on some appliances such as dishwashers, water lines and the like. The taste, well like I said I just eventual got used to it.

Posted by Jerry (20 years resident)
a resident of Birdland
on May 21, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Pleasanton water is a mix from the delta (ultimately from snow runoff) and from local wells. (Read the recent water quality guide if you are new to the area, or see Web Link Our winter use is typically low enough to avoid drawing from the wells.
The ongoing water "allocation" battles reduced Pleasanton's delta water, so this past winter we drew more from the wells. Well water typically contains calcium and other minerals, which leave a white residue on something air-dryed (but not towel-dryed). At least the ground below Pleasanton is low in iron. The well water here is tasty compared to that in the iron range. The residue there is almost pink (white mixed with red).
You should hand wash glassware to avoid spotting, or rinse them in something acidic (the anti-spotting packages do not work well here).
Use white vinegar or other safe acid solution to remove mineral deposits in coffee-makers and automatic dishwashers.
Water heaters may gurgle after a few years. Mineral cakes develop in the bottom, and cannot be removed (although annual flushing is helpful, but messy). The mineral cake absorbs the heat, so the water takes longer to get to temperature. The apparent result is less hot water. If you have to turn up the thermostat, it's too late. Replace.

Posted by Steve
a resident of Birdland
on May 21, 2010 at 11:06 pm

Conserve, conserve, conserve....Oh, wait, people don't use as much water anymore, our revenues are down, we need to raise rates to make up for the lower revenues. (Not that they would ever admit to that.)

Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2010 at 11:27 pm

What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

That residue you see after boiling the water is the same stuff you spend a small fortune on in daily vitamins. Its the mineral content of the water, Quite honestly, if you ever boiled dry a pot and there was nothing left there might be some cause for concern as to why the city is providing distilled water.

Can we drill wells in Pleasanton? I mean if I want to drill a well on my property to provide my house with water, can I do that?

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