Ask the Expert

Ask the Expert: Blue Fountain Water

By From page C11 | March 28, 2014

When River Water Hits our Taps

Special to The Enterprise

Q. Will I still need a water softener when we switch over to river water in a few years?

A. Davis currently has 20 wells that supply water to our community. When Sacramento River water becomes our source of water, most of the wells will no longer be used. River water has far less calcium and magnesium (hardness minerals) in it than the wells, our water hardness level should drop substantially.

Davis water currently ranges from 4 grains of hardness to 43 grains. Three to 7 grains of hardness is considered “hard water”, 7 to 10.5 grains is “very hard” and above 10.5 grains is “extremely hard” water. With some exceptions, the well you are nearest will generally determine how hard your water is. Davis will continue to use several deep wells that will be blended with river water.

The goal is to have water in the 6 to 8 grains of hardness range. If you currently receive 4 grains of hardness, your water will become harder. If you currently have water above 8 grains, your water will become less hard. Keep in mind, the goal of 6 to 8 grains will be water that is in the “hard” to “very hard” range. During extended droughts, we may not have full access to river water, so it is entirely possible the current wells will need to be turned back on. The hardness levels may then go back to current levels.

Q. Will you still need a water softener in the future?

A. Our opinion is yes, but you will be able to adjust the softener to use much lower amounts of salt and create less wastewater than it does now. Water that is currently 21 grains of hardness provides 3 pounds of calcium for every 1000 gallons of water used. Future water will provide 1 pound of calcium for every 1000 gallons of water used. Hard water problems will still occur, just not as quickly. Bring in one water sample to Blue Fountain Water to test your water hardness for free.

Q. What other changes will river water bring?

A. According to the 2012 City of Davis water report, chromium 6, boron, nitrates, manganese, arsenic, lead and radon are just a few of the problems present in some of the wells that provide water to the city. River water will reduce or eliminate these contaminants from our water supply. The question is, what new contaminants will the river water bring with it?

The City of West Sacramento has been drawing from and treating this same water for a long time now. Perhaps they might have some idea what to expect. According to their 2012 annual water quality report, contaminants in source water may include:

Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria that may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operation, and wildlife.

Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, that can be naturally-occurring or result from urban storm runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming.

Pesticides and herbicides that may come from a variety of sources such as agricultural application, urban storm water runoff, and residential uses.

Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals that are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production and can also come from gas stations, urban storm water runoff, agricultural application, and septic systems.

Radioactive contaminants that can be naturally-occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.


Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their healthcare providers.

Emerging contaminants such as pharmaceuticals, detergents, shampoo and deodorant chemicals are also very much a part of the river water. Since there are no Federal or State requirements in force yet to require removal or reduction of these problems, plan on enjoying them in every glass of water you drink in the future. A reverse osmosis filtration system will provide extremely safe water for your family now and in the future. A whole house filter can be installed to further protect from chloramines that will be added to the water to “disinfect” the water. For more information on these filtering systems visit:





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