Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 11-13-2009, 02:11 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,104
Floating white particles in my tap water

My tap water seems to have some kind of white particles suspended in it. When I pour a glass of water (that has passed through a Brita filter as well), the white particles seem to settle near the bottom of the glass (but tend to float just above the bottom of the glass). They kind of look like flecks of undissolved kosher salt. What could they be? My apartment building is quite old (built in the 1920s) so I assume the plumbing is pretty old as well (if that helps identify anything).

Google search has turned up a few possible sources, including calcium. Is there any way to check?
#2
Old 11-13-2009, 02:13 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 845
A couple years back there were people in NW Omaha with similar issues with their water.

Seems someone had misrouted a sewage line into the water main in that area and the white particles - toilet paper.

Not kidding.
#3
Old 11-13-2009, 02:15 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 375
Does it only happen for cold water or hot water, or both? When I run hot water, I always seem to get cloudy looking water that turns clear shortly after. My water doesn't have particles suspended in it though.
#4
Old 11-13-2009, 02:18 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,104
I also forgot to mention, the particles only seem to appear when I use ice cubes so I assume they are indeed coming from the ice. Although I use the Brita filter for my ice cubes too.
#5
Old 11-13-2009, 02:27 PM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Bedrock
Posts: 26,079
I'm not sure how a Brita works. Do you need to replace the filtering mechanism/medium from time to time?

If you're using Brita water for ice can we assume you're making it with aluminum or plastic trays and don't have an icemaker? These trays, do you run them through the dishwasher? Could there be detergent or some other residual left on them?

Is there a water softener somewhere in the supply line?

Last edited by lieu; 11-13-2009 at 02:29 PM.
#6
Old 11-13-2009, 02:37 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 3,687
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandonR View Post
I also forgot to mention, the particles only seem to appear when I use ice cubes so I assume they are indeed coming from the ice. Although I use the Brita filter for my ice cubes too.
I'd guess it's based on the temperature, not specifically from the ice (unless your ice maker is sloughing off plastic or something). My first guess would have been calcium carbonate, but that is actually more soluble at lower temperatures. But it's probably some salt coming out of solution. Do you have particularly hard water? Assuming you are on a city water system, they probably provide yearly reports on the water quality, and you could check the total dissolved solids level.

Try heating some water with the particles and see if they disappear - that suggests they are some kind of salt. If there's no change, then it might be something like plastic (or god forbid toilet paper) contaminating your water.
#7
Old 11-13-2009, 02:44 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,104
Quote:
Originally Posted by lieu View Post
I'm not sure how a Brita works. Do you need to replace the filtering mechanism/medium from time to time?
I believe it's just a carbon filter that does get replaced from time to time. I'm using plastic ice trays and generally I just clean them by soaking them in bleach and rinsing them thoroughly every so often. No clue what kind of water conditioning goes into the building.

I live in Indianapolis so here seems to be the latest report: http://indianapoliswater.com/ass...IW_CCR_Web.pdf Of course deciphering it is another thing.

Regarding it seeming to come from ice, I did come across this possible answer: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/in...7121642AAxly8N

And I will flip out if I've been drinking toilet paper water.

Last edited by BrandonR; 11-13-2009 at 02:46 PM.
#8
Old 11-13-2009, 03:02 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 3,687
From that report you linked to:
Quote:
As is common with water in this region, IW water is considered hard due to the natural levels of the minerals calcium and magnesium.
I'm guessing that's the cause.
#9
Old 11-13-2009, 03:05 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tysons Corner, VA, USA
Posts: 11,495
In our house we had a defective dip tube in our water heater (and were part of a class action lawsuit to resolve). It failed prematurely, depositing a plethora of tiny bits of white plastic into our water supply. It sounds like what you describe but I can't imagine how it would get through a water filter.

You can also check other faucets to see if it is there. Unscrew the aereator from the faucet and see if the screen is trapping the same little bits you see in your glass. This stuff can also mess up valves.

If you rent your landlord needs to take care of this.
#10
Old 11-13-2009, 03:07 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,104
Cool. I'll try to heat some water tonight to see if the particles disappear. If they do, does it pretty much mean I'm safe?
#11
Old 11-13-2009, 03:07 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Houston
Posts: 14,073
We have that, too, and we have very hard water in Houston. I think it's some kind of mineral (or maybe salt.) If you leave some melted ice out until it all evaporates, there will be a residue in the bottom of the glass. I've been drinking it for years, and I ain't dead yet!

Last edited by Dolores Reborn; 11-13-2009 at 03:08 PM.
#12
Old 11-13-2009, 03:10 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Wisconsin USA
Posts: 16,843
I have the same mineral problem with the ice cubes. You can even see it on the ice cubes if they have been in the tray a couple days. I just leave the last half inch of ice water in the glass, not that it would be dangerous to drink.
#13
Old 11-13-2009, 03:15 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 3,687
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandonR View Post
Cool. I'll try to heat some water tonight to see if the particles disappear. If they do, does it pretty much mean I'm safe?
It means it's very likely just the hardness of the water. Hard water is not considered a health threat, and in fact is thought to contribute necessary calcium and magnesium to the diet. Don't sweat it.
#14
Old 11-13-2009, 04:31 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Richland
Posts: 965
Based on the water analysis of the City of Indianapolis water supply my first guess would be calcium carbonate (a previous poster had incorrectly stated the solubility relationship as the carbonate is ~1/2 as soluble at 20 degrees C as it is at 100 degrees C). I can't be certain since 1) calcium is one of two metals measured by hardness (magnesium being the other) and the actual concentrations of calcium and magnesium cannot be determined unless one of these metals is measured separately and 2) carbonate concentration could be estimated by both alkalinity (not reported) and pH. The data does show that your water would be classified as relatively hard. It may also be possible that your aparatment has a water softener and the white crystals that you are observing could be sodium chloride (which is also much less soluble at lower temperatures) since the calcium/magnesium is replaced with sodium and carbonate/sulfate replaced with chloride in the softener. In any case, I would agree that the phenomenon that you are observing is caused by the decrease in temperature associated with adding the ice cubes. BTW, neither calcium carbonate or sodium chloride (obviously) would pose any toxicity related issues.
#15
Old 11-13-2009, 04:35 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,104
Well I would have to say your username just oozes authority on the topic. Thanks.
#16
Old 11-13-2009, 04:37 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 18,762
Yep, we had the same problem when our water softener wasn't activated. Since we turned it on, the floaties have gone away.
#17
Old 11-13-2009, 06:34 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 3,687
Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterman View Post
...the carbonate is ~1/2 as soluble at 20 degrees C as it is at 100 degrees C
Waterman, can you point me toward a link for a solubility chart? I've always heard calcium carbonate is less soluble at higher temperatures, and there are scattered links that say that without backup(here, here and here, for example).

Are we talking about different compounds, or am I reading something wrong?
#18
Old 11-13-2009, 07:43 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,334
Fish jizz.
#19
Old 11-14-2009, 01:08 AM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Richland
Posts: 965
Quote:
Originally Posted by TroutMan View Post
Waterman, can you point me toward a link for a solubility chart? I've always heard calcium carbonate is less soluble at higher temperatures, and there are scattered links that say that without backup(here, here and here, for example).

Are we talking about different compounds, or am I reading something wrong?
Lange's Handbook of Chemistry:

http://amazon.com/Langes-Handboo...8178623&sr=1-1

and the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics:

http://amazon.com/CRC-Handbook-C...8178524&sr=1-1

I think you may be confusing calcium carbonate (which has a more normal solubility curve where solubility increases with temperature) with calcium sulfate. Calcium carbonate is sometimes referred to as "soft scale" and the sulfate is "hard scale". The sulfate is the normal scale associated with hot water heaters, etc.

Hope this helps!
#20
Old 08-19-2014, 06:19 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 5
It's most likely a salt (lime, magnesium, calcium, etc) that is fully dissolved at Brita temperature and precipitates at 32f.
Even a sub-micron particle intercept filter will not remove a dissolved particle. (can't remove sugar from water with a coffee filter, right?) You need an R.O. or better - dialysis will do it as well as evaporation/distillation.

Watch the ice melt in the clearest glass container you have. (Fill it with room temp water first) You can see the particles shed from the ice, fall to the bottom, and then in about an hour these particles will re-dissolve into the warming water.

It's all edible, if not desirable.
#21
Old 09-22-2016, 09:21 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 1
White Particles in Water

We use well water where I live here in Pennsylvania. I've recently been finding the white particles in my water, also. It does seem to only appear when I freeze it. We definitely have hard water here, but our new refrigerator has a filter built in it, and we also have a water filter in the basement. So, even though the water is being filtered by 2 filters, I'm still finding the white stuff. Is this for the same reason as the city tap water? Because of the calcium? I like my water real cold, so I like to freeze it for the convenience of taking it with me when I leave the house, but at this point, I'm not so sure I want to drink it at all. I've seen what this hard water does to my dishes, sinks, and bathtubs. It's not pretty! I hate to think of what it may be doing inside my body.
#22
Old 09-22-2016, 09:41 PM
Robot Mod in Beta Testing
Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 19,929
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darla121060 View Post
I've seen what this hard water does to my dishes, sinks, and bathtubs. It's not pretty! I hate to think of what it may be doing inside my body.
Actually, it's probably not doing your body any harm and may in fact be more healthy for you.

According to the National Institute of Health, hard water has no known adverse health effects. Your body has protection mechanisms built into your intestines which prevent you from ingesting too much calcium, so you don't need to worry about that. On the other hand, the NIH notes that drinking water that is high in both magnesium and sulfates can have a bit of a laxative effect. High calcium levels in your drinking water may also contribute to the formation of some types of kidney stones, so if you are prone to calcium oxalate stones (like I am) you might want to avoid drinking hard water that has high levels of calcium compounds.

So, as long as it's not giving you the squirts and you're not prone to kidney stones, it's probably not doing anything bad to you.

In fact, hard water is thought to possibly protect you somewhat from cardiovascular disease and some types of cancers, but this is far from proven at this point

More info here:

Potential Health Impacts of Hard Water
http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3775162/
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:08 AM.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: angel mcdaniel punctuation et al dune sand trout morello cherry recipes blowjob gesture snapple owner 70s show charlie jacob's ladder electrical vonage 2nd line dechu japanese cashiers check cancel flaccid pronunciation high credit html small caps bastard daughter military klick busty actresses death throe minimum compensation requirement fine ground beef sedating a cat wilco military scald scars pimple for months roof soffits brain tacos transplanting magnolia mp3 alarm clock chassis wiring definition hot construction guys eat glue oolong tea decaffeinated no hippie chick the venture brothers dr girlfriend can you mail a letter without a name signing in youtube with google minnesota twins tc logo geronimo jumping off a cliff garbage disposal just hums not jammed splitting rent with a couple can dogs eat brown sugar u channel molding home depot what vegetable goes with meatloaf saturday night live drool cup toilet fills up and drains slowly size on disk smaller than size two alarm fire definition why does laertes go to france should hvac fan be on auto or on po box zip code why do warehouse workers move heavy boxes around on carts with wheels? fake bill of sale needs of many outweigh needs of few 24 hour fitness family membership what do you do at a green light what do the lyrics to lady marmalade mean six million dollar man deathprobe vietnam 2 step snake alternator draining battery when car is off why does my trailer sway back and forth how to clean a burnt non stick pan how do ancient cities get buried bought a vehicle with no title remove just for men