Culligan Blog

Notorious Nitrates

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Nitrates can be found in drinking water supplies near agricultural runoff.Nitrate contamination can be found in rural communities all over the US.

It's an issue in California, and grabbing headlines in Minnesota and Iowa.

Nitrates, as described by the EPA, are "nitrogen-oxygen chemical units which combine with various organic and inorganic compounds." Unfortunately, those combinations can be dangerous, and must be taken very seriously if an individual well or area has a history of nitrate contamination.

Globally, the main man made use for nitrates is for fertilization. When nitrates are not completely absorbed by the soil or the crops, excess can often find itself in groundwater and surface water supplies, which are in turn used in residential drinking water systems. With that said, homes near major agricultural centers should be on high alert for spikes in nitrate contamination. (Despite its intended use, nitrates are tasteless and odorless.)

Households who believe they may have high levels of nitrates in their water should invest in a test by a water professional, and then turn their attention to solving that issue.

When it comes to home water filtration, there are two major categories: point-of-use (POU) and point-of-entry (POE). A POU solution can be found in a filtration option like reverse osmosis (RO) technology, which can often been seen installed under kitchen and bathroom sinks. Reverse osmosis uses pressure and semi-permeable membranes that can reduce water pollutants, like nitrates, up to 99%.

A POE system recommended for families with high nitrate problems would be a Culligan Nitrate Reduction Conditioner. Want to know more specifics? Ask the Culligan Man for help.


Culligan International Celebrates Official Opening of Facility Expansion

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Culligan recently celebrated the Official Opening of the Libertyville facility expansion on Tuesday, July 16. The facility expansion boasts 217,000 square feet of space for engineering, manufacturing and assembling water treatment solutions. Approximately 75,000 square feet is dedicated solely to manufacturing which is triple the capacity of Culligan's previous facility.

The ribbon cutting ceremony hosted 280 guests including Dan Seals, Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and Terry Weppler, Mayor, Libertyville, Illinois. For more information on the facility expansion and the event, please visit Culligan Matrix Solutions.

A Hard Look at Hard Water

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Hard water can cause scaling in your pipes.Hard water may not sound as ominous as iron, or as formidable as arsenic. But your hair, skin, plumbing and appliances may not exactly agree with that assessment.  In fact, almost anything that uses water on a regular basis can suffer if hard water is in the equation, and that is an all too common headache for well water users.

For water to be considered hard, it must have a high volume of "hard" minerals, including calcium and magnesium. The level of hardness is measured in grains per gallon (gpg) or milligrams per liter (mg/L). Water that registers between 0-1 gpg is considered soft; moderately hard water reads at 3.5-7 gpg; and any water with gpg over 7 is classified hard to very hard.

Unfortunately, only about 15 percent of the water in the United States falls into that soft category, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.   So if you thought your water had won the elemental lottery, the odds are not in your favor.

Untreated hard water can lead to:

  • Dry skin and hair
  • Clogged pipes and scaling
  • Staining on bathroom and kitchen surfaces
  • Decreased efficiency in water-using appliances, including dishwashers and water heaters
  • Shortened lifespan of laundry, including clothing and towels

This problem luckily has a very tried-and-true solution: water softening. Culligan's water softener was first envisioned in 1936 when Emmett Culligan, the namesake of the worldwide water treatment brand, needed to safely wash his newborn's cloth diapers. Necessity was the mother (or in this case, the father) of invention, and today an entire industry is devoted to treating problem water.

Water is softened when a "soft" mineral like sodium replaces the calcium and magnesium, in a process called an "ion exchange." This exchange is facilitated by resin and zeolite in the mineral tank of the softener, which attracts the calcium and magnesium as the water passes through. The sodium ions then replace those hard minerals thanks to a brine solution. The result is soft water, and everyone rejoices.

Skin itchy after a shower? Towels always feeling scratchy? Clothes fading faster than ever? Hard water could be hiding in your water supply. 

Good thing the Culligan Man has the soft touch. 



Arsenic: A Silent Water Warrior

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Arsenic in water is tasteless and odorless. Learn how arsenic can end up in your water and what you can do to reduce it.If iron and its cohorts are personified as a gang, consider arsenic a ninja.

Tasteless. Odorless. Damaging.

Arsenic may sound like the poison of choice for a sinister James Bond-type villain, but it should also be of concern for private well water owners. In fact, the James Bond analogy is not that far off given the consequences of excessive arsenic contamination. The Natural Resources Defenses Council (NRDC) lists multiple forms of cancer and skin damage among the very worst effects of prolonged exposure to incredibly high levels of arsenic.

As a contaminant, it can occur naturally in soil and plants, or be found in industrial applications.

According to the EPA, "[a]pproximately 90 percent of industrial arsenic in the U.S. is currently used as a wood preservative, but arsenic is also used in paints, dyes, metals, drugs, soaps and semi-conductors. High arsenic levels can also come from certain fertilizers and animal feeding operations. Industry practices such as copper smelting, mining and coal burning also contribute to arsenic in our environment…"

On top of its multiple sources, arsenic is found in many forms. The two most common of those variations are arsenic +3 and arsenic +5. Arsenic +3 is actually the more toxic of the pair, but a process called chemical speciation is needed to determine the difference between the two.

Arsenic continues to be a master of deception, and also has more than one way to find its way into private well systems. Most frequently, natural deposits in the earth can bleed into underground aquifers. Groundwater supplies in Minneapolis, Minnesota for instance can have very high readings of arsenic in part due to its location on a glacial path. In British Columbia, arsenic-containing bedrock formations are to be blamed.

What nature starts, pesticides, herbicides and agricultural/industrial runoff can finish. That runoff becomes particularly aggressive during the spring, after snow melts and rains cause low-level flooding. Groundwater can then be an unsuspecting highway for arsenic transportation as it dumps into wells, both private and municipal.

People worried about arsenic should first invest in a test. The Culligan man specializes in targeting and neutralizing clans of contaminants like the arseninja…we mean arsenic.  If arsenic is found in a water source, a Culligan Whole House Arsenic Reduction Filter can offer peace of mind from these unseen water warriors. 

Remember, the Culligan Man is only one click or call away and can be at your home faster than a throwing star.