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Re: Low pH

Jason Daniels wrote:
> Thanks for your input. Something I should clarify which I found most
> baffling is the relationship between pH and hardness. My kits are
> telling me the hardness is > 300 ppm (which I'm treating with softening
> pillows) while the pH is about 4.5. I was always under the impression
> that a high hardness resulted in more basic water. This juxstaposition
> of of pH and hardness values is what I find confusing. Chemistry is not
> my first field of study. Am I wrong in this assumption or is there
> something else I'm overlooking?

There is no chemical relationship between hardness and pH.  Typically high
hardness does come along with high pH, but that is only a sort of
statistical relationship and there are lots of exceptions.  It appears
from your test results that you have extremely hard water with no 
buffering and so a low pH.  My tap water is the opposite; it has very 
little hardness, but a lot of buffering capacity and comes out of the tap 
with a pH of about 7.8.
> As far as the 'natural rocks' go, most of the orniments are sedimentary
> sandstones and limestone. Some slate and quartz. A few have trace
> amounts of iron. The substarite is made up of primarily carbonatious
> rock, as best as I can determine. 

Pyrite could be found in sandstone, limestone or slate, but probably only
if these were mined or quarried stone.  If you have a significant amount
of limestone either in the stone or the substrate, then that should
prevent the low pH readings you're reporting and I would have to wonder
about your pH test kit. 

> With respect to the buffering capacity of the water, I've been using it
> for several years without incident. We have excellent water where I
> live, slighltly acidic (about 6.5) with mild chlorination as a
> contaminant trace. Ozonation is the primary disinfectant.

I would consider any pH drop to 4.5 to be an "incident."  You need to get 
a kit to test your buffer capacity, or contact your water supplier for 
that information.  The test kit you need would be for either 
"alkalinity" or "carbonate hardness" - either will measure your buffering 
capacity.  If you get information from your water supplier, look for 
or ask for the alkalinity.

If you have much alkalinity (say, more than a degree KH, or about 20 ppm) 
then probably your pH kit is giving you bad results.

Roger Miller