MadSci Network: Environment & Ecology

Re: Well water testing interpretation

Date: Thu Oct 9 16:35:14 2003
Posted By: Tony Gaglierd, Assistant Professor , Natural Science and Engineering Technology
Area of science: Environment & Ecology
ID: 1063861455.En

Hi Paula Jo. You asked several questions about silica in you well water. 
Let me answer them one at a time.

Your lab analysis showed 95 ppm of silica. According the US Geologic 
Survey the ranges of silica commonly found in water are from 1  30 ppm. 
Concentrations up to 100 ppm are not infrequent in some areas. Higher 
concentrations are found in ground water and are related to rock type and 

Silica concentrations in water samples collected and stored in glass 
bottles may increase owing to solution of the glass.

Silica is undesirable in high concentrations in cooling waters and 
particularly high-pressure boilers where it can form an insulating scale 
on the boiler tubes. When the stream is used to spin turbines to produce 
power or electricity. The silica volatilizes with the steam and then 
condenses on the turbine blades.

There are various methods for removing silica from water. Four your 
situation an ion exchange system would be used. Not a softer though but a 
combination anion and cation exchanger called a demineralizer. What it 
would do is take all the minerals out of the water including the silica. 
Basically make distilled water. This water would be very aggressive and 
corrode you plumbing unless it was all plastic. If you wanted to for 
drinking purposes you could use a sink top unit either a demineralizer or 
a reverse osmosis system just to treat you drinking water.

In concentrations found in natural and treated waters, silica or silicates 
appear to have caused no adverse health effects.

I hope I have answered you questions with crystal clarity.

Thanks for writing to the Mad Sci Network.

Study and Interpratation of the Chemical Characteristics of Natural Water 
NALCO Water handbook

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