Water Hardness

What is Hard Water?

The hardness of water refers to the amount of calcium and magnesium and up to six other minerals in the water. These minerals can make cleaning with the water “hard” or difficult. This is because hard water does not create suds or lather very well. Hard water can also leave white deposits or scale on dishes.

Water that does not contain very much calcium or magnesium is called “soft” water.

As water travels over or through the ground, it dissolves these naturally occurring minerals. Generally, ground water, or water from wells, tends to have more minerals such as calcium or magnesium. This is because the water is exposed to the minerals longer. Surface water, or water from reservoirs, tends to be softer because it has less contact with the minerals.

How hard is Cheyenne's water?

Cheyenne's water is generally soft but can cross into moderately hard depending on how much water we are using from wells. (See the scale below). On average, approximately 75 percent of Cheyenne’s water comes from reservoirs and 25 percent from wells. Also, Cheyenne's water treatment plant removes some of the minerals that cause hard water.

Cheyenne's drinking water contains approximately 70 milligrams of calcium carbonate per 1 liter of water (mg/L) or approximately 4.1 grains of hardness. Depending on which wells and how many wells the water treatment operators are using, hardness can vary between 50 to 80 mg/L. Water containing less than 75 mg/L, or about 4.5 grains, is classified as “soft.”

 

Water Hardness Scale

 

Should I get a water softener?

Deciding whether or not to install or use a water softener in Cheyenne is a matter of personal preference. When making the decision, consider the following:

  • Once the softener is installed, it will require routine maintenance and be replenished with salt. If not maintained properly, the softener can become a source of harmful bacteria or unwanted tastes/odors.
  • Many softeners exchange minerals with salt. Salt is difficult to remove from water and makes the water less conducive to other uses downstream.