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Water minerals explained

Photo Illustration/File
Photo Illustration/File

In the May 30 issue of Keizertimes, Keizer resident Mary Copeland had a letter to the editor asking why her water “often has enough minerals in it to discolor clothing, leave residue on glasses and sometimes emit an unpleasant odor.”

Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, was asked about the issue. In turn, Lawyer forwarded information from Pat Taylor, Water Quality and Source supervisor for the city. The information from Taylor is included in Keizer’s annual Consumer Confidence Report.

“Keizer gets its water from deep wells,” Taylor wrote. “Well water has natural minerals which can cause staining. The yellow or orange color stain is mostly caused by iron whereas the blue or black stains are caused by manganese. These minerals are common in ground water.

“To help with reducing staining in laundry we recommend you minimize or eliminate bleach which actually draws out the iron and suspends it in water making staining worse. For dishwasher staining try running a cycle with a citrus-based packet of drink mix or a tablet form detergent. Glasses are going to spot stain but you can help with a rinse additive and there are some products on the market that will help with that.”

Taylor also had an explanation for the odor.

“Rotten egg or sulfur smell in cold water is caused by the tubes located under the sinks,” he wrote. “The water that sits in this supply line section of plastic line causes a reaction leading to this odor sometimes. Replacing these supplies lines with copper or chrome metal will eliminate this. If the odor is in the hot water you should replace your standard magnesium or aluminum anode rod in the hot water tank with an aluminum/zinc alloy rod. There are other things to consider if you soften your water. More information can be found at”