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Mosquito Control in Potable Water Storage - Agnique MMF
It is difficult to find products to control mosquitos in potable water supplies. This product by Adapco/Fennimore Chemicals is currently the only one we are aware of. If you know of others please share the information with us (go to "Contacts") so we can pass the information on. Note: Mosquito Dunks are not cleared for use in potable water.
Mosquito Control for Non-Potable Water
pH and Your Water
pH is the term we use to indicate if something is acidic or basic. The scale for pH is 0 to 14 with 7 in the middle being neutral. A number below 7 is acidic and above 7 is basic. Drinking water is ideally between 6.5 and 8.5. It can be above or below those numbers and not be a health concern because our bodies maintain a pH equilirium, but once it starts getting too acidic or basic other problems can occur.
If the pH is low (acidic) it is not harmful to drink. However it can start leaching metals and other materials from your roof and catchment system that could be harmful or cause aesthetic issues. For example copper leaching from copper pipes can stain sinks bluish-green. Acidic water could leach out toxic metals into your water that could be harmful, like lead from lead nails and old lead based paints. Other anadotal concerns over low pH water is concerns for tooth enamel softening, but this has not been confirmed by research. You water can take on a metalic taste. Your soap won't lather as well.
If the pH is very high (basic) it is not harmful but it can make the water taste bad. Very basic water is usually filled with minerals and the water is called "Hard". It can make stains on clothing, dishware, create deposits on pipes and fixtures and even make your hair look dull. Also coffee will taste bitter. Scale build-up can be a problem in your pipes and the efficiency of electric water heaters can be reduced because of the scale build-up.
Testing for pH
You can use simple pH test strips or any kind of pH testing device as long as it covers the scale that you need. In other words if you think your water may be very acidic and the pH test you buy only reads down to 6.0, then you need to find a tester with a lower cale.
Raising the pH of your tank water
Rain is usually acidic so unless you have a concrete water tank (The calcium in concrete makes the water basic) your harvested rainwater will probably be acidic. Baking Soda (Sodium bicarbonate) is commonly used to raise pH. It will add a little salt (sodium) to your water so if you are on a sodium free diet this may not be a good solution for you. Calcium carbonate also raises the pH and is most effective in granulated form (large surface area). It will add Calcium to your water which increases hardness.
Lowering the pH of your tank water
Basic water is usually treated with a water softener that uses an ion exchange process to remove minerals from the water. These systems usually require a specialied mixing tank and periodic refreshing. They are available commercially. It is a complicated process not easily accomplished without a background in this type of chemical process. Normally rainwater isn't basic (hard) but if it is stored in a new concrete tank minerals from the concrete can leach into the water and make it basic. This condition usually stabilizes as the tank ages.
Warning RE: Con Artists and Water Treatment Systems
Beware of a water treatment system currently being sold door-to-door on the Big Island. It may not be clear to buyers that it uses reverse osmosis systems to remove pathogens at the kitchen sink but its point-of-entry filter systems do not disinfect the water for the rest of the house. Therefore, you could get leptospirosis, for example, while taking a bath, or become ill from brushing your teeth.
Important: UH Extension personnel are not endorsing this product no matter what the sales people tell you.
If you are considering a water treatment system purchase and are unsure, call us at 808-981-5199, or the Hawaii Department of Health, Safe Water Drinking Branch at (808) 974-4000 x64258. We recommend choosing products or systems with NSF International certification. Learn more about the certification at www.nsf.org. When buying a system, make sure that the system meets your individual needs.