Simple Water Treatment for an Idiot!

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View forum in portrait mode in case anyone hasn't twigged what @MashBag meant. (I say that 'cos I know I'd be looking at the back of me 'phone and scratching me 'ead!). :thumbsup: šŸ„“
This is an example of "Hardness" calculations going wrong. It's all grey 'cos it's viewing the "Foetid Mire" area (or "under-the-hood", the bit best stayed out of).

It is from the "Battle, Kent" water analysis (but not SE Water's one) loaded into the "Defuddler" as a "default". This analysis does actually balance (chemically): Notice the two values on the right-hand side? 170.1ppm against 171.53ppm; that's balanced as near as damn it (it stops stuff higher up the spreadsheet in the more visible area turning "red"). But the values for Permanent Hardness and Temporary Hardness are red and faded. You can just about see why: "Permanent" is negative, and "Temporary" is greater than the reported Total Hardness. (It really doesn't make sense, don't waste your time trying to check!).


I haven't modified the values, only part obscured them as they play no further part in adjusting this water. Other "full-blown" water calculators do similar, but don't make the deception so obvious: For example, "Bru'n Water" doesn't allow Temporary Hardness to ever exceed Total Hardness, and therefore Permanent Hardness gets no lower than "zero". Dodgy! But they have no impact on further calculations ... and who notices?

I guess this occurs because some alkalinity isn't associated with "Hardness" elements like Calcium. Say it's from Sodium Carbonate? Still creates "alkalinity", but creates zero "hardness". It can occur naturally in rare cases. It can also occur in "ion exchange water softeners" (not at source in UK).

The other thing worth pointing out in this view is "Magnesium": Notice the value given it down here is a whopping 20.5ppm? The report only gave it 4.99. But the first figure is "as CaCO3". So, ask yourself, "what has Magnesium got to do with CaCO3?". And why is it added to "Total Hardness"?

I do start this section with: "Down here all is not what it seems!".
After months of inactivity on my "Defuddler" spreadsheet I renewed some effort to make it fit a different scenario. But I remembered the "Battle" water profile and thought I'd give it a go ...

Despite the unusual water the new "Defuddler" has no problems extracting valid data from that water. If you remember, the water had a large quantity of "Sodium" based "Alkalinity" resulting in some fanciful returns from Water Calculators ("Zero" values for "hardness" and so-on). The water reports were not differentiating between hardness inducing "alkalinity" content and "non-hardness" inducing alkalinity (the analytical techniques used can't make such differentiations). The "Defuddler" now can! For what its worth ... surely everyone understands now that "water hardness" has zero relevance to beer brewing?

This clip is from the same part of the spreadsheet as the one three posts back ...


(PS. The Alkalinity mentioned in the clip says 97.78ppm, not 37.78ppm ... that naff font caused me loads of un-necessary work!). The output from the "Defuddler" changed very slightly to ...


"Bicarbonate" reporting seems to have undergone some changes! The "Defuddler" no longer depends on an explicit water report figure, it can figure it out from the other ions reported (just five! now). This is the data for putting into a water calculator (those calculators can't be bothered to do it, hence dozens of home-brewers resorting un-necessarily to "RO water", bottled water, etc.).

I'll update the links for the spreadsheet over the next few days. The reason for this new burst of activity is trying to make sense of the substantial drop in "Alkalinity" between the water treatment plant and the tap (mine has 25ppm as CaCO3 reported, but only 5-10 makes it to the tap). I figured that too ( :rolleyes: ... smartarse!), and why it only affects a few percent of the population to the far west of the UK and most of Scotland.
[This was meant to be an edit to another post ... don't know what I did to make it turn up here!* Ah well, same subject, now I'll need to find the one I meant to edit!]
[EDIT2: Well, I sort of know how it might have messed up: I originally edited here, but moved it to a better place, then edited the post but was actually editing what I didn't post ... Eh? ... You lot are so lucky you don't have to live in a head like mine!]

I've been working hard on my "water mineral" pre-processor ... the "Defuddler" (hey ... I can hear the groaning from here you know). Expanding it, making it simpler, making it more accurate, etc. I've been doing much of the work on the sister site to this one "" 'cos there's more of them (it's an American site, they're a bit more "critical" (so I learn more about what I'm doing) and the have some "difficult" waters (often very "Hard" and also with a lot of Sodium which may be due to the ion exchange plants they operate out there.

So, this is a quick catch up. It has not outwardly changed much...

But it now relies totally on "calculated" values for "Alkalinity". The published figures would never be significantly different.

The "engine" that drives it is very simple, and I'm still trying to figure out why it's not so prominent in home-brewing It is based on the formula:

Total Alkalinity = āˆ‘conservative-cations - āˆ‘conservative-anions

And you can read about (in mind-numbing detail) here in Wikipedia. It might be all the talk about "conservative" ions, combined electrical charge balancing and proton balancing, and so-on. Don't know about anyone else, but it used to scare the pants off me. It's all jargon, you only need to know a snatch, and it's all so simple. Anyway, a diagram should illustrate what the "Defuddler" is handling:


The "Conservative Anions" plus the "Alkalinity Anions" will equal the "Conservative Cations". The ions will need to be converted to "equivalents" (such as milli-Equivalents per Litre - mEq/l) to make this easy (all done by the sreadsheet, so notthing to learn). There will be numerous other ions in treated drinking water, but the main players are listed in the diagram (quantities less than 1mEq/l can be safely ignored). "Nitrate" at about 1-6mg/l is probably the smallest ion quantity to be counted. Potassium may make an appearance but is of no great importance and lost amongst the sodium

This diagram illustrates how the calculations can do what they do ... make very tight estimates of Alkalinity. Which in this environment will be "Carbonate" Alkalinity (hence represented "as" bicarbonate ions).

Now this diagram might be parallelled by a "Hardness" version. I must make it clear so this following diagram doesn't trigger any mis-comprehensions comparing it with the "Alkalinity" version: IT IS NOT CORRECT!!!


This suggests "Temporary Hardness" is the same as Alkalinity. IT IS NOT! But you often see them quoted (incorrectly!) with the same concentrations in water reports. What is obviously missing is the Sodium (and Magnesium but that can be roughly extracted because it is in there). Hardness has no concept of "Sodium" and assuming "Temporary Hardness" is the same as "Alkalinity" can cause problems, especially when the water harbours sizeable quantities of Sodium (I always used to think of them as the same too). But if careful we can extract useful information from "Hardness". As will be seen!

[EDIT: Changes to diagrams to make them clearer.]
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