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What is 'Hard Water'?

What is 'hard water'?

"Drinking water that has an increased level of calcium and magnesium, often referred to as ‘hard water’, is commonly found in Maine well water and is not a health concern.”
—Roger Crouse, P.E. State of Maine Drinking Water Program Director

As the primary drinking water supplier for thousands of homes and businesses in Augusta and Manchester, the Greater Augusta Utility District’s number one priority is to provide safe, clean drinking water to all of our customers, all of the time. To reinforce this mission, two new wells were developed last year on the east side of the Kennebec River. Now we have water sources on both sides of the river, and a back-up supply just in case.

While groundwater is the safest source of clean drinking water, it is commonly known to be harder than surface water. This is NOT a health hazard; in fact, the National Research Council (National Academy of Sciences) states that hard water generally contributes a small amount toward the total calcium and magnesium needed in the human diet.

Hard water can be an inconvenience in household cleaning tasks (leaving clean dishes looking “spotty,” for example). For information regarding the proper care and maintenance of any appliance or system using ‘hard’ hot water, please refer to your owner’s manual or talk with a qualified professional. If you have an immediate need to mitigate the effects of hard water, stop by our office on Williams Street for a free residue-removal sample. (These products are also available at local hardware stores.)

What are we doing about it?

We are planning to gradually increase the dosage of phosphate that we currently use to reduce water hardness. This will require approval from the Maine Drinking Water Program (MDWP). Once this action is implemented, we will continually monitor and test our water to ensure that it doesn’t have any negative side-effects on drinking water safety, which remains our first priority.

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