Calcium in Drinking Water

What is calcium?

Calcium is a metal with a high reactivity. Therefore, it only occurs chemically bound as a component of minerals. Among the best-known are limestone, marble, chalk and gypsum. This results in a wide-ranging economic significance. Calcium compounds are water-soluble. The pH value of the groundwater plays an important role.

The vital element calcium

Calcium is a necessary building block in fauna and flora. The mineral is indispensable for the formation of bones and teeth. It is involved in many metabolic functions. The body’s calcium intake is closely linked to vitamin D3. 

Suppose the body’s calcium processing is impaired due to age or disease. There may be medical risks such as arteriosclerosis or osteoporosis in that case. The recommended daily calcium intake in the UK is about 700 milligrams per day for adults aged 19 to 64, according to the National Health Service (NHS). The recommended daily intake for older adults over 65 is 800 milligrams daily.

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How does calcium get into groundwater?

Calcium mainly enters the deeper groundwater layer through the natural weathering of calcium-bearing rock (limestone). 

How does calcium get into drinking water?

Currently, the Drinking Water Ordinance does not specify a limit value for calcium. Freshwater, with its natural calcium content, forms the basis for the tap water provided by the drinking water supplier.

What are the consequences of calcium in drinking water?

Together with magnesium, calcium is responsible for water hardness. These degrees of hardness can vary significantly from region to region, depending on the geological constellation of the water-bearing strata of the catchment area.

Hard water from calcium and magnesium salts can cause more severe problems with its lime deposits. The limescale gradually clogs pipes, their passage narrows, and complications can arise due to calcification. Heavily used household appliances are particularly affected. Many people are familiar with the regular descaling of kettles, coffee machines, dishwashers and washing machines. Failure to do so is severely punished and causes high repair costs. 

Unfortunately, the salts responsible for limescale formation also affect the taste of the water. 

Soft water is better suited for cooking because of its more pleasant neutral nuance. Hot drinks such as tea or coffee only develop their rich aroma with soft water. Incidentally, plants also prefer low-calcium water because it resembles rainwater. Ultimately, water with a lower calcium content causes much less trouble. 

Who is responsible? 

The values of the parameters specified in the Drinking Water Ordinance refer to the concentration in the distribution network of the municipal waterworks. However, as a homeowner, you are responsible for the quality of the water after it has left the public water supply and entered your domestic installation. Water with a high calcium content can cause flow problems due to calcification, especially in domestic installations.

Since owners of well installations are outside the control area of municipal drinking water suppliers, they must guarantee the functional efficiency of their drinking water installations on their responsibility. For them, too, there is a legal obligation to test for various parameters of the Drinking Water Ordinance.

Calcium in drinking water! What should be done?

A water analysis provides information. Suppose you have not noticed any abnormalities in the taste or appearance of your drinking water so far. In that case, you can be sure with a water test. A water test will tell you whether your water comes out of the tap in flawless quality. The calcium test is easy to take and is then sent to a recognised laboratory. After a short time, you get a detailed breakdown of the quality of your water. Calcium can be removed from water with relatively little effort using filters, descalers or ion exchangers.

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