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Martin
Martin, Engineer
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I get my water from Santa Rosa, CA municipal system. I am noticing

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I get my water from Santa Rosa, CA municipal system. I am noticing that my soil is becoming very hard with a white substance that I assume is some sort of salt or mineral that is introduced by the treatment of the water ..... or maybe pretreatment ( I don't know for sure. ) I believe that my gardens soil is being damaged by this mineral. First, am I right that the treatment of water creates some minerals that are bad for garden soil? and Second, what is the best approach to remove the mineals. Here is a link to my municipal water systems advertised water quality report.
http://ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/departments/utilities/h2o/h2oquality/Pages/WaterQualityReports.aspx

http://ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/doclib/Documents/SR%20CCR%2009%20FinalLo.pdf
See Page 5 as a start.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Martin replied 3 years ago.
Hello, welcome to JustAnswer.

It's really hard for me to know what it is as i don't have access to your water for analysis.

I got a friend that worked in a water treatment facility so i know a bit about them. What i could see is if too much alum make it into the water system http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alum

This mineral is used to stick to impurities so that they fall in the bottom of a big tank. It's possible that they use too much of it or that the flocculation process is not working well. This is just a pre-treatment and have no use to stay in the water (unlike chlorination).

As it contain aluminum perhaps it react to your soil if you have lot of iron in it. Aluminum tend to acidify the soil a lot (it's even used to grow blueberry for that purpose).

What i would advise is to keep deposit from your water (if you do coffee by boiling water, all mineral should concentrate in the bottom and calculate how much water was needed to collect this. Then contact a technician at the water treatment facility as ask him if it's normal to have such an amount.

About treating your soil, there is not much to do as salt of any kind don't evaporate. If it's causing acidity, you could fight it by adding a bit of lime and fight the hardness by mixing organic matter.

As a tip, you can let the water in a drum before using it in the garden. It will be warmer and will contain less chlorine as this one evaporate with time.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Did you study the information from the Municipal Water District or is your answer general?

I do like your analysis and in fact I have come to the same basic place. What I am looking for is knowledge that helps correlate the Municipal Water Districts numbers with the effect I am seeing.... For example they said on page 3:
"Your Water’s Characteristics
Sodium: There is currently no drinking water standard for sodium. Santa Rosa’s sodium averages 18.42 ppm, a level unlikely to contribute to adverse health effects."

Well this may be true but what about salt accumulation over time?

On page 5 they list the disinfectants that are used..... I am interested in know what these do to the soil over time. At the mineral accumulated point of view
"Trihalomethanes
Haloacetic acids
Disinfectant-Free Chlorine (CI2 ) - MRDLG as CI2 4.0"

I did add a bit of lime last year to attempt to brake up the soil. It did not seem to disperse well. In places it formed a white level which was not broken down with the winter rains.

For drinking water I do "aerate" my water by filling 4 - 1 gallon jugs of water that set on the kitchen counter for between 1 and 3 days before running it thru a carbon base water filter to remove addition junk.

It is not entirely clear to me base on the report, that the city uses the type of chlorine that evaporates quickly.
Expert:  Martin replied 3 years ago.
Yes i reviewed the data, i see nothing special that could cause what you experience.

To have a calcium or sodium build up would require a lot. trihalomethanes is too volatile to build up and form deposit. haloacetic may act like a bounding agent/catalyst to form some deposit but noting noticeable like you see.

All chlorine evaporate in some days.

The best if it's that concentrated in the garden, is to take a sample of it and get it's spectrum analysed.

It might also just be clay build up (earth worm can bring that to the surface). Some really pure clay under the sun become like concrete and turn white instead of gray and won't soften under rain. If you let this in a water bowl for a few day it should turn into a goo and show that it's indeed clay.

Some bacteria can bind grain of sand, perhaps you have lot of them in the soil. A big nitrogen treatment would lower them a lot.
Martin, Engineer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 4108
Experience: i'm 41 and i never stopped studying and experimenting
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