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Thread: How safe is the bulk water from grocery stores?

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    Lover of Mountains nightsky's Avatar
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    How safe is the bulk water from grocery stores?

    I used to just buy the distilled water in the gallon jugs - but it's so dry here I'm running through water quite fast. So I recently started buying the water in bulk from the dispenser at the local wally-world. It's cheaper, and easier, plus I don't create all the plastic waste. It has several filter steps, one of which is reverse-osmosis, so I thought it would be ok.

    However, I've noticed recently that a spilled drop of small amount of this water will leave a residue behind when it evaporates. Just like hard water does. So has anyone had any problems with this kind of water? Any suggestions on how I can test this stuff, ie do the aquarium water tests work ok to test hardness - and if so what is a safe level of hardness for cps?

    In the past I never worried about these issues due to using pure distilled water - so this stuff is new to me. If I have to, I'll go back to buying the gallon jugs, but wow what a pain it's becoming!

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    I've been using it for probably 10 months or so. Seems fine, and its cheap.
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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    Glacier has a monopoly on these in Southern California.

    I've been using these for close to two years now. I've been testing the water with a TDS meter. The average from the machines I was using was 3 ppm TDS with the highest of 5 ppm. I switched to a machine in a different location because some of the homeless were using the others as urinals. The machine I switched to averages 8 ppm with the highest of 10 ppm.

    Your mileage (TDS) will vary depending on the water supply and how good the service tech is at setting the machine.

    Certainly a lot cheaper at 25 cents per gallon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightsky View Post
    I used to just buy the distilled water in the gallon jugs - but it's so dry here I'm running through water quite fast. So I recently started buying the water in bulk from the dispenser at the local wally-world. It's cheaper, and easier, plus I don't create all the plastic waste. It has several filter steps, one of which is reverse-osmosis, so I thought it would be ok.

    However, I've noticed recently that a spilled drop of small amount of this water will leave a residue behind when it evaporates. Just like hard water does. So has anyone had any problems with this kind of water? Any suggestions on how I can test this stuff, ie do the aquarium water tests work ok to test hardness - and if so what is a safe level of hardness for cps?

    In the past I never worried about these issues due to using pure distilled water - so this stuff is new to me. If I have to, I'll go back to buying the gallon jugs, but wow what a pain it's becoming!
    They are generally safe, though you will want the total dissolved solids to be well below 100 ppm. I switched to using them after the particularly hard water in my immediate area required far too frequent maintenance / replacement of RO membranes and filters. Glacier is also the commercial brand of water machines dominant in Northern CA; and, at least they claim frequent servicing -- and I haven't run into TDS ratings higher than 5 ppm lately. Considering that my kitchen tap registered 535 ppm the other day, I can live with that. A five-gallon jug of RO in the SF Bay Area runs 1.75.

    It is important to verify though, since I have heard from Peter D'Amato that a few of the machines he tested in his area had been off the charts. An inexpensive TDS meter should run about 20.00 and are available through larger pet and scientific supply houses . . .
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    Capensis Killer upper's Avatar
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    there was time when i didnt know about these machines, spent about 5$ in 2 weeks.... now its 50cent per week.
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    Lover of Mountains nightsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBella View Post
    They are generally safe, though you will want the total dissolved solutes to be well below 100 ppm. I switched to using them after the particularly hard water in my immediate area required far too frequent maintenance / replacement of RO membranes and filters. Glacier is also the commercial brand of water machines dominant in Northern CA; and, at least they claim frequent servicing -- and I haven't run into TDS ratings higher than 5 ppm lately. A five-gallon jug in the SF Bay Area runs 1.75.

    It is important to verify though, since I have heard from Peter D'Amato that a few of the machines he tested in his area had been off the charts. An inexpensive TDS meter should run about 20.00 and are available at pet stores and through scientific catalogues . . .
    Good to hear that you've all had good results with the water.

    Round here it's a Culligan dispenser, and I know nothing of their reputation, but nearly every store that has a bulk dispenser is of that brand. I do know that faucet filters such as brita clog very quickly here, so I'd assume those water dispenser would need very regular filter maintenance. Our local tapwater, the water source, iss very hard (as high as 1040 ppm!), and generally is of low quality, probably a result of living within a couple miles of the enormous Bingham Copper Mine. A lot of the runoff from there becomes our ground water source eventually. So I really hope they are maintaining the filter. Looks like I'll be off to a pet store for a TDS meter this week just to be safe.

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    It's been one of dem days BigCarnivourKid's Avatar
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    Culligan has been around for years. We had one of their water softeners in our house in Colo. Springs when I was a kid. The Wal Mart here has a Culligan brand dispencer also, and I've been using water from it for a couple years now with no problems. Quality of the water you get will depend on how bad the water is to start with and how good the maintenance on the machine is.
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    BigBella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigCarnivourKid View Post
    Culligan has been around for years. We had one of their water softeners in our house in Colo. Springs when I was a kid. The Wal Mart here has a Culligan brand dispencer also, and I've been using water from it for a couple years now with no problems. Quality of the water you get will depend on how bad the water is to start with and how good the maintenance on the machine is.
    Culligan was or is still big in CA as well -- and they were pushing the soft-water scene for years out here; but, most softening methods involve actually adding salts. I was simply wondering whether the Culligan dispenser was offering RO or soft water. That could pose a problem . . .
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

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