August 31st, 2007

new year

Very hard water

I have this new free online toy called FitDay to keep my food diary. It counts calories and all that with various pie charts that need knowledgeable interpretation which is right up my alley (the bar charts don't seem to work too well). Gotta change it up just to keep it interesting. Anyway it gives you reports on which nutrients you've consumed, with the ones you didn't get enough in red. Very alarming. Once I got my B-Stress vitamin pill entered it was mostly okay. But I still seem to have calcium and selenium issues so I have been pottering around online to see what I should eat instead of taking more pills. More brazil nuts. More fish.

Then I went to look at the Madison Water Utility website which I remembered had sent out some report this year about all the stuff they test for that isn't in our water. I didn't want to know about all that toxic stuff though, either organics or inorganics. (There is a big flap just now that the water utility manager has had to resign over, even though there is nothing there -- they changed out a well last spring that was bringing up a bit of manganese which is not a hazard, if you can believe that. I mean I believe the manganese was not a special hazard, and they are making fine progress on changing all the old lead pipes in the city too, no one is even worried about that although lead is far more of a hazard, but he has had to resign anyway, which I find astonishing.)

But I wanted to know exactly what they mean by hard water, because that is supposed to be mostly calcium carbonate and magnesium which are the sort of thing you take in pills. Finally I found the bit that says we have somewhere around 355 ppm (parts per million) or 21 grains of calcium carbonate (or equivalent, that means there are various salts or other minerals involved that add up to this standard measure). Between that and the lovely Wikipedia entry on Hard Water, which lists how hard the water is in various places all over the world, and explains a whole list of various different measures, I worked out that if 1 grain per American gallon is 17.11 mg/L, then our water hardness is 359 mg/L, which is not only Hard, Very Hard, it is somewhat off the chart.

Melbourne has very soft water, 10-26 mg/L. Adelaide has very hard water, 134-148 mg/L. Britain ranges from 0 to 200 mg/L.

I am not sure whether this means that drinking around four liters of Madison water a day would give me my 1200 mg Recommended Daily Allowance of calcium and 320 mg of magnesium. Fortunately I like hard water. I like the flavor of our artesian water you can practically chew on. That is still an awful lot of water to drink in a day. I am somewhat surprised it would not require a lot more than that, and wonder if I have got it all wrong. It is easier to take a couple of Tums.