The pH level of your drinking water reflects
how acidic it is. pH stands for “potential hydrogen,” referring
to the amount of hydrogen mixed with the water. pH is measured on
a scale that runs from 0-14. Seven is neutral, indicating there is
no acid or alkalinity present. A measurement below 7 indicates acid
is present and a measurement above 7 indicates alkalinity.
The normal range for pH in ground water lies between 6 and 8.5.
By comparison, vinegar measures 3 pH, beer measures between 4 and 5,
while milk measures around 6.4 pH.
Water with a low pH can be acidic, soft and corrosive. This water
can leach metals from pipes and fixtures, such as copper, iron, lead,
manganese and zinc. It can also cause damage to metal pipes and aesthetic
problems, such as a metallic or sour taste, laundry staining or blue-green
stains in sinks and drains.
Water that contains elevated levels of toxic metals could also show
a low pH level.
Drinking water with a pH level above 8.5 could indicate that the
water is hard. Hardness does not pose a health risk, but can cause
aesthetic problems, such as an alkali taste to the water that makes
coffee taste bitter; build-up of scale on pipes and fixtures than
can lead to lower water pressure; build-up of deposits on dishes, utensils
and laundry basins; difficulty in getting soap and detergent to foam;
and lowered efficiency of electric water heaters.