Frequently Asked Questions - Water Quality

The good news is that hard water is a relatively easy condition to treat.  The treatment process is easy to administer as a homeowner and the results are often very good.  Please look into installing a water softener if you wish to reduce or eliminate the source of hardness.  Although the hardness levels can vary depending on the source of the water being on any given day, for design purposes, the hardness levels are approximately 250 mg/l or 15 grains per gallon.

There are numerous cleaning products on the market which advertise to clean surfaces that have an accumulation of a calcium precipitate.


No.  Hard water is simply an aesthetics issue.  Calcium at the levels found in the water is not a concern with respect to health.  Please review the World Health Organization report here for a detailed explaination of water hardness and health.


The characteristics of the geography on which Berkeley County exists is perfect for resulting in water with a very high hardness content

Yes the water is safe to drink.  The Water District routinely monitors for contaminants in your drinking water. All monitoring results are reported to the WV Bureau of Public Health.  A disruption such as repairs in the water distribution system can sometimes allow air to enter the water pipes. Air will cause the water to appear milky or cloudy. If you place the water in a clean glass, the water will clear from the bottom to the top. You should run the water for a short period of time to flush any entrapped air from the lines.

All public water supplies must constantly sample the water pursuant to the required Federal and State regulations.  The water is sampled on the following schedule:

1. Every month, 66 samples are collected for coliform bacteria.  These samples are numerous in quantity and most frequent of all tests since they are the most important indicator of high quality drinking water that is safe to consume.

2. Inorganics – every year Nitrates and nitrites, metals, salts and other compounds naturally occurring or manmade.

3. Volatile Organics – once per year – these are components associated with items such as gasoline and dry cleaning establishments.

4. Radionuclides – every 8 years – these tests would indicate if naturally occurring or manmade radioactive components were found in the water supply.

5. Synthetic Organic Parameters – every year.  These would be components associated with pesticides and herbicides and other man made compounds.

6. Lead and Copper – Lead and copper samples are performed every three years with the samples being obtained from more than 7- homes throughout the system.

Please also see the annual water quality report for some additional information on water quality.

If there was ever a time when water quality samples were not in compliance with Federal and State regulations, the public would be notified pursuant to the prescribed regulations.

Yes, the District adds fluoride to the water.  The desired level is .7 mg/l which is the recommended level by the Centers for Disease Control. 

Lead and copper have the potential to be dissolved in water but only if the conditions are conducive to such.  Lead and copper are not present in the source of water.  The can only enter the water supply if they are part of the plumbing system that conveys water to your house.

In order for lead or copper to leach into the water in the pipes, there must be older pipes that use lead solder or copper pipes that are commonly used.  In addition, the water must be of a nature that will allow for the lead and or copper to be dissolved into the water.  The amount of time water sits in contact with the pipes has an influence on the possible leaching of the lead and/or copper.

In order to minimize the probability of lead and or copper to enter the water, treatment is performed at the water plants to reduce any natural tendencies of the water to leach out the lead and copper.

The District is required to do extensive testing of the water supply to ensure the levels of lead and copper are below federal and state standards.  The results of the testing have always and continuously indicated the levels of lead and copper are in compliance.

One way a homeowner can further ensure there is no lead or copper in their tap water is to flush the tap before filling up a drinking glass.  By flushing the water for a few minutes to remove the first slug of water that may have been in contact with lead plumbing.

The district occasionally receives calls from customers asking why the water smells like chlorine.  The reason chlorine is added to a water supply is very basic, the level to which people notice the smell is very diverse.

The addition of chlorine to a water supply began in the early 20th century.  At the time it was first introduced, water borne diseases in this country such as typhoid, cholera, and hepatitis were the primary cause of death to most Americans.  The introduction of chlorine to a water supply had a remarkable effect of extending the longevity of human life.  It is one of the greatest discoveries in the development of the human race.

Chlorine continues to be used today to be certain disease is not spread by the water supply.  The District adds chlorine to the water supply at each plant.

Chlorine does impart an odor in the water which some people find undesirable.  One means of reducing the chlorine odor from the tap water is to fill a container and leave the top off.  Chlorine will dissipate from the water if left open to the atmosphere.  Keeping a pitcher of water in the refrigerator at all times will ensure access to a cold and relatively odor free source of water.  You can obtain 100 gallons of District water for about $0.50.  It costs much more than that for only 1 gallon of bottled water.

There are devices sold at retail stores which remove chlorine from water at the kitchen sink.  They do work, but, come with a cost.  It is best to try the pitcher of water suggestion above before spending money on any device or buying bottled water. Save your money and drink plenty of tap water.