PH Of Drinking Water : Factors,Testing,Safety And Facts

Table of Contents

Introduction

Have you ever wondered why some drinking water tastes better than others? Or why do some people prefer bottled water over tap water? The answer may lie in the pH level of the water. Water pH and concentration is a crucial factors to consider, especially in areas where human activities and piping can affect the environment. Yet many people are unaware of its importance.

Water pH refers to the acidity or alkalinity of the water and can affect its taste and quality. A neutral pH is 7, with anything below being acidic and anything above being alkaline. The ideal pH for drinking water is between 6.5 and 8.5. Soda ash can be used to increase the pH of water, while dissolved solids can affect the pH level. Chemicals can also impact the environment and water quality.

Understanding the need for proper water pH is essential for many people, especially those with health concerns or who rely on well-water sources. Human activities such as industrial processes and agricultural practices can alter the natural pH of water sources, which requires research to determine appropriate measures for correction. One method for adjusting pH is through the use of soda ash, which can be added in varying concentrations to neutralize acidic water.

So why does the pH and concentration of dissolved solids in your well-drinking water matter? Let’s dive in and do some research to find out!

pH of Drinking Water

pH of Drinking Water

Understanding pH Levels in Natural Water and Beverages


Water is an essential resource that our bodies need to function properly. However, not all water is created equal. One factor that can affect the quality of water is its pH level, which is determined by the concentration of substances in different sources and parts of the water.

What is pH?

pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline substances are, including hard water and drinking water quality. It ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. A pH below 7 indicates acidity, while a pH above 7 indicates alkalinity. Water pollution can also affect the pH level of substances.

Where Does Water Fall on the pH Scale?

Guidelines suggest that pure water has a neutral pH of 7. However, most natural water sources have a slightly acidic or alkaline pH due to the presence of dissolved minerals and other solids. To ensure the quality of water, it is recommended to test it regularly. 

For instance, Flowater provides reliable water testing services for various purposes.

For example, rainwater typically has a slightly acidic pH between 5.0 and 5.5 due to atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolving in the water as it falls through the air. However, it is important to note that rainwater may contain dissolved solids which can affect its quality and adherence to established guidelines for total dissolved solids (TDS). On the other hand, groundwater can have a higher or lower pH depending on its mineral content, which may also impact its TDS levels.

How Do Solids End Up Dissolved in Water?

When solids such as minerals come into contact with water, they can dissolve and become part of the solution. The solubility of different substances depends on various factors such as temperature, pressure, concentration, and guidelines. Additionally, the total dissolved solids (TDS) in the water can also affect the solubility of minerals.

Some common minerals and dissolved solids found in drinking water include calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron, and TDS. These minerals and TDS can impact both the taste and health benefits of drinking water.

Mineral Water vs Pure Water

Mineral water typically has a higher pH level than pure water due to its mineral and dissolved solids content. This makes it slightly alkaline with a typical range between 7.5-9 on the pH scale.

In contrast, pure distilled or reverse osmosis-filtered waters may have lower mineral content and dissolved solids resulting in lower overall alkalinity levels. However, both pure and mineral water with appropriate levels of dissolved solids can be safe for consumption within a certain pH range.

Safe pH Levels for Drinking Water

Drinking water with a pH level between 6.5 and 8.5 and low levels of dissolved solids is considered safe for consumption by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This range falls within the neutral to slightly alkaline range on the pH scale.

Water with a lower or higher pH level may still be safe to drink but could potentially have negative impacts on health over time. For example, drinking highly acidic water with high levels of dissolved solids over an extended period can cause erosion of tooth enamel and digestive issues.

Acceptable levels of pH in Drinking Water according to WHO Standards


Maintaining an acceptable pH level and low levels of dissolved solids in drinking water is crucial for protecting public health. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a pH level of drinking water to be between 6.5 and 8.5, which is considered safe for human consumption, while high levels of dissolved solids can have negative impacts on taste and health.

What is the standard pH of drinking water?

The standard pH of drinking water varies from country to country, and it depends on the source of the water supply. The WHO suggests that a pH range between 6.5 and 8.5 is ideal for drinking water, as it ensures that the water is not too acidic or too alkaline.

What should be the ideal pH of drinking water?

The ideal pH level of drinking water should fall within the range recommended by WHO, which is between 6.5 and 8.5. This range ensures that the water is neither too acidic nor too alkaline, making it safe for human consumption.

What should be the pH level of drinking water?

The recommended pH level for drinking water by WHO falls within a range between 6.5 and 8.5, which ensures that the quality of the water remains safe for human consumption.

Canadian Guidelines

Canadian guidelines suggest a slightly higher range of between 7.0 to 10.5 for drinking water compared to the WHO’s recommendation due to their unique geological conditions in some areas where groundwater can have naturally high levels of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals can contribute to the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in the water.

However, maintaining a high-level alkalinity and TDS in tap-water can lead to mineral buildup in pipes over time; this can cause clogs or even corrosion if left unchecked.

Effects Of High/Low PH Levels In Drinking Water

Drinking Water with a low PH (below 6) can cause corrosion in pipes and release toxic metals like lead into your tap-water, while high PH levels (above 9) can cause a bitter taste and lead to mineral buildup in pipes. Additionally, high TDS levels can also contribute to mineral buildup and affect the taste of your drinking water.

Water with high alkalinity and total dissolved solids (TDS) can also cause skin irritation, digestive problems, and affect the effectiveness of certain medications.

How To Test Drinking Water PH Levels

Testing the pH level of drinking water is relatively simple and can be done using a pH test kit or strips available at most hardware stores or online retailers. The process involves taking a sample of your tap-water and testing it against the color chart provided on the kit’s packaging.

Safety and Benefits of Drinking Water with a Balanced pH Level


Drinking water is an essential component of our daily lives. It helps keep our bodies hydrated, regulates body temperature, aids in digestion, and flushes out toxins. However, not all water is created equal. The pH level and TDS of drinking water play a significant role in its safety and benefits for the body.

What is pH Level?

The pH level measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is on a scale from 0 to 14, which is essential in determining the drinking water quality. A pH level of 7 is considered neutral, while levels below 7 are acidic and above 7 are alkaline. Hard water can have a high pH level, leading to potential water pollution. To ensure safe consumption, purified water is recommended.

Importance of Balanced pH Level in Drinking Water

Maintaining a balanced pH level in drinking water can help maintain the body’s natural pH balance. Our body’s ideal pH range lies between 7.35 to 7.45, which is slightly alkaline. Drinking water with a balanced pH level can help regulate the acidity levels in the body.

Benefits of Drinking Water with a Balanced pH Level

  1. Improved Digestion: Drinking water with a balanced pH level can improve digestion by aiding enzymes’ functioning that break down food.
  2. Nutrient Absorption: A balanced pH level in drinking water helps increase nutrient absorption by promoting healthy gut bacteria.
  3. Reduced Acid Reflux: Alkaline drinking water can help reduce acid reflux symptoms by neutralizing stomach acid.
  4. Hydration: Drinking alkaline water can hydrate your skin better than regular tap water.
  5. Antioxidant Properties: Alkaline drinking water has antioxidant properties that protect against free radicals that cause cell damage.

Is High-pH Water Safe to Drink?

High-pH (alkaline) waters have become popular due to their perceived health benefits; however, there are concerns about their safety for consumption regularly.

Water with extremely high-alkalinity levels (pH over 9) may lead to alkalosis, a condition where the body’s pH level becomes too high. Symptoms of alkalosis include nausea, vomiting, muscle twitches, and confusion.

However, drinking water with a pH range between 7.5 to 8.5 is safe for consumption daily. It is essential to ensure that you do not drink excessively high-alkaline water regularly.

How Much Water Should I Be Drinking?

The amount of water one should drink varies depending on various factors such as age, gender, weight, activity level, and climate. However, it is recommended that adults should consume at least eight glasses (64 ounces) of water per day.

Examining the Impact of pH on Taste and Quality of Drinking Water


Drinking water quality is a vital concern for every individual, as it directly affects human health. One crucial aspect that determines the quality of drinking water is its pH value. The pH level indicates whether water is acidic or basic, and it can affect the taste, odor, and overall quality of drinking water.

How does the pH level affect the quality of drinking water?

The ideal range for pH in drinking water is between 6.5 and 8.5; however, some areas may have higher or lower levels due to various factors such as natural geological conditions or pollution from human activities. The pH level affects the solubility of minerals in water, which impacts its taste and odor.

Water with a low pH level (below 6.5) can have a metallic taste due to high concentrations of dissolved metals like iron, manganese, or copper. It can also cause corrosion in pipes and plumbing fixtures leading to leaching of lead into tap water.

On the other hand, high alkalinity (above 8.5) can cause a bitter taste in drinking water due to high levels of dissolved minerals like calcium carbonate or magnesium hydroxide. It can also lead to scaling on pipes and fixtures.

What factors can affect the pH of drinking water?

Various natural and human-made factors can impact the pH value of surface waters used for drinking purposes:

  • Water Pollution: Polluted surface waters often have an altered balance between acidity and alkalinity that makes them unsuitable for consumption.
  • Acid Rain: Acid rain results from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels that release sulfur dioxide (SO2) or nitrogen oxides (NOx). Acid rainwater has a low pH value that corrodes metal pipes.
  • Operation Water Pollution: Human activities such as mining, industrial discharge, or agricultural runoff can introduce pollutants that alter the pH value of water bodies.
  • Osmosis: Osmosis is a natural process that regulates the pH level in water. It occurs when water moves from a high concentration of ions to a low concentration of ions. When there are more acidic substances than basic ones, osmosis will cause the pH level to decrease.

How can you test the pH level of drinking water?

Testing the pH level of drinking water is important to ensure its quality and safety for consumption. Here are some ways to test the pH value:

  • pH Test Strips: These strips are easy to use and inexpensive. Dip them into your drinking water sample, and they will change color based on its acidity or alkalinity.
  • Digital Meters: Digital meters provide accurate readings but are more expensive than test strips. They require calibration before use.
  • Laboratory Testing: This method provides precise results and can detect other contaminants besides pH levels.

Health Risks Associated with High pH Drinking Water


Drinking water is a fundamental necessity of life, but it is essential to understand the quality of the water you consume. The pH level of drinking water can significantly impact your health, and high pH levels in drinking water can pose several risks.

What is pH?

pH stands for “potential hydrogen” and measures the acidity or alkalinity of a solution on a scale from 0 to 14. A solution with a pH level of 7 is neutral, while anything below that is acidic, and anything above it is alkaline.

Health Risks Associated with High pH Drinking Water

High pH levels in drinking water can cause several health risks. Some of these risks are:

  • Skin Irritation: High-pH drinking water can lead to skin irritation and dryness due to its alkaline nature.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Drinking high amounts of high-pH drinking water can lead to gastrointestinal issues such as stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Taste and Odor: High-pH drinking water can affect the taste and odor of the water.
  • Mineral Deficiencies: High-pH drinking water may lack essential minerals like calcium and magnesium that are necessary for good health.

Low pH Drinking Water

Low-pH drinking water has a more acidic nature than neutral or alkaline. However, low-pH drinking water poses fewer health risks than high-pH drinking water.

Some potential harms associated with low pH include:

  • Corrosion: Low-pH drinking water can corrode pipes over time, leading to leaks or contamination.
  • Staining: Low-pH drinking water may stain clothes or fixtures due to its acidic nature.

Benefits of Drinking High-PH Water

While there are some risks associated with high-pH drinking water, there are also several benefits. These benefits include:

  • Alkalizing Properties: High-pH drinking water can help neutralize acid in the body, which may have several health benefits.
  • Hydration: Drinking high-pH water can help hydrate the body more effectively than low-pH water.

When to Drink High-PH Water

The best time to drink high-pH water is before or after a meal. Drinking high-pH water before a meal can help neutralize stomach acid and improve digestion. Drinking it after a meal can aid in the absorption of nutrients.

What Happens When the pH of Water Changes?

When the pH of drinking water changes, it can impact its taste, odor, and overall quality. For example, if the pH level becomes too acidic or alkaline, it may become less palatable or even harmful to consume.

What Happens to Water When TDS Level is High?

TDS stands for Total Dissolved Solids and refers to any minerals or salts present in drinking water. When TDS levels are high, it can impact the taste and quality of drinking water. High TDS levels may also indicate that other contaminants are present in the water.

Maintaining Optimal pH Levels for Safe and Healthy Drinking Water


Maintaining the optimal pH levels of drinking water is crucial to ensure safe and healthy consumption. The pH level of water determines its acidity or alkalinity, which can significantly impact our health and the environment.

Safe pH Range for Drinking Water

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends a safe pH range for drinking water between 6.5 and 8.5 on the pH scale. Water with a pH below 6.5 is acidic and can corrode pipes, causing metal leaching that may lead to health issues such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. On the other hand, alkaline water with a pH above 8.5 has also been linked to adverse health effects such as skin irritation, gastrointestinal problems, and even metabolic alkalosis.

Importance of Maintaining Optimal pH Levels

Maintaining optimal pH levels in drinking water is essential for several reasons:

  1. Health: The human body’s natural state is slightly alkaline with a blood pH ranging between 7.35-7.45; therefore, consuming too much acidic or alkaline water may disrupt our body’s natural balance.
  2. Taste: Water with an optimal pH level tastes better than acidic or alkaline water.
  3. Plumbing: Acidic water can corrode pipes over time leading to leaks while alkaline waters can cause mineral buildup leading to clogging.
  4. Environmental Impact: Overly acidic or basic waters can damage aquatic ecosystems by disrupting their food chains due to changes in PH altering nutrient availability.

Methods To Adjust The PH Levels

Several methods are available to adjust the PH level of your drinking water:

  1. Water Filters: Many filters come equipped with cartridge systems that can remove impurities and adjust the pH of water.

2. Reverse Osmosis Systems: Reverse osmosis systems are known to produce water with a neutral pH level, but it is essential to ensure that the system does not strip away beneficial minerals from the water in the process.

3. Soda Ash: Soda ash (sodium carbonate) is an alkaline substance used to raise the pH levels of well water or hard water. It should be used cautiously as overuse can lead to high levels of alkalinity.

4. Vinegar: Adding vinegar to acidic drinking water can help increase its pH levels; however, this method may not work for highly acidic waters.

5. Lemon Juice: Lemon juice contains citric acid, which can help lower the pH of overly alkaline drinking water. However, like vinegar, this method may not work for highly basic waters.

The Role of pH in Ensuring Safe and Healthy Drinking Water


In conclusion, maintaining a balanced pH level in drinking water is crucial for ensuring safe and healthy consumption. Understanding the acceptable range of pH levels according to WHO standards can help prevent health risks associated with high or low-pH drinking water. Drinking water with a balanced pH level not only ensures safety but also provides numerous benefits such as improved taste and quality.

To maintain optimal pH levels, regular testing and treatment may be necessary. It’s important to prioritize the safety of your drinking water by investing in reliable testing equipment or seeking professional assistance.

FAQs


Q: What is the ideal pH level for drinking water?

A: According to WHO standards, the ideal pH range for drinking water is between 6.5 and 8.5.

Q: Can high pH levels in drinking water be harmful?

A: Yes, high pH levels can lead to health risks such as skin irritation, digestive issues, and mineral imbalances.

Q: How does the taste of drinking water change with different pH levels?

A: Drinking water with a lower pH level may have a more acidic or sour taste while higher pH levels can make it taste bitter or alkaline.

Q: Is it necessary to test my home’s drinking water for its pH level?

A: Regular testing of your home’s drinking water can help ensure that it meets safe and healthy standards for consumption.

Q: Can I adjust the pH level of my home’s tap water on my own?

A: While some methods exist for adjusting the pH level of tap water at home, it’s recommended to seek professional assistance to ensure accuracy and safety.

About the author

I am Leena Raswant, a chemistry postgraduate. I thrive on challenges and continually specified goals. I aim to learn, unlearn, relearn and spread my knowledge in the best possible ways.