Alsace Water Treatment

While Beer is 90-97% water, it is a very tricky subject.

Alsace Water Treatment

Postby fore » Tue Mar 10, 2015 22:54

YES! So my 2 Salifert tests came (Ca & KH/Alk) and I now know my water readings (tonight at least), which are 38ppm Calcium and 291 alkalinity as CaCO3. My water report also gives me rough estimates for chloride & sodium. All plugged into Jim's calculator (some estimates to get ions to balance), CRS selected, water profile hit (74 Ca, 15 CO3...OK?) and needed additions now clear. Only one problem, I don't plan on using CRS, I plan on using phosphoric acid (ready availability). There is no option for phosphoric on either Jim's site or Palmer's spreadsheet, so I'm left a bit stuck. Where am I best to turn for a tool with phosphoric acid, or is there a way to trick Jim's into thinking I'm using phosphoric by playing with the numbers?
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby AltonAnt » Tue Mar 10, 2015 23:01

BruNwater has an option to select phosphoric.
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby fore » Tue Mar 10, 2015 23:16

Super. I'm diving in, thanks.
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby Aleman » Wed Mar 11, 2015 00:45

fore wrote:I now know my water readings (tonight at least), which are 38ppm Calcium and 291 alkalinity as CaCO3.

:shock: :shock: :shock: With an alkalinity that high I would be expecting calcium to be around the 110-140 mark?? I know there are places (mainly in the North East) where Magnesium carbonate dominates, but even then the magnesium is only around the 35 mark, with calcium still higher. . . . What are is thewater companies estimate for sodium??

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby fore » Wed Mar 11, 2015 19:45

You forget I started your rant on the other site which led to the OP here. I'm in Alsace, between the Vosges & the Black Forest mountains. Yes it's taken me a year to get to this point; second child born in October, no miracles.

I'm quite confident with my measurements. It was quite funny during the Alk test, as I was following the instructions to the letter, but very slowly my syringe of 1ml completely ran out. It was borderline though, finally running until 1.04 ml. I did the test twice.

I do have a carbon filter in the main line of my house, but I doubt that changes much. I haven't changed the filter for about 3 years.

I haven't contacted my water company for more details yet, but they do offer a basic report, so the full details I hold are:

Ca 37.5ppm (my measurement)
Mg unknown
Na 10.7 mg/l (water report)
CO3 174ppm (as determined by Jim's using my Alk measurement)
SO4 unknown
Cl 33 mg/l (water report)
Alkalinity 291ppm
Hardness 41.7 French degrees or 417 ppm (water report - but not used in Jim's)

All said, the acid and salt adjustments necessary suggested by Jim's seem fairly small (to an uninitiated like me).
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Re: Water Treatment

Postby Aleman » Thu Mar 12, 2015 20:11

While I had forgotten, there is still something wrong with those figures, The positive ions must balance the negative ones if you just take what you have and convert them to millequivilants you have a 'balance' of -4.41 In other words your negative ions (6.75 meq) are way more than your positive ones(2.45 meq), and that simply cannot exist and be correct. While I suppose it is possible for you to have a magnesium value in excess of 50, it would have to be higher than that as you are bound to have some sulphate present which screws the balance even further.

Are you certain that there is no whole house ion exchange water softener fitted somewhere in you incoming supply?? :scratch: :scratch:

The only way to be sure of what is going on here is to send a sample of your water away for analysis. Neil at phoenix analytical (PM wallybrew on here) runs a great service and for 25 quid you get calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulphate, chloride, nitrate, phosphate and alkalinity. you would need to send him a 500ml sample though.

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
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Re: Alsace Water Treatment

Postby Eric » Thu Mar 12, 2015 22:36

As said, that measurement for calcium is remarkably low for an alkalinity level of 291ppm CaCO3.
If all 38ppm calcium was used in the creation of alkalinity, it would only account for 95ppm CaCO3.
I read that the limestone in Alsace does include up to 50% dolomite containing significant proportion of magnesium [CaMg(CO3)2], but even if there was 100% dolomite where that water was captured there would need to be 57ppm calcium to cause that measured level of alkalinity AND no other (salts of) calcium present.

Certainly worth getting that checked before making decisions on treatment.
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Re: Alsace Water Treatment

Postby Aleman » Fri Mar 13, 2015 09:36

One thought I've just had would be to run the water off to test before the carbon filter, just in case that is actually a 'salt' powered ion exchange filter as well.

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
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Re: Alsace Water Treatment

Postby fore » Fri Mar 13, 2015 21:06

I wondered where this discussion had gone :?.

Now with all your comments, I wonder if I have made a mistake on the Calcium test (or if there is something wrong with the kit). I know I had the right procedure with the Alk test, because I tested the test vial and got the right reading. The Calcium test was very different, changing colour almost immediately (twice). I can't see how it would have gone wrong, but no harm testing again.

My first idea that something was strange was when I pushed my numbers through Jim's to give me a magnesium estimate, then copied the numbers over to Brun. In Brun, the magnesium number came out in red highlight, and the comment said 30 as the limit, and I was up around 55 or 70 depending on the balance I chose with sulphate. I was learning a lot as I went, and to be honest was far from understanding most of it, but I think I got the general gist.

I'm a bit peeved I bought the 2 kits to put this all behind me and it just seems to have raised a lot more question. Might end up with a full test after all. Here's the filter in the main line of my house. Like I say, I've not changed the filter for a few years.
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Re: Alsace Water Treatment

Postby fore » Fri Mar 13, 2015 21:37

I wonder about this kit; it just gave me the same reading again. Can you confirm that the Ca-2 & Ca-3 bottles are normally clear water like liquid? If my kettle furs extremely easily, can it be possible at all that my calcium level is so low? Is there any way of creating some sort of test solution; I don't know, using salt or milk or something, at least something known to be high in Calcium?
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Re: Alsace Water Treatment

Postby Aleman » Fri Mar 13, 2015 21:58

The solubility limit of calcium sulphate is 2930mg/l so if you try and dissolve 3g of gypsum in 1L of water, then take 100ml of the solution and add it to 900 ml of water you should have around 290mg/l of calcium in it. . . This would give you a test solution that is in the best area for the accuracy of the kit. I know with my kit even with a very low level of calcium (mine used to be around 34, it's dropped recently) the kit is fairly accurate (within the limit of the kit) . . . My kit is in the brewery, I'll nip out tomorrow and check it all, but from what I remember 2 and 3 are clear.

Is there anyway you can take a sample of water before it goes through the filter??

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
Albert Einstein wrote:Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
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Re: Alsace Water Treatment

Postby Eric » Fri Mar 13, 2015 22:05

That filter appears to do what you thought and said.

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Putting thinking cap on. Do you have any washing soda, calcium chloride flake or gypsum and scales capable of weighing small amounts?
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Re: Alsace Water Treatment

Postby Aleman » Fri Mar 13, 2015 22:09

Removes scaling and descales the installation by electric fields

That could be reducing the calcium

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
Albert Einstein wrote:Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
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Re: Alsace Water Treatment

Postby Eric » Fri Mar 13, 2015 22:25

Aleman wrote:The solubility limit of calcium sulphate is 2930mg/l so if you try and dissolve 3g of gypsum in 1L of water, then take 100ml of the solution and add it to 900 ml of water you should have around 290mg/l of calcium in it. . . This would give you a test solution that is in the best area for the accuracy of the kit. I know with my kit even with a very low level of calcium (mine used to be around 34, it's dropped recently) the kit is fairly accurate (within the limit of the kit) . . . My kit is in the brewery, I'll nip out tomorrow and check it all, but from what I remember 2 and 3 are clear.

Is there anyway you can take a sample of water before it goes through the filter??


? Is that bit right?
Gypsum .......... CaSO4.2H2O ............ molar weight 172g............... calcium molar weight 40g.

3g gypsum contains 3 x 40 / 172 = 698mg calcium.

A tenth of that amount in one litre would be 69.8mg/l.

Worse than that, if that water is like mine, and I suspect it is, there's little chance of getting 3g gypsum to dissolve in a single litre. I put 2g in 30 litres in the boiler last weekend and most is still there.
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Re: Alsace Water Treatment

Postby Eric » Fri Mar 13, 2015 22:28

Aleman wrote:
Removes scaling and descales the installation by electric fields

That could be reducing the calcium


Thought that meant it descaled the workings of the filter.

I don't really know where we go from here without doing a test as you suggest or one in a reliable and well equipped lab.
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Re: Alsace Water Treatment

Postby Aleman » Sat Mar 14, 2015 00:23

:doh: :doh:

Well done Eric

Calcium levels are not right, that water would end up with 290mg of CaSO4.2H2O in it so yeah about 68g of Calcium.

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
Albert Einstein wrote:Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
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Re: Alsace Water Treatment

Postby wallybrew » Sat Mar 14, 2015 17:25

fore wrote:I wonder about this kit; it just gave me the same reading again. Can you confirm that the Ca-2 & Ca-3 bottles are normally clear water like liquid? If my kettle furs extremely easily, can it be possible at all that my calcium level is so low? Is there any way of creating some sort of test solution; I don't know, using salt or milk or something, at least something known to be high in Calcium?

Go and buy a bottle of water that has the calcium level quoted on it.
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Re: Alsace Water Treatment

Postby fore » Fri Sep 11, 2015 22:02

Aleman wrote:The solubility limit of calcium sulphate is 2930mg/l so if you try and dissolve 3g of gypsum in 1L of water, then take 100ml of the solution and add it to 900 ml of water you should have around 290mg/l of calcium in it. . . This would give you a test solution that is in the best area for the accuracy of the kit. I know with my kit even with a very low level of calcium (mine used to be around 34, it's dropped recently) the kit is fairly accurate (within the limit of the kit) . . . My kit is in the brewery, I'll nip out tomorrow and check it all, but from what I remember 2 and 3 are clear.

Is there anyway you can take a sample of water before it goes through the filter??


All tests now complete. Both Salifert water tests check out. Saturated gypsum with the Calc test came out close to expected result. I again used the test vial for the Alk test and that also came out close to expected result. I have now also tested my water with and without my mains water filter. The water filter made no difference actually, and the results were not too far from original readings. The Calc still comes out at about 35-40 ppm, and the Alk is now a bit lower, in the region of 250 as CaCO3.

So obviously I have some weird numbers in the other ions. Here is the last water supplier report and it seems to me it's the sodium causing the imbalance...

Hardness: 180 ppm
pH: 8
Calcium: 26 mg/l
Magnesium: 28 mg/l
Sodium: 76 mg/l
Potassium: 1.1 mg/l
Chloride: 27 mg/l
Sulfates: 69 mg/l
Nitrates : 4 mg/l

With this entered into Brun Water, I now reach quite a close ion balance. Long term I think I'll have my water fully tested, but in the short term I'll just run with what I have here.

So, if I understand correcty, if I'm going to brew a pale ale, it would help to bring the Alk right down. I have 75% phosphoric acid for that. Then onto adding back calcium. If I have high sodium, as seems to be, I should keep subsequent sulphate addition to a minimum, i.e. avoid gypsum and stick with Calcium Chloride. The Brun Water calculator suggest I add 0.1 g/l calcium chloride, and 0.4 ml/l phosphoric acid 75%. That brings Alk right down and leaves me with about 67 ppm calc.

My calcium chloride is liquid, 33%. So to hit 0.1 g/l, I'm thinking I need to add 0.3 ml/l. So in 32 litres treated for example, I'll be adding 9.6 ml of my liquid calcium chloride, and 12.8 ml of phosphoric acid.

Do those sound reasonable volumes? I ask as I have never done this before and these calcuations might be a factor of 10 out, and you might see that straight away. Thanks.
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