pH


What is pH?
This is a numerical expression that indicates the degree to which water is acidic or alkaline. These various degrees are represented on a scale of 0 to 14, with 0 being the most acidic, 14 most alkaline, and 7 neutral. Scientifically, pH is the negative logarithm of the effective hydrogen-ion concentration. High pH levels are undesirable since they may impart a bitter taste to the water. Furthermore, the high degree of mineralization associated with alkaline waters will result in the encrustation of water pipes and water-using appliances. Certain areas lacking limestone typically have low pH (acidic waters). A bluish-green stain on a tub or sink of a home using copper water pipes may indicate that acidic water is corroding the metal parts of the plumbing system.

How is pH tested?
A properly collected sample must be obtained. The “holding time” (i.e., time which pH must be analyzed after sample collection) is 15 minutes and is referred to as an “analyze immediately” parameter. The NJDEP certified test method is electrometric and utilizes a meter with a pH electrode. The meter/electrode must be calibrated prior to use using fresh buffers and provide for Automatic Temperature Compensation.

What is the current Standard?
pH is a constituent classified as a “secondary” standard and is regulated for aesthetic purposes with a recommended Optimum Range of 6.5 to 8.5. Certain counties that are known to have acidic water, such as Atlantic County, allow the pH for newly installed wells to range from 5.0 to 8.5.

What are the potential Health Effects with ingesting low or high pH in water?
The potential health effects are typically associated with related issues such as corrosive water causing the plumbing system to leach lead from the pipes. Your local health agency should be contacted to determine if the pH problem is endemic to the region.

Should I continue to use my water if the pH is not within the optimum range?
You should alert the local health agency and follow their advice.

What steps can I take to insure the proper pH levels in my water?
Short Term: purchase bottled water
Long Term: 1.) Connect to public water 2.) Well replacement 3.) Water Treatment: Point of Entry Treatment System (POET) or Point of Use (POU) Treatment System with pH adjustment. 4.) Contact you local Health Agency and a Water Treatment Professional.

If you install a water treatment system, be sure to conduct another test after the water has been treated to verify that the system is working effectively.


Where can I go for more information?
Your best help may be your local Health Agency. Also, go to the Helpful Links section of this website.


This information is meant to serve as a basic overview of the material discussed. Always obtain professional advice prior to implementing a plan of action.