Frequently Asked Questions

What is the hardness of my water?
Depending on the manufacturer of your appliance, you need to know the ppm (parts per million) of your water or the "grains of hardness".  SOCWA water runs consistently at 100 ppm or 6 grains of hardness.
How much sodium (Na) does my water contain?
SOCWA water contains about 4 mg/L (milligrams per liter) of sodium year round.
How do I know that the water I am using is safe to drink?
SOCWA samples 56 sites throughout the service area every week to test for possible contamination. So rest assured, your water is safe.
My drinking water looks cloudy when taken from the faucet.  Should I be concerned?
No.  The cloudy water is caused by tiny air bubbles in the water similar to the gas bubbles in carbonated soft drinks.  After a while, the bubbles rise to the top and are gone.  This type of cloudiness occurs more often in the winter, when the drinking water is cold.*
Do you test for lead in drinking water?
No, we do not.  The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department tests our members' supply periodically.
Is it safe to drink from my garden hose?
No.  A standard vinyl garden hose has substances in it to keep the hose flexible.  These chemicals, which get into the water as it goes through the hose, are not good for you.  They are not good for animals or pets, either, so filling drinking containers for them out of a garden hose is not a good idea unless the water is allowed to run a while to flush the hose before using the water.*
Is water with chlorine in it safe to drink?
Yes.  Many tests have shown that the amount of chlorine found in treated water is safe to drink, although some people object to the taste.*
Should I buy bottled water?
Remember that US bottled water is less regulated than municipal drinking water.  You don't need to buy bottled water for health reasons if your drinking water meets all of the federal or state drinking water standards.  (SOCWA's water meets those standards).  If you want a drink with a different taste, you can buy bottled water, but it costs up to 1,000 times more than municipal drinking water.*
What do the labels on bottled water mean?
  • Artesian water or artesian well water is water that comes from a well drilled into a confined aquifer in which the water level stands at some height above the top of the aquifer.*
  • Groundwater is water from a subsurface saturated zone that is under a pressure equal to or greater than atmospheric pressure.  Groundwater must not be under the direct influence of surface water.*
  • Mineral water is water that contains not less than 250 milligrams per liter (mg/L) of total dissolved liquids coming from a source tapped at one or more bore holes or springs, originating from a geologically and physically protected underground water source.*
  • Purified water or demineralized water is water that has been produced by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis, or other suitable process that meets the definition of purified water in the United States Pharmacopeia, 23rd revision, January 1, 1995.*
  • Sparkling bottled water is water that, after treatment and possible replacement of carbon dioxide, contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had as it was taken from the source.*
  • Spring water is collected from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth.  Water must be collected at the spring or through a bore hole tapping the underground formation feeding the spring.*
How much water does one person use each day?
The US average is nearly 50 gallons used each day by each person.  Toilet flushing is by far the largest single use of water in a home.  Most toilets use from 4 to 6 gallons of water for each flush.*  The average five-minute shower uses between 15-25 gallons.**
How much water is wasted if a person has a dripping faucet?
A dripping faucet can waste up to 2,000 gallons of water a year.  A leaky toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water a day.**
How much of the earth's water is suitable for drinking water?
97% of the earth's water is salty or otherwise undrinkable.  Another 2% is locked in ice caps and glaciers.  That leaves just 1% for all of humanity's needs - all its agricultural, residential, manufacturing, community, and personal needs.**

*These answers were taken from Plain Talk About Drinking Water, Third Edition by Dr. James M. Symons.
**Taken from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency web site.