What is Silica?
Silica is a hard, glassy mineral and one of the most abundant elements found in the Earth’s crust. Just like calcium, magnesium and other major minerals, silica is found in groundwater supplies at varying concentrations, depending on the surrounding rock. Continue reading to learn more about silica and the effects it can have on your water quality.
How Does Silica Get Into Drinking Water?
As water passes through the Earth, it dissolves silica from rocks and minerals. Because of this, most—if not all—water supplies contain some amount of dissolved silica. It’s also found in certain foods like oats, rice, strawberries and more.
The Effects of Silica in Water
There are two different forms of silica that end up in water: reactive silica and colloidal silica. Reactive silica is a very weak acid that dissolves in water, while colloidal silica has a glass-like structure that can damage surfaces, glassware and fixtures. While both forms of silica are harmless when ingested, they can also leave behind cloudy or milky spots on surfaces and fixtures, as well as white, chalky build-ups of minerals called scale.
Removing Silica from Water
There are multiple treatment options for removing silica from water, on both residential and commercial levels, based on identifying what type(s) are found in your water. After determining this through a free water test, here are the solution options.
Ultrafiltration systems have extremely fine membranes, giving them the ability to filter out solid matter on a microscopic level. Because colloidal silica is suspended in water, ultrafiltration is great for its removal. However, these systems cannot effectively remove reactive silica.
Ion exchange water softener systems remove dissolved ions from water, making them perfect to deal with the negative charge of reactive silica. Occasionally, these systems will need additional crystalline salt to continue working, which is something Kinetico can help with/deliver to you.
Reverse osmosis water purification systems have the advantage of removing both molecules and ions from water, effectively dealing with both reactive and colloidal silica in the process. However, some pre-treatment is still required for colloidal silica. RO systems also need annual maintenance and eventual membrane replacement, but Kinetico can advise on/help with all of this.
Keep Your Water Palatable and Your Appliances Clean
If you think silica could be causing damage in your home, schedule a free water test with one of our water experts today.