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Water Hardness


Water Hardness

Hardness is caused by compounds of calcium and magnesium, and by a variety of other metals. Water is an excellent solvent and readily dissolves minerals it comes in contact with. As water moves through soil and rock, it dissolves very small amounts of minerals and holds them in solution. Calcium and magnesium dissolved in water are the two most common minerals that make water "hard."

If you’ve noticed signs of hard water in your home, like buildup on plumbing fixtures, soap scum on shower doors, or difficulty producing a lather, you may be wondering just how hard your water is.

The hardness of water is referred to by three types of measurements: grains per gallon, milligrams per liter (mg/L), or parts per million (ppm).

Water Hardness Scale
Grains per Gallon Milligrams per Liter or Parts per Million Classification
Less than 1.0 Less than 17.1 Soft
1.0 to 3.5 17.1 to 60 Slightly Hard
3.5 to 7.0 60 to 120 Moderately Hard
7.0 to 10.5 120 to 180 Hard
Over 10.5 Over 180 Very Hard

City of Hesston Water Hardness (average)
Grains per Gallon Milligrams per Liter or Parts per Million Classification
12.2 210 Very Hard

Hardness does not pose a health risk to the public and is not regulated by state or federal agencies. But hard water can be a nuisance due to the mineral buildup on plumbing fixtures and poor soap and detergent performance. It often causes aesthetic problems, such as an alkali taste to the water that makes coffee taste bitter; build-up of scale on pipes and fixtures than can lead to lower water pressure; build-up of deposits on dishes, utensils and laundry wash tubs; difficulty in getting soap and detergent to foam; and lowered efficiency of electric water heaters.

Water customers may treat hard water by adding a water softener to laundry and the dishwasher or by installing a water softener system to treat all of your household water. The City does not provide a recommendation for the public with respect to installing water softener systems; the decision to soften water is a personal one and should be done following one's own analysis and research.
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