Over the past several months I noticed a brown build-up in our toilets. The toilets in our house are cleaned regularly, and within several days the bottom of the bowls have a significant brown build-up. I wondered what was this brown stuff being deposited and is there a reason to be concerned since our drinking water comes from the same source?  I became so concerned I decided to purchase a Total Deposited Solids (TDS) meter to test the water. The meter I purchased has a measuring range of 0-9990 PPM with an accuracy of +/- 2% FS.

Most Enchanted Hills homes are supplied water from Well #12. This well produces water with a very high hardness, usually in the range of 19 PPM. The water before it is sent out goes through a reverse osmosis process, which lowers the hardness level to around 15 PPM. We have a water softener where the tank is changed out twice per month because the resin is depleted quickly due to the hardness of the water. To test the level of the total deposited solids in my water I bypassed the soft water side of the tank so the water I was receiving came directly from the city source (hard and unsoftened). I ran the water in our kitchen faucet, full open, for about 10 minutes to clear out any soft water from the supply line. I then immersed the meter I purchased into the water sample. I did this a few times. Each time I was getting readings at 600 PPM total deposited solids and higher (610, 640, etc.). As a control I immersed the meter in samples of distilled water, and each time the reading was 0.

According to the EPA, any reading at or above 500 PPM total deposited solids in drinking water exceeds their maximum contaminant level standard. Based on the readings I was getting, the water from Well #12 far exceeds the EPA’s standard.

My next step was to contact the city to see what was in the total deposited solids in our water.  I asked two questions:

  1. Does your department have a list and the percentages of the components in the total deposited solids in the water supplied by the city to the homes served by Well #12?
  2.  When was the water last tested fortotal deposited solids?

The written response I received from the city: “Mr. Gordon the short answer is no we do not break down the constituents within the TDS samples.”

Citizens have a right to know what is in the water they are drinking. Now I am not saying that there is something harmful in the total deposited solids that are contained in the water from Well #12. I don’t know and apparently neither does the city of Rio Rancho. What I am saying is the level of total deposited solids in the water supplied by Well #12 far exceeds EPA standards. At a recent Public Infrastructure Advisory Board meeting, where two Department of Public Works directors were in attendance, I asked the question what was in the total deposited solids from Well #12? From the city officials, no response, nothing. Their silence, as they say, was deafening.

Given all the negative press that municipal and public water systems have received in the media in recent years, the citizens of Rio Rancho who are served by Well #12 have a right to know what constitutes the total deposited solids in their water and is it safe to drink.

Harry Gordon

Rio Rancho