Little Girl, BIG Problem

Feb. 25, 2019

Dealer installs custom system to address child’s health concerns

About the author:

Michelle Rucks is the owner of Rocky Mountain Water Conditioning. Tom Kinnane is COO of Rocky Mountain Water Conditioning. Rucks can be reached at [email protected]. Kinnane can be reached at [email protected]. They can be reached at 888.741.1711.


Sometimes you meet someone and just do not know where the story will go. 

Rocky Mountain Water Conditioning was fortunate to be allowed to set up a table and sign at a local home and ranch store in suburban Denver. We had the opportunity to speak with some locals about their water quality. One young woman we spoke with was concerned about her water quality—
specifically hardness—and we scheduled a time to come speak with her. 

During our presentation a few weeks later, I determined her water characteristics to be the following:

  • Total dissolved solids (TDS): 133 ppm; 
  • Hardness: 5 grains per gal; 
  • pH: 7.5; and
  • Chlorine: 0.2 ppm. 

At first glance, aside from the hardness, the water was not challenging.

After my tests and our discussion about how we could address the water issues, it became clear to the customer that the system would not only soften the water, but reduce certain metals. She shared that her young daughter is not able to excrete metals as most of us do, and the metals build up in her body. She also has cerebral palsy, so the elimination of any unhealthy variables always is beneficial. 

We are an authorized Hague Quality Water Intl. independent dealership and Hague’s equipment, specifically its technologically advanced design features, allows us to customize our systems to address specific water quality issues. The customer focused on this fact and asked us to modify one of our standard configurations to address a broader spectrum of metals. The compartmentalized design of our systems allows us to use multiple media in a single tank to address a number of issues. This generally is not possible, but can result in significant space savings and reduce client costs.

The customer asked me to research ways to reduce other metals in their water supply. Since moving to Colorado from Indiana, her daughter’s metals test results had returned much higher than previous tests. I began to research how different media could reduce different metals. 

Once my research was complete, I sent the customer a proposed design that would reduce a wide spectrum of metals, including copper, lead, barium, fluoride, nitrate, nitrite, molybdenum, strontium and vanadium.

The Trouble With Metals

In “Toxicity, Mechanism and Health Effects of Some Heavy Metals” by Monisha Jaishankar, Tenzin Tseten, Naresh Anbalagan, Blessy B. Mathew and Krishnamurthy N. Beeregowda, the authors state that heavy metals “[i]n small amounts they are required for maintaining good health but in larger amounts they can become toxic or dangerous. Heavy metal toxicity can lower energy levels and damage the functioning of the brain, lungs, kidney, liver, blood composition and other important organs. Long-term exposure can lead to gradually progressing physical, muscular, and neurological degenerative processes that imitate diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and muscular dystrophy. Repeated long-term exposure of some metals and their compounds may even cause cancer. The toxicity level of a few heavy metals can be just above the background concentrations that are being present naturally in the environment.“

The customer supported and approved the configuration of the single tank, multi-compartment and multiple media design. The approved design includes the following media, in order of contact with the influent:

  • 5 lb integrated self-cleaning filter media (25-µ nominal rating);
  • 2 lb KDF 55 filter media as chlorostat; 
  • 0.4 cu ft of strong base anion resin;
  • 1.06 cu ft of strong acid cation resin; and
  • 2 lb of KDF 55 as a bacteriastat (embedded beneath the cation resin).

The unit regenerates approximately every seven days using roughly 6 lb of salt—about triple the standard factory salt recommendation—in order to adequately regenerate both resins. Regeneration takes approximately 31 minutes and sends just 45 gal of water to drain. Even at approximately 6 lb of salt per regeneration, this represents a low operating cost with respect to salt consumption and exceptional efficiency. In an area like ours that is challenged by drought, reducing water consumption also is a priority.

Remarkable Results

A couple of weeks after the installation, I returned to do some follow-up tests and make sure the family was happy. Hardness tested 0 grains per gal, chlorine was 0 ppm and the TDS was only 6 ppm. Everybody was happy. 

Several months later, in February 2018, I received this email from the customer:

“We just got my daughter’s latest hair heavy metal test results back. I have attached the past three years of test results. We moved to Colorado in July 2015. Before moving here she did not have any metals high. You put in our water treatment system [in the summer of 2017]. I thought you would enjoy seeing how much improved her heavy metals are now. “

The results of the tests represented a three-year low in the child’s bodily retained metals levels, reflecting results obtained in Indiana prior to moving to Colorado. 

The results provided by the whole-house system are supplemented by the reverse osmosis (RO) system. Rocky Mountain Water Conditioning sends filter change reminders to all of our clients, and this customer purchased five years worth of filters for her RO. I am confident that it remains a well-maintained RO system. Anything the family cooks in water is cooked in RO water. All vegetables are rinsed in RO water. The RO is tied into their refrigerator’s icemaker. All of the family’s drinking water comes from the RO. They upgraded to a larger-than-usual RO storage tank, so they have plenty of stored RO water on hand.

It is always great to be able to make a family’s water softer—make their water heating more efficient, extend the lives of their appliances, allow them to reduce soap consumption, make their skin feel better, preserve their plumbing fixtures. But it is not often—if at all—that we are able to take what we do every day and turn it into something that makes a little girl’s life better. 

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