Silica – The other white spot

Hardness or Silica?

A common concern from most the homeowners I speak with is that “ugly white film” around their house. The white build-up in question can typically be found on shower doors, appliances, glassware, faucets, etc. Most often the culprit is calcium and magnesium, commonly known as hardness. Hardness can easily be treated with a softener. However, in some cases the problem persists even after softening. If that’s the situation you are experiencing, perhaps you have a Silica problem.

Silicon Dioxide or Silica (SIO2);

is an oxide of the element silicon which is the second most abundant element found on earth. Silica is present in all natural water supplies in some form. Certain foods such as, strawberries, avocados, onions, root vegetables, wheat, and oat, contain silica. It can also be found in nature in sand, sandstone, quartz, flint, agate, and granite. Studies indicate that silica has health benefits and is needed for bone, cartilage, hair, and nail growth and it can be found in many supplements. Other studies show that Silica has no nutritional value. In either case, it does not appear that silica is harmful to the human body and is unregulated by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).

In a water supply, silica can exist in a dissolved, particulate or a colloidal form;

A colloid is a very fine suspended particle that does not readily settle. In high concentrations it can form hard white scale deposits. Treatment for silica depends on the form it’s in. It may be able to be removed with a simple filtration process if it’s in a particulate form. If it’s in a colloidal form it may require some chemical addition such as magnesium salts which then need to be followed by filtration or a reverse osmosis (RO) system. If you suspect silica is present in your water supply, there’s an easy way to test the scaling. Wipe the affected area with white vinegar. If the vinegar removes the scale or film, the problem is probably hardness. If vinegar does not clean the area the you likely have a silica problem.

Needless to say, silica removal isn’t as easy at appears. A salt based softener will not treat silica and the problem will remain even if the water is soft. Our ICS system with PolyHalt® treats both hardness and silica and is highly recommended to protect the down-stream flow and your appliances including, water heaters, dishwashers, washing machine, ice makers, etc. ICS systems are small, convenient, easy to install, and easy to maintain. For more information on PolyHalt® and other water treatment options visit our website at www.cascadianwater.com

Jodi Larsen
Jodi Larsen joined the Cascadian team in 2017. Jodi is new to the water treatment industry but is eager to learn and assist our customers in any way possible. Jodi grew up on the westside of the state and graduated from Puyallup high school. She moved to the Cle Elum area in 1998 where she has worked in a variety of jobs. She has an extensive background in customer service and feels that people truly are her strong suit. She enjoys working with customers, helping to define a problem, and collectively finding the best solution. When she’s not at work Jodi is very active in our local Rotary Club where she advises our Interact club. Interact is a youth-based community service club comprised of students from 6th to 12th grade. She has taken kids on several international trips to developing countries where they focus on clean water, sustainability, and educational opportunities. She is also a long-time board member for ARRF Animal rescue, was recently elected to The Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce board and has served on our local City Council. She truly enjoys being part of the solution both professionally and personally. We are happy to have her on our team and know that you will be well cared for should you need anything.