Problem: Hard Water

Hard water is created when water passes through soft rock formations, such as shale and limestone, and picks up calcium and magnesium. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines hard water as “Alkaline water containing dissolved salts that interfere with some industrial processes and prevent soap from sudsing”. 

Hard water is easy to spot: it leaves bathtub rings made up of hardness minerals and soap. This scum collects on shower walls, clings to hair, and clogs skin pores. It can lead to dry skin, soap that does not lather well, clothing that is not as white (colors become dull after washing), rings in toilets, spotting on dishware and around the sink – and it is especially noticeable on stainless steel sinks (the spotting and white flaky rings are not necessarily due to poor housekeeping!). The calcium builds-up on heating elements causing them to fail prematurely, it causes water heaters to operate inefficiently (i.e. costs more money to operate), clogs coils and showerheads, and generally increases maintenance on water-using appliances.

Hard water is the most common water problem in the Centre County area. Hard water is measured in grains – up to 3 grains is slightly hard, up to 7 is mildly hard, up to 10 is hard, and over 15 is very hard. The average in this area is 15 grains and our tests have shown ranges from 0 to 85 grains per gallon. Public water supplies are tested and treated to safe drinking water standards, but are NOT treated for hard water, taste or odor.

Common Solutions:

ERR 3700 | ERR 3702 | ECR 3700 | ECR 3702 | ERRC 3702 | ESD 2750ESD 2752

Hard water is typically treated at the point-of-entry and can be treated with a water refiner, water conditioner or a water softener. The hard water passes through a tank containing resin beads. The resin beads hold sodium ions, which are exchanged with calcium and magnesium and thereby “softening” the water. When the resin reaches its capacity for water exchange, the water softener will regenerate with salt brine, which replaces the captured calcium and magnesium with a new batch of sodium ions, and the cycle begins again.

EcoWater water softeners are Energy-Star rated, which is a mark that indicates a product has met the strictest guideline for energy efficiency, set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy. EcoWater Systems designed the electronic power supply to meet these aggressive guidelines and is the only manufacturer to earn an Energy-Star rating! The ERR 3700 series water refiners are demand units (treating water based on usage and not period of time thereby maximizing the efficiency of salt use) and also treats chlorine in the water. The ECR 3700 series of water conditioners do all of the above but do not treat chlorine in the water. All of the 3700 series units have wifi capability which allow you to check on your softener from an internet-enabled device. And for a less expensive alternative, our ESD 2700 series is an efficient water softener without some of the advanced features. Regardless of which unit is right for your household, benefits include noticeably softer skin and hair, brighter clothing that will last longer, and your water-using appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, water heaters will be more efficient and last longer. You will also experience significant savings in detergent, energy, and salt costs, and even in your cleaning time. See your EcoWater dealer for the proper sizing for your specific situation. There are NO salt-free alternatives on the market  that can give you the feel and benefits of a water softener from EcoWater.

Problem: Iron

Iron water is created when water passes through iron-bearing rocks. Because iron accounts for 5% of all the earth’s crust, it can be found in just about all our water supplies. And if you have galvanized pipes in your home, the staining can be caused when water sits in your pipes.

The EPA Secondary Drinking Water limit for iron is only 0.3 parts per million (ppm). Water above 0.3 ppm causes staining on fixtures and laundry, makes water smell and taste bad, and can even clog pipes leading to pressure loss.

In the Centre County area, our testing has shown 0 – 100 ppm. It can also be detected by orange stains in your white laundry, fixtures, sink, toilet, a metallic taste in the water, or an orange film at the bottom of the glass if the water stands overnight.

Common Solutions:

ERR 3700 | ERR 3702 | ECR 3700 | ECR 3702ERRC 3702 | ESD 2750 | ESD 2752

Iron water comes in three types – clear water iron is clear at the tap but turns red after the iron has oxidized, red water iron is red at the tap because it has already oxidized before reaching the home, and bacterial iron water exhibits a slimy yellowish bacteria in the water.

A water softener will remove clear water iron and is typically installed at the point-of-entry. The top of the line ECR 3700 series can handle iron up to 30 ppm and larger light commercial equipment can handle even higher levels of iron in addition to radium, barium, and soluble lead. The ESD 2700 series can also handle high iron levels but is a less expensive alternative without all the advanced features of the ECR 3700. However, if the problem is more severe, a water softener will not be enough to treat the problem and typically oxidation and filtration is used.

Problem: Sulfur (ROTTEN EGG SMELL)

The cause of hydrogen sulfide is sulfate-reducing bacteria in groundwater, which produces hydrogen-sulfide gas as a by-product. And unlike most other contaminants, sulfur levels can change regularly as rainfall and barometric pressure changes. In Centre County, sulfur water is typically found in areas with a lot of shale. It is critical that the solution is sized accordingly and even better if it is adjustable. Stagnant water in pipes, like in bathrooms that are rarely used, can also cause the gas to concentrate and make the smell even stronger. Besides the foul odor, a black stain is usually present and sulfur can make the water corrosive. In extreme cases, the gas will tarnish metals throughout the house.

Common Solutions:

ETF 2300 | ETF 2300 AIV & EIV | Chlorine or Hydrogen Peroxide Feed with Retention Tank
Carbon Filtration | Aeration

Sulfur water is typically treated at the point-of-entry. It can be treated using an ETF 2300 with activated carbon that, when fed with the right amount of oxidant, the sulfide is converted to a filterable state and removed by automatic backwashing.

Problem: Bacteria

Bacteria in water can take many forms and the best way to know the type present is to have your water professionally tested. This test is performed by a local laboratory, needs a 24 hour incubation period (and therefore typically will not be collected on a Friday) and an extra charge applies.

A common symptom of bacteria in water is a slimy build-up in the toilet tank. Often different types of organic matter can cause your water to taste and smell bad and some types of bacteria, like E-Coli, can cause serious health problems. Many are just aesthetically unpleasant and cause troublesome issues with taste, odor, and bio-fouling problems.

Common Solutions:

UV Disinfection | Chlorine Feed with ETF | ETF AIV with Oxidation | Ozonation
Filtration | Ultra- Filtration | EPS 1000

After identifying the problem through professional testing, the process of eliminating the organisms can vary. Considerations include determining the most effective process due to other parameters found in the water, cost-effectiveness, and personal choice.

The most common treatment is UV disinfection or chlorination systems, which are installed at the point-of-entry. With UV disinfection, a ultra-violet light system kills bacteria as the water passes through the light chamber. With chlorination systems, like those used in municipal water supplies, chlorine is used to kill bacteria. But other options are available, such as ozonation, various oxidants, filtration and ultra-filtration.

The decision about which technology to use depends greatly on the water conditions and how much pre-treatment may be necessary to enable each process to work properly. For simply filtering drinking water at the point-of-use, the EPS 1000 is certified to meet or exceed the EPA requirement for the removal of bacteria, viruses and cysts such as cryptosporidium and giardia. Bacteria levels can vary throughout the year and you will have no idea of when it will appear. Therefore we suggest a proactive approach when bacteria are found in your water. If you will be selling or buying a home in the near future, banks will often require bacteria testing of the household water supply when homes are sold.

Problem: Chlorine

Chlorine can make water smell and taste bad. Chlorine is a powerful oxidant and is commonly used as a disinfectant in municipal water supplies to manage bacteria levels. Chlorine in drinking water can kill other potentially harmful organisms that seep into lakes, rivers, streams and ground water.

Chlorine, even at acceptable levels, can contribute to dry eyes and skin irritation as well as make conditions such as eczema worse. It can bleach or fade color in clothing over time. Chlorine is hard on rubber seals, such as those found in faucets, toilet flappers and most valves, which can causes leaks as the chlorine degrades the rubber in the seals over time.

Common Solutions:

ERR 3700 | ERR 3702 | ERRC 3702 | eVOLUTION 300 BOOST | ETF 2300 | ETF 2300 EIV
ERO 375 | HERO 375

Chlorine can be treated at the point-of-entry or the point-of-use. The EcoWater ERR 3700 both softens water and reduces chlorine from municipal or city water supplies at the point-of-entry. When chlorine removal is the sole concern, the ETF 2300 carbon filter is an ideal choice for the whole house. For drinking and cooking only solutions (e.g. kitchen, ice maker and wet bars) small point-of-use carbon filters or reverse osmosis is often the best option.

Problem: Nitrates

Nitrates can cause your blood to lose oxygen and have been linked to blue-baby syndrome. The legal limit in water is 10 ppm and is typically caused by use of fertilizers that run-off or seep into the groundwater.

Common Solutions:

ERO 375 | HERO 375 | ECR 3700 or ESD 2750 with Nitrate-reducing resin

Nitrates are typically treated at the point-of-use with reverse osmosis filtration, but can be treated at the point-of-entry with an ECR 3700 or ESD 2700 and nitrate-reducing resin.

Problem: Acid Water

Acid water cannot be detected by the water’s appearance, feel or odor. However, its symptoms are very apparent. Acid water is corrosive and can eat away at chrome fixtures, copper pipes, fittings, glassware, appliances, and the metal parts of water-using appliances. The corroded texture of fixtures and the blue-green stains on sinks and tubs are all signs of damage from acid water. Acid water causes pinhole leaks in copper pipes and, when the pipe is behind a wall or ceiling, the effects from water damage can be catastrophic.

Acid water is measured on the pH scale and water that is a 7 is neutral. The scale goes from 1 – 14, with values less than 7 considered acidic and values greater than 7 considered alkaline. The EPA recommends treatment of water below 6.5 or above 8.5 on the pH scale.

Common Solutions:

ETF 2300 with a Neutralizing Media | Pump with Soda Ash

Hard water is typically treated at the point-of-entry and can be treated with a water refiner, water conditioner or a water softener. The hard water passes through a tank containing resin beads. The resin beads hold sodium ions, which are exchanged with calcium and magnesium and thereby “softening” the water. When the resin reaches its capacity for water exchange, the water softener will regenerate with salt brine, which replaces the captured calcium and magnesium with a new batch of sodium ions, and the cycle begins again.

If low pH or acid water is the only problem present, it can be solved with either an ETF 2300 with neutralizing media or by a pump with soda ash at the point-of-entry. Acid neutralizers are best used when the pH is 5.5 or higher. It requires no maintenance on your part and only a periodic addition of the sacrificial media by EcoWater. Alkaline water requires the addition of a mild citric acid solution by means of a pump.

Problem: Bad Taste

There are a myriad of reasons why water might taste bad. If you have city water, it could be caused by chlorine or chlorine compounds used to treat the water, decaying organic matter, dissolved gases or minerals, or it may be coming from pipes in the ground.

If you have well water, it could be from hydrogen sulfide, iron, high total dissolved solids (TDS), chemicals, or bacteria. And let’s not forget those filters in your refrigerator or house which, if not changed regularly, can also make your water taste bad and potentially contain bacteria.

Note that refrigerator or other carbon filters should NOT be used with any water except microbiologically safe water (such as chlorinated city water). While carbon filtration will make your water taste better when used with microbiologically safe water, carbon also makes a good breeding ground for bacteria and can make your water worse if used with water that is not microbiologically safe.

Common Solutions:

ERO 375 | HERO 375 | Carbon Filtration | EPS 1000 | EcoTechProT | ETF 2300 | ETF 2300 AIV
ERR 3700 | ERR 3702 | ERRC 3702 | eVOLUTION 300 BOOST

The treatment will depend on the cause of the bad taste or odor, the specific parameters of the water to be treated, and personal preference. Microbiologically safe water can be treated at point-of-use by reverse osmosis or at the point-of-entry by carbon filtration. Other water sources may be treated by an EPS 1000 drinking water system at point-of-use, or may be treated at the point-of-entry by UV disinfection (if caused by bacteria) or specialty treatments intended to treat causes like hydrogen sulfide, iron, and TDS.

Problem: pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceuticals may enter our drinking water when people flush medications down toilets or take medications and, as not all of the medication may be absorbed into the body, the remainder passes through the body and into the sewer system. Wastewater treatment processes do not completely remove the pharmaceuticals during the treatment process and some of these pharmaceuticals are passed back into drinking water. Pharmaceuticals may include antibiotics, anti-seizure medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, antibacterial drugs, hormones, mood stabilizers, oral contraceptives and other drugs.

Common Solutions:

ERO 375 | HERO 375

While conventional water treatment may remove up to 50% of pharmaceutical contaminants from municipal water, the small particle size of pharmaceuticals makes it difficult for conventional water treatment to remove all of this contaminant. Reverse osmosis can remove up to 99% of pharmaceutical contaminants from drinking water.

Problem: Turbidity

Turbidity occurs when dirt, sand or other organic materials enter the water supply. You may see it at the bottom of the glass when you leave a glass of water sit overnight. This condition can lead to clogging in small water-bearing valves and can cause wear on valves, seals and washers. Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) are measured when this material dissolves into the water. This problem may also cause pipes to leak from erosion.

Common Solutions:

Filtration | ETF 2300

Turbidity can be controlled by backwashing filters which contain a bed of filtering media. Less severe cases of turbidity can be handled with a cartridge filter.

Problem: Toxic Chemicals

Toxic chemicals include Volatile Organic Contaminants (VOCs), Synthetic Organic Compounds (SOCs such as pharmaceuticals), TCE, PCB, THM, PCE, benzene, insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, etc. These chemicals commonly enter the drinking water from leaking underground storage tanks, industrial run-off, leaking landfills, toxic dumps and spills, or were used in farming before they were known to be harmful. Many are water-soluble and known to cause cancer when humans come into contact with them.

These chemicals can be ingested in your drinking water, inhaled in the shower, or absorbed through your skin when bathing. Testing for these contaminants are often performed only in the laboratory and testing for a long-list of contaminants can be very expensive (extra charges would apply). See the EPA water contaminant chart for more information.

Common Solutions:

ERO 375 | HERO 375 | Carbon-Based ETF 2300 | Filtration

For drinking water only (point-of-use), a reverse osmosis system does a great job in removing these contaminants while also making your water taste great. For higher flow rate needs, the ETF 2300 is the system of choice. Other solutions can include sediment filters, chemical contaminant filters, lead reduction filters and distillers. Contact your local EcoWater dealer for an appropriate treatment plan for your specific water problem(s).

Problem: Methane

While not as common as the other problems mentioned in this site, methane gas can occur naturally in some aquifers. It can be identified through odor and usually makes the water effervesce (seen as a fine stream of bubbles) as it comes out of the faucet and causes the water to be flammable. In extreme concentrations, it could be dangerous.

Common Solutions:


While uncommon in Centre County, it is present in some water supplies. Aeration is the typical solution and is applied at the point-of-entry.


The products and services are a sampling of the range of products and services we sell. Your local EcoWater Systems representative can show you how. Because every residence and business uses water differently, call your local EcoWater dealer to assess your use and make recommendations. Our equipment matches your specific usage requirements, for today and tomorrow.

Water Refining Systems

All of the functionality of a water conditioner, plus carbon for chlorine taste and odor removal

ERR 3700ERR 3702 | ERRC 3702 | EVOLUTION 300 BOOST

Water Conditioning Systems

Water softeners and conditioning systems

ECR 3700ECR 3702ESD 2750 | ESD 2752 | EVOLUTION 300 BOOST

Anti-Scale System

Reduces hard water scale, plus carbon for chlorine taste and odor removal


Commercial Water Softeners

Water softeners for commercial application

EWS 102S to 322S EWS 070S to 320S

Filtration / Drinking Water

All drinking systems will typically consist of a carbon media to remove tastes, odors and organic chemicals from water. Other types of filtration may be incorporated with the carbon to remove cysts and bacteria. Note that carbon-based filters should not be used with untreated water (non-municipal sources) as carbon media can be an excellent breeding ground for micro- biologicals.

Types of filters

Pitcher-style filters

Typically consists of carbon-based media where you pour the water into the top of the pitcher and the water will filter through to the basin of the pitcher after several minutes. Removes taste and odors, but should not be used with non-municipal sources. While the initial cost of this system is low, filters need to be changed often, which can make this system expensive over time.

Refrigerator filters

Typically consists of carbon-based filters that will supply water to your ice-maker and cold water dispenser on the exterior of the unit. The majority of these are not rated for microbiological removal and should not be used with non-municipal water sources.

Reverse Osmosis filters

Consist of sediment filtration, carbon filtration, and membrane technology, like EcoWater’s ERO 375. These systems are typically point of use with a dedicated faucet and provide all of the benefits of carbon filtration, but also filter down to the molecular levels and are able to remove minerals (i.e., sodium, calcium). Some may be rated for microbial removal -- read the label to be sure.

Microbial Filtration

Typically point of use like EcoWater's EPS 1000. Specialty Filtration

Includes iron filtration (ETF 2100), oxidation (ETF AIV & EIV) and de-ionization (DI) applications.

Specialty Treatment

We offer a variety of specialty treatment and services, including:

  • ‍Pumps
  • Chlorine Feed
  • Hydrogen Peroxide Feed
  • Aeration
  • Specialty Resin
  • Ozonation
  • Filtration
  • Ultra-Filtration
  • Carbon Filtration
  • Distillers
  • Line Chlorination
  • High-Volume Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra Violet (UV) Disinfection
  • Super-Chlorination
  • Water Testing

Service, Parts, Products

We keep a variety of parts and products in-stock, including:

  • ‍UV Bulbs
  • Filters
  • ‍Water Softener Salt
  • ‍Specialty Media and Resins
  • ‍Other Brands-Repair & Parts

Get in touch with Us

click here to contact US today by email
Please provide your name, contact information, and a description of the water treatment problem or inquiry.

2026 East College Avenue,
State College, PA 16801

(814) 231-0543