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Get Informed | Zinc

What is Zinc?

Zinc is a common element found in soil and the crust of the Earth, one of the 23 most common elements, and it can also be found in the air, water and our food. Zinc is one of the micro-nutrients that human bodies need to function and a deficiency in zinc has been associated with diarrhea and pneumonia. Zinc is a brittle metal that tends to have a blue-silver-like appearance.

How Does Zinc Become a problem?

Elevated levels of zinc in drinking water may cause the water to have a milky, chalky, or turbid appearance and a metallic/astringent taste. The symptoms of zinc poisoning include "low blood pressure, urine retention, jaundice, seizures, joint pain, fever, coughing, and a metallic taste in the mouth" (Source). For drinking water, the primary source of zinc would be naturally occurring zinc in the source aquifer, zinc compounds added to water to inhibit corrosion, and/or corrosion of galvanized piping and metal fixtures that are part of the plumbing system.

There have been programs in Pennsylvania to add organic-rich sewage sludge from sewage treatment plants to farm fields. The amount of sludge that is allowed to be applied per acre is determined by the concentration of various heavy metals in the sludge. In some cases, what limits the amount of sludge that can be applied is zinc, most of which is probably coming from galvanized piping.

What are the Health Risks for Zinc?

Elevated levels of zinc have been associated with stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting. Elevated levels of zinc may be associated with pipe and fixture corrosion and elevated levels of lead and cadmium or other corrosion by-products.

What are the Standards for Zinc?

Because of the aesthetic effects associated with zinc, the EPA has recommended a secondary drinking water standard of 5 mg/L.

Get Tested | Zinc

Unlike many contaminants in drinking water, this element is not potentially hazardous at levels or concentrations that do not impart a noticeable taste, odor, or appearance to the water. Your best course of action is to watch for the warning signs of a problem such as water that is milky, chalky, or turbid in appearance with particles that appear to settle out of solution with time or water that may have a metallic or astringent taste. If you notice corrosion of your metal piping and fixtures you may have a zinc problem with your water. It is critical that you have a comprehensive water screening test that includes the corrosion potential of your water and that you are aware of the source of your drinking water, surrounding land-use, type of household piping, local geology, and, in some cases, how your water well is constructed.

Level 1 | Observational Self-Testing

Level 1 Testing is done with simple observations that an individual can make with their own senses such as sight, smell, and taste. These observations can be readily apparent or can be observed as they change over time. In addition, accessible related information about the home can also be used to narrow down the cause of your water issues.

Notes on Level 1 Testing for Zinc

Other than looking for the warning signs of a problem, such as: evidence of corrosion, milky, chalky, or turbid water or water with a metallic or astringent taste, there are really no specific other signs of a zinc problem.

Observations for Zinc

You may have an issue with zinc and other corrosion by-products, if the water has a bitter taste, you experience blue-green, or green water, you have coatings or films that have a green or bluish-green tint, you have an elevated level of copper and or lead or the water has a milky or chalky appearance with or without corrosion-related problems.

Level 1 | Self-Test Web App
To do a quick and easy self diagnosis of your water, click the button below.
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Level 2 | Do-It-Yourself Testing

Level 2 Testing is Do-It-Yourself testing that can be done in your own home using a Testing Kit. After you’ve done Level 1 Testing, Level 2 Testing can confirm if your observations are correct. If your test results reveal the presence of a contaminant that is cause for concern, you can either proceed to determine the best treatment (see below) or continue to Level 3 Testing.

Notes on Level 2 Testing for Zinc

There are a number of low-cost effective "dip test" and corrosion test kits that may be useful in determining if you may have a problem with zinc in your drinking water and you may want to get some hair analysis completed.

Recommended Level 2 Tests
Crystal QuestCountertop Water Filter With Three Cartridges

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L4-methyl-tertiary">Note: Concentrations < 40 ppb</div>

View
Filter WaterFW-210 Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis System (Code A27AC)

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-uranium">Note: Uranium less than < 0.030 mg/L</div>

View
Crystal QuestWater Softeners & Salt Free Water Conditioners

<div class="product-note in-L6-alkalinity">Note: For High Hardness / Alkalinity</div>

View
Crystal QuestThunder 2000M Reverse Osmosis System with Ultrafiltration

<div class="product-note in-L6-benzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-carbon-tetrachloride">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chloroform-trichloromethane">Note: If the concentration is < 0.080 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-ethylbenzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-methylene-chloride-dichloromethane-dcm">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-tetrachloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trichloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-xylenes">Note: If the concentration is < 1 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-atrazine">Note: If the concentration is < 0.001 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-alachlor">Note: If the concentration is < 0.002 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-glyphosate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.7 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-2-4-d">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-bis-2-ethylhexyl-phthalate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.006 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trihalomethanes">Note: If the concentration is < 0.08 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-haloacetic-acids">Note: If the concentration is < 0.06 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chlorite">Note: If the concentration is < 0.8 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>

View
Recommended Products
Crystal QuestST-CRYS-D-02 | Countertop Water Filter With Three Cartridges

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L4-methyl-tertiary">Note: Concentrations < 40 ppb</div>

View
Filter WaterST-FILT-F-03 | FW-210 Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis System

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-uranium">Note: Uranium less than < 0.030 mg/L</div>

View
Crystal QuestLT-CRYS-W-03 | Water Softeners & Salt-Free Water Conditioners

<div class="product-note in-L6-alkalinity">Note: For High Hardness / Alkalinity</div>

View
Crystal QuestLT-CRYS-T-02 | Thunder 2000M Reverse Osmosis System with Ultrafiltration

<div class="product-note in-L6-benzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-carbon-tetrachloride">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chloroform-trichloromethane">Note: If the concentration is < 0.080 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-ethylbenzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-methylene-chloride-dichloromethane-dcm">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-tetrachloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trichloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-xylenes">Note: If the concentration is < 1 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-atrazine">Note: If the concentration is < 0.001 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-alachlor">Note: If the concentration is < 0.002 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-glyphosate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.7 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-2-4-d">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-bis-2-ethylhexyl-phthalate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.006 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trihalomethanes">Note: If the concentration is < 0.08 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-haloacetic-acids">Note: If the concentration is < 0.06 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chlorite">Note: If the concentration is < 0.8 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>

View

Level 3 | Informational Testing

Level 3 Testing is done through an accredited Water Testing Laboratory. With Level 3 Testing, you can order a testing kit that is used to prepare your sample and submit it to the lab. By utilizing a lab, you have the assurance that a certified water expert had analyzed your water sample. If your test results reveal the presence of a contaminant that is cause for concern, you can either proceed to determine the best treatment options (see below) or continue to Level 4 Testing - Certified Testing.

Notes on Level 3 Testing for Zinc

There are a number of excellent informational water testing programs that include zinc as part of the assessment. If you are going to have an informational water test completed, we recommend that you select a test that includes other trace metals and the general quality of the water. We recommend the National Test Labs Well Water or City Water Basic for a preliminary analysis of your drinking water and the Tap Score testing for a more detailed comprehensive analysis. In most cases, the National Testing Labs package is more than adequate.  If you suspect a corrosion-related problem, we recommend that the National Testing Labs Corrosion Check kit be added to your order.

Recommended Level 3 Tests
Crystal QuestCountertop Water Filter With Three Cartridges

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L4-methyl-tertiary">Note: Concentrations < 40 ppb</div>

View
Filter WaterFW-210 Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis System (Code A27AC)

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-uranium">Note: Uranium less than < 0.030 mg/L</div>

View
Crystal QuestWater Softeners & Salt Free Water Conditioners

<div class="product-note in-L6-alkalinity">Note: For High Hardness / Alkalinity</div>

View
Crystal QuestThunder 2000M Reverse Osmosis System with Ultrafiltration

<div class="product-note in-L6-benzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-carbon-tetrachloride">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chloroform-trichloromethane">Note: If the concentration is < 0.080 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-ethylbenzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-methylene-chloride-dichloromethane-dcm">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-tetrachloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trichloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-xylenes">Note: If the concentration is < 1 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-atrazine">Note: If the concentration is < 0.001 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-alachlor">Note: If the concentration is < 0.002 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-glyphosate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.7 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-2-4-d">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-bis-2-ethylhexyl-phthalate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.006 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trihalomethanes">Note: If the concentration is < 0.08 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-haloacetic-acids">Note: If the concentration is < 0.06 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chlorite">Note: If the concentration is < 0.8 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>

View

Level 4 | Certified Testing

A Level 4 Certified Test Test uses chain-of-custody with a water professional coming to your home to prepare the water sample and then works with an accredited laboratory in order to certify your test results. This type of testing not only gives you the highest level of assurance in the accuracy of your test results, but can also be used as a document in legal cases. For Baseline Testing, we recommend that you use Certified Testing.

Notes on Level 4 Testing for Zinc

In most cases a situation that needs certified testing for zinc will likely need to conduct testing for the specific cations and anions and in some cases microbiological agents that have created conditions that are contributing to the zinc in your drinking water. In some cases, it may be possible to predict which ions are more likely the problem based on your diagnostic analysis and the hazardous activity or event that may have contributed to this issue. If you need assistance, please contact our team.

Get Treatment |Zinc

Like most compounds, the treatment for the removal or reduction of zinc is dependent on the overall water quality of your drinking water and the intended use for that water. The most common treatment system may include a neutralizing filter with or without disinfection if the problem is associated with chemical or microbiologically induced corrosion. Other treatment alternatives include ion exchange softening, Distillation / Deionization, and Reverse Osmosis. In some cases, zinc can be removed by Particle Filtration and/or activated carbon.

Pretreatment may be needed in some cases to ensure acceptable treatment by the primary water treatment system. Some of the treatment technologies may not be amenable to point-of-entry or even whole-house treatments options. In these cases, point-of-use units may be the best option. Periodic testing should be maintained after the treatment system is in place to ensure objectives are being met and the system is operating properly. Most systems will require maintenance on at least an annual basis. As a safeguard against potential issues associated with Corrosion, it is necessary to conduct detailed water testing before and after any treatment systems and it may be advisable to include first-flush sampling as part of evaluating system performance.

Short Term Treatment

If the problem with zinc is related to internal corrosion within the system, the primary recommendation is to flush the cold water lines prior to use, use only a cold water tap for cooking, and consider installing a point-of-use water treatment unit that contains activated carbon or ion exchange media. If the source water is high in zinc and most of the zinc is present as suspended particles, it may be possible to install a point-of-use filtration system, but in many cases it may be advisable to use a bottled water source. The piping system of the home should be inspected for evidence of galvanic corrosion. Therefore, we recommend a comprehensive water quality test and hiring a water treatment professional.

Recommended Short-Term Treatments

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L4-methyl-tertiary">Note: Concentrations < 40 ppb</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-uranium">Note: Uranium less than < 0.030 mg/L</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-alkalinity">Note: For High Hardness / Alkalinity</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-benzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-carbon-tetrachloride">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chloroform-trichloromethane">Note: If the concentration is < 0.080 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-ethylbenzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-methylene-chloride-dichloromethane-dcm">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-tetrachloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trichloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-xylenes">Note: If the concentration is < 1 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-atrazine">Note: If the concentration is < 0.001 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-alachlor">Note: If the concentration is < 0.002 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-glyphosate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.7 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-2-4-d">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-bis-2-ethylhexyl-phthalate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.006 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trihalomethanes">Note: If the concentration is < 0.08 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-haloacetic-acids">Note: If the concentration is < 0.06 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chlorite">Note: If the concentration is < 0.8 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>

View
Contact a KnowYourH2O Recommended Professional

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Long Term Treatment

The cause or the causes for the elevated level of zinc must be identified and it would be advisable to mitigate them if possible. This may require changing or updating some of the piping and fixtures in your home or system. Depending on the cause of the elevated level of zinc, this may require installing a neutralization system to address issues with "corrosive water", a particle-filtration system if particles of zinc can be removed by filtration, or an ion exchange system for elevated levels of zinc. It is unlikely that the only problem will be the presence of zinc and before implementing a long term solution we strongly recommend a comprehensive water quality test and, in most cases, working with a local professional.

Recommended Long-Term Treatments

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L4-methyl-tertiary">Note: Concentrations < 40 ppb</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-bromate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.01 mg/L</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-uranium">Note: Uranium less than < 0.030 mg/L</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-alkalinity">Note: For High Hardness / Alkalinity</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-benzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-carbon-tetrachloride">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chloroform-trichloromethane">Note: If the concentration is < 0.080 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-ethylbenzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-methylene-chloride-dichloromethane-dcm">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-tetrachloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trichloroethylene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-xylenes">Note: If the concentration is < 1 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-atrazine">Note: If the concentration is < 0.001 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-alachlor">Note: If the concentration is < 0.002 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-glyphosate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.7 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-2-4-d">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-bis-2-ethylhexyl-phthalate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.006 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-trihalomethanes">Note: If the concentration is < 0.08 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-haloacetic-acids">Note: If the concentration is < 0.06 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chlorite">Note: If the concentration is < 0.8 mg/L (POU Device System Component)</div>

View
Contact a KnowYourH2O Recommended Professional

Not Up for A DIY or You have a series of issues? Need Help Identifying a Local KnowYourH20 Team Professional? Contact Us

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