The Science Behind The Perfect Glass Of Water

Water--everyone needs it. Over the years, humans have learned that no two water sources are the same. As a business that uses potable water for your customers and clientele, having water that is clean, clear and potable can help you to boost satisfaction. Science has proven that it's possible to go above and beyond water that is simply "drinkable. Many different minerals and substances can increase its palatability. Learn what goes into making the perfect water from a scientific standpoint right here

What Impacts the Flavor of Water?

Research has shown that water does indeed have a flavor of its own--but not quite in the same way as food or other liquid substances. In an article by PopSci, two main concepts were covered:

  • The idea that mammals have an inherent ability to detect water, and thus, the flavor of it
  • The idea that water only holds flavor on a reactive basis--what you ingest beforehand will change your perception of its flavor

It's also possible that both of these theories act in tandem. 

Putting aside the fact that personal perception does play a role in how water tastes, several other substances can impact flavor:

  • Minerals
  • Chemicals
  • Cleaning substances
  • Filtration substrates used to clean it
  • Naturally occurring sedimentation or particles

Each of these has the potential to cause it to taste bitter, sweet, sour, or even salty.

How Minerals Impact Water Flavor

Most minerals are naturally occurring--they soak into the water from the ground itself. Some of these are even necessary for the human body to function correctly--iron, potassium, and magnesium are three examples of this. While you won't get your daily requirements from water alone, the levels typically presented aren't dangerous or risky.

  • High-iron water often tastes coppery and may also have an orange tinge
  • High-potassium water will often taste slightly salty or even bitter
  • High magnesium content will often give a chalky or sour

Some minerals and heavy metals can be dangerous when present in anything but trace amounts. Lead and fluoride are both naturally-occurring, but potable water is either free of or stripped free of these particles before it can be ingested.

Soft Water vs. Hard Water

Saying soft versus hard water is a bit of a misnomer--water isn't physically soft or hard, these terms refer to the content held within them. Hard water has a higher level of dissolved minerals and particulates.While this isn't always dangerous--and in fact, can even sometimes benefit health--hard water often tastes metallic and may break down metal piping.

Many homeowners choose to use a softener to break down these particulates. This process also exchanges metal ions for sodium ions. Soft water may also be created by introducing microscopic silica particles, giving it a distinct flavor that is pleasant for most palates.

The Role of Filtration and Chemicals

In towns and cities, chemicals may be added to the water for a number of reasons. Chlorine is sometimes used to help prevent pathogens and certain bacteria from making people sick. Conversely, many areas introduce fluoride to the water, as it is thought to benefit tooth enamel. This can help to reduce tooth decay and may boost oral health. 

While Health Canada does endorse both of these chemicals as safe for use within specific parameters, each can introduce an unwanted flavor to potable water. Finding the right balance can be difficult--this is also why city water often tastes much different than lake or spring water.

Filtration can improve the flavor of water that has chemical additives. Often, carbon is the chosen filtration method, as it is extremely effective at removing particulates. Carbon itself typically doesn't introduce new flavors to water.

Odors as an Indicator for Particulate Content

Ideally, water shouldn't have an odor--if it does, you may be dealing with high levels of chemicals or minerals. Pouring a glass of water and then inhaling deeply just above the glass is an excellent way to detect odors best. 

  • Rotten egg smells point to high sulfur content
  • Bleach smells point to the recent addition of chlorine
  • Sewage smells can point to a water main breech or bacterial overgrowth in pipes
  • Strong-smelling well water may have high bacteria overgrowth
  • Smelling oil, gas, or other fuel products may point to an underground natural gas source near water

Ideally, potable water shouldn't have any of these odors at all. Of each on this list, sewage smells and smelling petroleum carry the most risk. Always contact a water specialist if you detect either of these.

Having easy access to clean drinking water is important for every person in Canada. If you own a business that takes in potable water, the above information can help you to ensure that you receive a high-quality product each time you place an order. Better tasting potable water can help to make for satisfied workers and customers overall. For questions about water flavor or any other water issue, contact a potable water company today.