Water quality in WA

Submitted: Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 10:36
ThreadID: 77464 Views:3344 Replies:10 FollowUps:4
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We are slowly (very slowly) heading toward SW WA and have heard a few times that the water in WA and in particular in the SW of WA has a high calcium content which clogs up the pipes in the van particularly HWS, Washing Machine and Shower etc.
Suggestions are that an external water filter is strongly advised - ie filter that filters all water before it gets into the van, tanks or mains pressure.
Comments from the wise please.

Julie & John
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Reply By: Rangiephil - Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 10:48

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 10:48
I recently visited NW WA and that certainly is the situation there. In Karratha and other places the water is sourced from spriings at Millstream etc , that are very high in calcium carbonate.

I meet a guy in Millstream (from Karratha) who had a 1 year old genuine radiator core in his 80 series LC spring a leak in the core. I will bet the dealer used tap water and it blocked.
AFAIK a filter will not achieve anything as the calcium carbonate is fully dissolved. Maybe you need a reverse osmosis purifier.

I always use distilled water for Rad and windsceen washers, and often packaged water for drinking. I would suggest do not use your shower and HWS etc while in those areas. Cold water pipes should not be affected much.

Regards Philip A

AnswerID: 411685

Follow Up By: Member - joc45 (WA) - Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 16:10

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 16:10
Hi Philip,
AFAIK, Karratha's water mostly comes from the Harding Dam, and the Millstream aquifer (which was once the only source) is now only drawn on during very dry periods.

FollowupID: 681736

Reply By: Member - Darryl P (SA) - Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 11:04

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 11:04
i think you will find that there are no filters for that application on the market at the moment the filters that you see on the outside of vans are mainly for bacteria
but if you do find one let us all know about it
AnswerID: 411687

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 11:05

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 11:05
Hi Julie and John,

Anywhere there is limestone the water will have calcium dissolved in it. Filtering will not remove it - simply because it is dissolved - filters only remove particles.

Calcium does eventually build up in pipes etc but it will take time. If you are only going to be in the area for a few weeks I doubt that you would have a problem. In any case other areas that you travel to may have slightly acidic water which will help get rid of any minor deposits.


J and V
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Reply By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 11:27

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 11:27
I think this must be some sort of record. I agree with John and Val. Plus, most modern vehicles should not be using water in the radiator anyway. Th heads of some vehicles and "water" pumps no longer like it. You should be using coolant. If you lose coolant and are forced to use water in an emergency, that's OK but you should flush it out and replace with coolant when you can.
Re the rest of you system, it takes a while for calcium to build up enough to cause any problems. Asa John said, a bit of water that's a little acidic will fix it. If unsure, put half a litre of vinegar into your water tanks (not the radiator), say once a month, and just run the various appliances to flush it through the system.
AnswerID: 411689

Reply By: Ray - Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 13:15

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 13:15
Lived in W.A. most of my life and done alot of caravaning. Never had a problem
AnswerID: 411697

Reply By: Notso - Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 13:25

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 13:25
We've travelled through WA on numerous occasions with the Van and had no problems.

Mind you the water is pretty hard up there and to get a drink sometimes you have to turn the tap on, let it run for a second or two then grab the stream of water coming out and break it off. Then chew it!
AnswerID: 411698

Follow Up By: Fatso - Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 17:05

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 17:05
Now that's hard.
FollowupID: 681744

Reply By: landseka - Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 14:20

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 14:20
We have lived in the S/W of WA for 16 odd years now and have never had a calcium build up problem, or any other sort of build up in the house OR van plumbing.

The only place in Oz I have seen this happening was in Mt Gambier SA whose water is very high in calcium, or is it lime(stone). Whatever, every couple years there you need to clean kettles & pipes etc to clear the white crud caked in them.

Cheers Neil
AnswerID: 411702

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 14:58

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 14:58
Can't say re filtering, though we used the water everywhere in that region without issue. One thing that we did note in the SW and then on our way up the west coast was the striking dark orange/rusty stains on anything hit by water sprinklers - walls, power poles, kerbs, buildings etc. - a local told us re the high mineral content in the ground water, causing all this !
AnswerID: 411703

Follow Up By: Member - joc45 (WA) - Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 16:04

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 16:04
Hi Darian,
The stains on walls are from iron in the water from domestic reticulation bores, usually less than 30m deep. There is usually also a noticeable level of hydrogen sulphide.
This is not an issue with scheme water; it is pulled from very deep aquifers, or from dams in the hills, and undergoes extensive treatment before reticulation to the public, but the dissolved calcium salts remain and occasionally one gets high chlorine levels, part of the treatment. I use a Brita filter to remove the chlorine taste, and the water tastes better than bottled water.
About once a year, I put some citric acid in my electric kettle to remove any scale, but that's about it.
It is a fact that hot water systems last less in Perth than in the other states, but I don't think that a few weeks in WA is going to radically affect one's caravan plumbing (or one's own plumbing, for that matter :-).

Interestingly, people are happy to pay $$ for bottled "mineral" water; ie, containing minerals, on the assumption that they must be good for you, but shy away from scheme water containing minerals. If they want really pure water, one can usually buy distilled or de-ionised water at a supermarket cheaper than the ripoff "mineral" water.

FollowupID: 681735

Reply By: pop2jocem - Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 16:07

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 16:07
Hi John & Julie,

Welcome to the great state of Wait Awhile. Having lived in the SW of WA all my life I feel pretty confident in saying that it is most unlikely you will have any problems with the metropolaten tap water clogging pipes or damaging your appliances any more than water from anywhere else apart from the NW of our great state. My son lives and works at Wickham (just out of Karratha) and the first time we visited with our van and connected to his household supply the sacrificial electrode in the HWS was eaten away at least 50% in 2 weeks.
AnswerID: 411708

Follow Up By: Rangiephil - Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 20:23

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 20:23
The gas HW system at Millstream NP camp ground fancy new Kitchen failed after about 6 months.
Karratha gets its water from Millstream springs.

Regards Philip A
FollowupID: 681771

Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 20:05

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 20:05
Hi Julie and John

As replied on another forum, most of SW water is ground run off and not calcified. However i don't put water in our caravan tanks unless i am sure it is good. The taste test in a cup of tea is my measure, and calcium water does not otherwise bother me. If the water is suspect, i use it direct from a bucket and conserve the water in the tanks for drinking. This includes bathing in a bowl rather than using the shower.


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