Tucson water hardness likely to rise

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Ground water in the desert is hard because of the amount of rock and minerals in the ground.

It's never been a huge problem for residents because Tucson Water filters some of it out.

But the level of hardness is about to rise and so could repair bills.

"In southern Arizona I would have to say I see harder mineral deposits," said Robert William Ashton from Arizona Professional Plumbing.

Tucson Water filters out bacteria and harmful chemicals, but calcium and magnesium are still prevalent.

Those minerals have been known to cause build up and clog water pipes. Soon their levels will rise in the water and so could the damage to your pipes.

"Your faucet aerator and stuff like that accumulate and it'll slow down your water flow and just be ugly," said Ashton.

The reason the deposits will rise is the city can no longer afford to keep its current water quality standards.

One city council member blames it on another city issue.

"No one from the city had the guts to stand up to the RTA and allowed ourselves to be rolled by them and now we are paying for utility line relocations for RTA projects," said Councilman Steve Kozachik.

Kozachik says if the RTA funded the utility line relocations, the city would have enough money in the budget to maintain water standards.

"If that cost allocation hadn't come over to the city rate payers, we may have the money in the budget to attain these water quality standards that all of us wanted to achieve," said Kozachik.

After the Citizen's Water Advisory Committee unanimously voted to allow the hardness of the water to rise, residents may be forced to filter their own water in lieu of allowing sediment to build up in their pipes

"I think it's the city's job to make sure the water isn't going to get you sick, as far water quality and hardness, it's gonna fall on the homeowner 'cause I don't see the city being able to make it like that," said Ashton.

"The city ought to step up and fight for the rate payers here in the City of Tucson," said Kozachik.

Arizona Professional Plumbing suggest residents get a water softener or reverse osmosis system installed if they're worried about the hardness levels rising, especially in their drinking water.