Does Knoxville Have Hard Water?

Does Knoxville Have Hard Water?

Are you a homeowner in Knoxville who’s concerned about the quality and safety of your drinking water? If so, you’re probably asking “Does Knoxville have hard water?”

If you’re wondering whether Knoxville has hard water, the answer is yes. Knoxville’s water has a hardness of 84 ppm, which is considered moderately hard. This means it contains a significant amount of minerals like calcium and magnesium, which can cause problems for pipes, appliances, and personal hygiene. 

In this article, we’ll focus specifically on the issue of hard water and explore whether Knoxville has hard or soft water. We’ll also discuss what hard water is, why it matters, and how it can be treated.

So, let’s dive in and learn more about hard water in Knoxville!

You may be interested in my article about water hardness in other cities.

Knoxville Water Hardness

How Hard is Knoxville Tap Water

Knoxville’s water has a hardness of 84 milligrams per liter (mg/L), which is the same as parts per million (ppm). To put this into perspective, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) defines water that is between 60 and 120 ppm as moderately hard.

If you prefer to use grains per gallon (gpg) as a measure of hardness, Knoxville’s water hardness is 5 gpg. While this level of hardness is not extremely high, it can still cause problems for your plumbing and appliances over time.

Tennessee Water Hardness

Tennessee is a state with diverse geography, from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Mississippi River, and it relies on a variety of sources for its drinking water. The state’s drinking water primarily comes from surface water sources such as rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, as well as from groundwater sources such as aquifers.

The water hardness in Tennessee varies depending on the specific source and location. According to a study conducted by the USGS, the water hardness in Tennessee ranges from 1 ppm to 310 ppm.

Most areas in the state have water that is considered moderately hard, with hardness levels between 60 and 120 ppm. However, some areas, particularly those with groundwater sources, can have water that is considered very hard, with levels exceeding 180 ppm.

The table below summarizes the water hardness in Knoxville and the major cities and towns in Tennessee.

CityAverage Hardness Calcium Carbonate mg/LAverage Hardness Grains per GallonZip Code
Knoxville84 ppm5 gpg37918 | 37920 | 37922 | 37923 | 37919 | 37931 | 37921 | 37917 | 37912 | 37914 | 37932 | 37938 | 37909 | 37916 | 37924 | 37915 | 37902
Nashville79 ppm5 gpg37211 | 37221 | 37209 | 37207 | 37217 | 37214 | 37206 | 37205 | 37215 | 37212 | 37216 | 37210 | 37208 | 37218 | 37204 | 37203 | 37220 | 37201 | 37228 | 37219 | 37240 | 37213 | 37243 | 37246
Memphis55 ppm3 gpg38128 | 38109 | 38134 | 38127 | 38111 | 38115 | 38116 | 38118 | 38125 | 38135 | 38114 | 38117 | 38122 | 38106 | 38104 | 38119 | 38141 | 38133 | 38108 | 38112 | 38107 | 38120 | 38103 | 38126 | 38105 | 38152 | 38131 | 38132
Chatanooga71 ppm4 gpg37421 | 37415 | 37412 | 37411 | 37405 | 37416 | 37406 | 37404 | 37407 | 37403 | 37419 | 37402 | 37410 | 37409 | 37408
Murfreesboro90 ppm5 gpg37129 | 37130 | 37128 | 37127 | 37132
Kingsport78 ppm5 gpg37660 | 37664 | 37663 | 37665
Clarksville97 ppm6 gpg37042 | 37040 | 37043
Morristown65 ppm4 gpg37814 | 37813
Jackson48 ppm3 gpg38305 | 38301
Cleveland95 ppm6 gpg37312 | 37323 | 37311

Learn about water hardness in these cities:
Does Memphis have hard water?
Does San Francisco have hard water?

What is Hard Water?

Hard water is water that contains high levels of minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium. These minerals are picked up by water as it passes through rocks and soil, and they can cause a variety of problems for homeowners. The hardness of water is measured in parts per million (ppm) or grains per gallon (gpg).

What are the problems caused by hard water?

The problems caused by hard water can be both aesthetic and functional. From an aesthetic standpoint, hard water can make it difficult to get a good lather with soap, which can lead to problems with personal hygiene. Hard water can also leave mineral deposits on dishes and clothes, causing them to look dull or dingy.

From a functional standpoint, hard water can cause problems for your plumbing and appliances. Over time, the mineral buildup can cause pipes to become clogged and reduce water flow. This can also put additional strain on your appliances, such as your water heater or dishwasher, reducing their lifespan and efficiency. Additionally, hard water can cause mineral buildup on fixtures such as faucets and showerheads, reducing their effectiveness and lifespan.

Who is Knoxville’s Water Provider?

The City of Knoxville provides water to its residents through the Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB). KUB is a municipal utility that provides electric, gas, water, and wastewater services to over 468,000 customers in Knoxville and the surrounding areas.

KUB sources its water primarily from the Tennessee River and the French Broad River. The water is treated at two water treatment plants, which use a variety of processes to remove impurities and ensure that the water is safe to drink. KUB regularly tests its water to ensure that it meets or exceeds all federal and state drinking water standards.

If you have questions or concerns about the quality of your drinking water in Knoxville, you can contact KUB’s customer service department. They can provide you with information about water quality reports, testing results, and any concerns that may be specific to your area. Additionally, KUB provides a variety of resources to help customers better understand the quality and safety of their drinking water.

Where does Knoxville Water Come From?

Knoxville’s drinking water primarily comes from the Tennessee River and the French Broad River. These rivers are both located in East Tennessee and are major tributaries of the Ohio River.

The Tennessee River is approximately 652 miles long and flows through parts of Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky. It is a major source of drinking water for many communities in East Tennessee, including Knoxville.

The French Broad River is approximately 213 miles long and flows through parts of North Carolina and Tennessee. It joins the Holston River near Knoxville to form the Tennessee River.

Before being treated and distributed to customers, the water from these rivers undergoes a series of tests and treatment processes to ensure that it is safe to drink. These processes are designed to remove impurities and contaminants that may be present in the water, such as sediment, bacteria, and viruses.

Is Knoxville’s tap water treated?

Knoxville Drinking Water Treatment Process

Knoxville’s drinking water is treated at two water treatment plants, the Chapman Highway Water Treatment Plant and the Claude E. McTeer Water Treatment Plant, before being distributed to customers through a network of pipes and reservoirs.

Here are the treatment methods used to ensure the safety and quality of Knoxville’s drinking water:

  • Coagulation and Flocculation: Chemicals are added to the water to bind impurities together into larger particles, which are then removed through the process of sedimentation.
  • Sedimentation: The water is allowed to sit in large tanks so that any remaining impurities can settle to the bottom.
  • Filtration: The water is passed through layers of sand, gravel, and charcoal to remove any remaining impurities.
  • Disinfection: Chlorine is added to the water to kill any remaining bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens that may be present.

These treatment methods are designed to remove impurities such as sediment, bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants from the water, ensuring that it is safe and healthy to drink. Additionally, KUB regularly tests its water to ensure that it meets or exceeds all federal and state drinking water standards.

Quality of Knoxville Tap Water

Knoxville’s tap water is considered to be of good quality, meeting all federal and state drinking water standards. The water is regularly tested for over 100 contaminants, including bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and metals, to ensure that it is safe to drink.

According to the Knoxville Utilities Board, the city’s tap water has consistently met all regulatory standards for safe drinking water. In fact, KUB’s most recent Water Quality Report, which covers testing done in 2020, found that Knoxville’s drinking water met or exceeded all federal and state requirements for quality and safety.

While the water in Knoxville is generally considered safe to drink, it is not completely free of contaminants. Like many cities across the country, Knoxville’s water contains trace amounts of certain substances, such as lead, that can be harmful to human health if consumed in high enough concentrations. However, KUB takes measures to minimize these contaminants, including treating the water to make it less corrosive and replacing lead service lines in some areas of the city.

Overall, Knoxville’s tap water is of good quality and safe to drink. KUB is committed to providing high-quality drinking water to its customers and regularly tests its water to ensure that it meets or exceeds all federal and state drinking water standards.

How Much Water Does Knoxville Use Each Year?

Knoxville residents use a significant amount of water each year. According to the KUB, the average daily water demand in Knoxville is approximately 53 million gallons per day (MGD). This equates to approximately 19.3 billion gallons of water used each year.

The largest users of water in Knoxville are residential customers, who account for approximately 60% of total water usage. Other major users of water in the city include commercial and industrial customers, as well as public institutions such as schools and hospitals.

While the demand for water in Knoxville has increased over time, KUB has implemented a number of measures to conserve water and ensure that there is an adequate supply for all customers. These measures include:

  • offering rebates for the installation of water-efficient fixtures
  • promoting water conservation through public education and outreach
  • investing in infrastructure upgrades to reduce water loss from leaks and other sources

Tennessee water use and consumption in statistics

According to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the state’s residents use an average of 141 gallons of water per capita per day (GPCD). This includes water used for a variety of purposes, including drinking, bathing, washing clothes, and irrigation.

The largest users of water in Tennessee are thermoelectric power plants, which use approximately 80% of the state’s water. Other major users of water in the state include public water supply systems, irrigation, and industrial users.

In terms of water consumption, the majority of water in Tennessee is used for thermoelectric power generation, which accounts for approximately 94% of total water consumption. Public water supply systems are the second-largest consumers of water in the state, accounting for approximately 4% of total consumption.

Overall, while Tennessee has abundant water resources, it is important to use them wisely and efficiently to ensure that there is enough water to meet current and future needs. By conserving water and using it wisely, we can help ensure that we have a reliable and sustainable supply of water for many years to come.

What Can I Do About Hardness in My Water?

If you are experiencing problems with hard water in your home, there are several things you can do to address the issue. Here are a few options to consider:

1. Water Softeners

One of the most effective ways to address hard water is to install a water softener. Water softeners use a process called ion exchange to remove the minerals that cause hardness in water, such as calcium and magnesium. This can help to reduce or eliminate problems such as scale buildup on fixtures and appliances, and can make soap and detergents more effective.

2. Water conditioners (citric acid systems)

There are also chemical treatments available that can help to reduce water hardness. These treatments are typically added to the water supply and work by chemically binding with the minerals that cause hardness, making them easier to remove. While these treatments can be effective, they may not be as long-lasting as a water softener.

3. Reverse osmosis filter

Another option to consider is using a water filtration system to remove minerals and other impurities from your water. While filtration systems may not completely eliminate hardness, they can help to reduce it and can also improve the overall taste and quality of your drinking water.

Final Take on Knoxville Water Hardness

Knoxville’s water has a moderate level of hardness, which can cause problems such as scale buildup and reduced soap effectiveness. However, there are various treatment options available to address this issue, including water softeners, chemical treatments, and filtration systems.

It’s also important to note that Knoxville’s water is regularly tested and monitored for contaminants to ensure it meets state and federal standards for safe drinking water. By taking steps to address any water quality issues, you can enjoy clean, safe, and refreshing water in your home.

The Filter Guy

Scott Birch is a water filtration installer and designer. He has worked in the industry for many years and is very familiar with and knowledgeable about residential water treatment equipment. Scott enjoys helping people get the most out of their water filtration systems and ensuring that their homes are getting the best possible quality of water.

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