Does Memphis Have Hard Water?

Does Memphis Have Hard Water

Contrary to the popular belief, Memphis tap water is actually considered to be soft. Although the city is located in an area with high mineral deposits like calcium and magnesium, Memphis tap water has an average hardness of only 55 parts per million (ppm) or 3 grains per gallon (gpg) of hardness, which falls well below the threshold of 75 ppm for soft water.

This is good news for the people living in Memphis, as soft water is generally preferred over hard water due to its lack of mineral buildup in pipes and appliances. With Memphis having soft water, homeowners can expect to have less soap scum, reduced pipe blockages, and increased efficiency of water heaters and other appliances.

If you’re living in Memphis or planning to move to the area, you can rest assured that you’ll have access to high-quality, soft tap water. So, enjoy your water without worrying about any adverse effects on your plumbing or appliances.

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

Memphis Water Hardness

Compared to its neighboring city Nashville, the tap water in Memphis is much softer. In fact, Memphis tap water has an average hardness of only 55 parts per million (ppm) or 3 grains per gram (gpg) of hardness, which falls well below the threshold of 75 ppm for soft water.

This is a significant difference from Nashville’s average water hardness of 79 milligrams per liter (mg/L) or 5 grains per gallon, which is considered to be moderately hard according to USGS water standards. While high levels of mineral deposits in water can lead to issues such as soap scum buildup and reduced water flow, Memphis residents can rest assured that their tap water is not likely to cause these problems.

Overall, Memphis residents can enjoy high-quality, soft tap water that is free of many of the issues associated with hard water.

Tennessee Water Hardness

Water hardness varies across the state of Tennessee, ranging from soft to moderately hard. On average, Tennessee residents experience a water hardness level of approximately 99 mg/L as calcium carbonate. However, the water hardness concentration in Nashville, the state capital, is lower at 79 mg/L, and even lower in Memphis at 55 mg/L.

Memphis Water Quality – What’s in their tap water

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

City Average Hardness Calcium Carbonate mg/L Average Hardness Grains per Gallon Zip Code
Memphis 55 ppm 3 gpg 38128 | 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
Nashville 79 ppm 5 gpg 37211 | 37221 | 37209 | 37207 | 37217 | 37214 | 37206 | 37205 | 37215 | 37212 | 37216 | 37210 | 37208 | 37218 | 37204 | 37203 | 37220 | 37201 | 37228 | 37219 | 37240 | 37213 | 37243 | 37246
Knoxville 84 ppm 5 gpg 37918 | 37920 | 37922 | 37923 | 37919 | 37931 | 37921 | 37917 | 37912 | 37914 | 37932 | 37938 | 37909 | 37916 | 37924 | 37915 | 37902
Chatanooga 71 ppm 4 gpg 37421 | 37415 | 37412 | 37411 | 37405 | 37416 | 37406 | 37404 | 37407 | 37403 | 37419 | 37402 | 37410 | 37409 | 37408
Murfreesboro 90 ppm 5 gpg 37129 | 37130 | 37128 | 37127 | 37132
Kingsport 78 ppm 5 gpg 37660 | 37664 | 37663 | 37665
Clarksville 97 ppm 6 gpg 37042 | 37040 | 37043
Morristown 65 ppm 4 gpg 37814 | 37813
Jackson 48 ppm 3 gpg 38305 | 38301
Cleveland 95 ppm 6 gpg 37312 | 37323 | 37311
Table – Water Hardness for Memphis and other Tennessee Cities

Learn about water hardness in these cities:
Does Nashville have hard water?
Does Knoxville have hard water?

Why Memphis Tap Water Is Soft and Not Hard

Unlike many cities in the United States, Memphis has soft tap water. The reason for this is that Memphis draws its drinking water from an underground aquifer that is composed of clean sand and gravel. This aquifer has no minerals or soils that contain calcium or magnesium, which are the primary minerals that make water hard.

Without these minerals, Memphis tap water does not leave the filmy buildup around faucets or cause the dryness of skin, hair, and nails associated with hard water. Additionally, Memphis tap water does not require a water softener to be installed in homes or businesses, saving residents the expense and maintenance required to operate one.

Memphis tap water’s unique composition also means that it does not react with soap to form soap scum, nor does it require additional detergent to achieve the same level of cleanliness as hard water. In fact, Memphis tap water has been recognized for its taste and quality, earning a gold medal in the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Competition.

Overall, the purity of Memphis tap water is a testament to the city’s commitment to providing high-quality drinking water to its residents. With its softness and lack of minerals, Memphis tap water is a refreshing and convenient choice for daily use.

Where Does Memphis Get Its Water?

The city of Memphis gets its water supply from the Memphis Sands Aquifer, which is an underground water source that spans over 200 square miles in western Tennessee. The aquifer is known for producing high-quality water that is naturally filtered through layers of sand and gravel.

In addition to the Memphis Sands Aquifer, Memphis also draws water from the Mississippi River when necessary. However, the city prioritizes the use of the aquifer as it is a more reliable source of water and requires less treatment than river water.

Overall, Memphis residents can feel confident in the quality of their tap water as it comes from a reliable and naturally filtered source. The use of the Memphis Sands Aquifer ensures that the city has a consistent supply of high-quality water that is safe for consumption.

Understanding Hard Water

Hard water is a term used to describe water that contains high levels of dissolved mineral content, typically consisting of calcium, magnesium, and carbonate minerals. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) conducts annual tests to determine the hardness level of water in US cities, using a scale that ranges from less than 75 to over 300 milligrams per liter (mg/L).

To simplify this measurement, the more commonly used unit is “parts per million” (PPM), which measures the amount of chemical compounds found in one unit volume of water. Water with a hardness level below 75 PPM is considered soft, while water ranging between 75 and 150 PPM is categorized as moderately hard.

Hard water is typically characterized by a PPM range between 150 and 330, with anything over 300 PPM considered to be very hard. It’s worth noting that hard water can cause mineral buildup in pipes and appliances, leading to reduced efficiency and the need for more frequent maintenance.

Overall, understanding the hardness level of your tap water is important in maintaining the health of your plumbing and appliances, as well as ensuring high-quality drinking water for you and your family.

Effects of Hard Water

While Memphis has soft water, it’s still important to understand the effects of hard water. Hard water is water that contains high levels of dissolved mineral content, such as calcium, magnesium, and carbonate minerals. Hard water is classified based on the measurement of parts per million (PPM), which measures the amount of chemical compounds found in one unit volume of water. Water is considered soft if its hardness level is below 75 PPM, moderately hard if it ranges between 75 and 150 PPM, hard between 150 and 330 PPM, and very hard if it’s over 300 PPM.

Dry skin and hair

One of the main issues caused by hard water is the buildup of mineral deposits, which can make it difficult to rinse soap and shampoo from skin and hair. This can lead to dry, itchy, and flaky skin, dull hair, and brittle nails. Hard water can also corrode and clog plumbing pipes, requiring continual maintenance. Additionally, the filmy buildup of lime scale around faucets can be unsightly and difficult to remove.

Soap and detergent are less effective

Another issue is the reduced cleaning power of soaps and detergents due to the calcium in hard water reacting with soap and forming soap scum, which can leave spots on glassware and dishes. To overcome this, more detergent and soap may be required to achieve the same level of cleanliness as with softer water. Hard water can also neutralize the active ingredients in synthetic detergents, making them less effective.

Hard Water Has Some Benefits

Despite these drawbacks, hard water also has some benefits. For example, drinking hard water may help boost mineral levels, especially magnesium and calcium, which are important for building strong bones, supporting nerve function, and increasing energy production.

It’s important to note that Memphis’ drinking water goes through a thorough filtration process before reaching the city’s plumbing system, making it safe to drink. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), drinking hard water may provide health benefits by increasing mineral intake, particularly calcium and magnesium.

How to Make Memphis Tap Water Softer

If you’re experiencing the negative effects of hard water in Memphis, the good news is that you can make it softer by installing a water softener. A professional plumber can help you choose the right type of water softener for your home based on factors such as the size of your home, your family’s water needs, and the level of quality you want.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a water softener:

  • Size: The right size for your home and family’s water needs.
  • Lifespan: How long you’ll be using it, as softeners usually last from 10 to 15 years.
  • Softening method: A softener that offers continual softening vs. a lower-end valve that works on a timer.
  • Quality: The level of quality you want, keeping in mind that higher quality typically comes with a higher cost.

Water Softener for Memphis’s Hard Water

A water softener is the best way to reduce the hardness in your water. If you live in the Memphis area, you can check out this whole house water softener from FilterWater.

Crystal Quest Whole House Water Softener

crystal quest water softener from Filter Water

CRYSTAL QUEST whole house water softeners are simple to use, dependable, and easy to program. They are engineered for maximum filtration and maximum performance with minimum maintenance to deliver trouble-free operation for many years with reliable service. All components are the highest quality in the industry and NSF approved.

3-stage filtration process:

  • First stage, 20″ sediment cartridge that removes sediment, silt, sand and dirt. Also extends the life of water softeners and water filters, and prevents damage to control valves.
  • Second stage, Ion exchange mineral tank and brine water conditioner that contains sation resin media
  • Third stage 20″ solid carbon cartridge for removing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s), insecticides, pesticides and industrial solvents.


Model/SKU: CQE-WH-01123, CQE-WH-01124 , CQE-WH-01123S
Controller: Fleck 5600SXT Automatic Backwash Control Valve with LED display.
Flow Rate(Gallon-per-Minute): 9 gpm for 1 cubic foot tank, 11 gpm for 1.5 cu.ft, 11-13 gpm for 2 cu.ft.
Tank: White fiberglass tank , available in all Stainless Steel (+$500, inquire).
Bypass Valve: 3/4″ or 1″ Stainless Steel
Features: Riser style 1″ internal flow distributor.20″ x 50″ (Diameter x Height) Brine water mineral exchange tank.
Media Life: 10+ years.
Filters Life: Sediment pre- and carbon block post filter is recommended to be replaced every 3-6 months

Final Take on Memphis Water Quality

Memphis tap water is considered soft due to the lack of minerals and soils that contain calcium and magnesium in the underground aquifer that serves as the source of the city’s drinking water. While Tennessee water can range from soft to moderately hard, Memphis has a water hardness concentration of only 55 mg/L, making it one of the softest cities in the state. As such, residents of Memphis do not need to worry about the negative effects of hard water on their skin, hair, nails, plumbing, and cleaning power of soaps and detergents. They can enjoy the benefits of soft water, such as easier rinsing, softer laundry, and better lathering of soaps and shampoos. If you’re a resident of Memphis, you can feel confident in drinking your tap water without concerns about hardness.


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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