February 9, 2012
…but were afraid to ask.
Well, not afraid. Just unsure who to put the questions to, perhaps.
We decided to go straight to our source and ask the lovely Sue Ritchie, our Customer Service Manager at Yorkshire Water.
Before we get cracking, here’s some background about Yorkshire Tea and hard water to bear in mind. When deciding which teas our buyers will select to put in the Yorkshire Tea blend, they taste every single one in both soft and hard water. This enables them to create not only Yorkshire Tea, but also Yorkshire Tea for Hard Water, a blend that’s perfectly suited to… you guessed it.
Interestingly, Harrogate, where we make Yorkshire Tea is a soft water area, so Yorkshire Water delivers tanks of their hardest water to us especially for our tea buyers to taste with. We even have soft and hard water taps!
Anyway, without further ado, grab a proper brew and it’s over to Sue…
What is hard water?
Rainwater is naturally soft but, once it falls on the ground and percolates through rocks, it picks up natural hardness minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. The more of these naturally occurring minerals present in the water supply, the harder it is.
Water hardness is the measure of the concentration of calcium and magnesium salts in your water – two of the essential minerals that your body needs.
How come some people have it and not others?
Depending on the local geology, the hardness of the water supply will vary. Water hardness can differ across our region as it depends on the soil and rocks from where water is taken. For example, where water has been abstracted from chalk or limestone aquifers it will tend to be harder – on the whole in the east of the Yorkshire region. On the other hand, water from moorlands tends to be softer, which is mainly in the west of Yorkshire.
It may also vary as we often use our ‘grid’ system to move water around parts of the Yorkshire region as conditions and demand requires. Our unique Yorkshire Grid means that we can transport water around the region to where it’s needed most – for instance, if we’re carrying out work or there’s low rainfall in an area. This can mean that the water hardness is not always the same, as the source may vary.
Are there any areas where the water is really, really hard?
Where we abstract water from boreholes for treatment, the water will be harder in nature. This tends to be in the east of the Yorkshire region around Scarborough and also in the Selby and Doncaster areas.
There is no regulatory standard for the hardness of drinking water, and Yorkshire Water does not artificially soften or harden any of its potable supplies.
What does it affect?
Hard water can cause scaling in hot water systems, kettles, electric irons and domestic appliances and often produces less lather from soap, washing up liquid and washing powders.
What is the scale in your kettle?
Hardness due to calcium bicarbonate is destroyed by boiling and is therefore sometimes referred to as “temporary hardness”. Boiling changes it to insoluble carbonate, which is seen as a scale in kettles or a slight film on hot drinks. There’s no need to worry though as it’s completely harmless.
Hardness due to calcium and magnesium sulphates, is not affected by boiling and is sometimes referred to as “permanent hardness”.
Sue is one of a team that works with Yorkshire Water’s larger business customers and provides all the helpful service, good advice and assistance we need regarding all water and waste water matters.
So, that’s our water supplier’s thoughts – what about your experience? Leave us a comment about your water. Hard or soft? If it’s hard, have you tried our Yorkshire Tea for Hard Water and what did you think?