Hardness

  1. A characteristic of water which describes the presence of dissolved minerals. Carbonate hardness is caused by calcium and magnesium bicarbonate; noncarbonate hardness is caused by calcium sulfate, calcium chloride, magnesium sulfate, and magnesium chloride.
  2. A property of water which causes an increase in the amount of soap that is needed to produce foam or lather and that also produces scale in hot water pipes, heaters, boilers and other units in which the temperature of water is increased materially. Hardness is produced almost completely by the presence of calcium and magnesium salts in solution. The following scale may assist in appraising water hardness, measured by weight of dissolved salts (in milligrams) per unit (in liters) of water:
    1. Soft — 0–60 milligrams/liter (mg/l)
    2. Moderately Hard — 61–120 mg/l
    3. Hard — 121–180 mg/l
    4. Very Hard — over 180 mg/l