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Thread: Threshold for salt taste and potential damage to plants

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    Threshold for salt taste and potential damage to plants

    I was doing a little digging on the web and I've noticed a discrepancy between the threshold given for tasting salt. Most of what I've read here and on the SWG manufacturer's sites list 4000 to 6000 ppm as being the point at which most people can taste salt. Earlier this year I added enough softener salt to my pool to bring the level up to 3200 ppm (as measured by the Aquacheck strips). The first time I used it after adding the salt I immediately noticed the salt taste. Everyone else who has used the pool has also commented on being able to taste the salt. I was kind of surprised since I assumed I was below the threshold of taste. As of today, the salt level has dropped down to 2400 ppm (due to backwash, splash out, etc.). Even at this level the salt taste is very obvious.

    I recently came across this Australian site: http://www.sa.waterwatch.org.au/sw_salinity.htm. What was really interesting was that it clams water "would start to taste very salty" somewhere between 480 and 1500 ppm. This is significantly below the thresholds I've seen stated other places, but would seem to better correlate with what I'm seeing in my own pool.

    The other part that was interesting was the comment that "Some plants such as peas, apricots and grapes cannot be grown with water over 1500uS/cm". Based on the ranges shown, I'm interpolating this is approximately 1000 ppm. This could be significant if you live in an area where your backwash water is not being pumped into the sewer system. Yes, I know some people have backwashed their water for years near plants, trees, etc. with no issues. I'm not saying its a problem, I just found it interesting.

    Tom

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    I can taste a difference in the water in a SWG pool vs a non-SWG, but the taste is not actually salty to me, just different. Don't know what the salt levels were tho...

    8000 gallon 20' x 48" round vinyl frame pool, 12" sand filter (don't have the specs on the pump), TF100 test kit
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    I have 1800 ppm salt in my non SWG pool and no one has commented on a salty taste. Of course they don't know it's in there either

    I can't taste the salt though, and the water feels fantastic.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that different people start tasting salt at noticably different levels. From what I have seen most people can't taste salt below 2000 and most people can taste salt above 3500. But I have no doubt that there are some exceptional indiviudals that are well outside that range (in both directions).
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Does everyone go around taste testing other people's pools? Does it matter that you can taste the salt?
    Usually if I am thirsty, I have a nice cool beverage nearby cheers!!

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    KurtV's Avatar
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    I read somewhere recently (might have been on The Pool Guy's blog) that some government agency (EPA maybe) declared the taste threshhold to be 250 ppm. As Jason said, though, everyone perceives the salt at a different level.

    I can definitely taste the salt in my water, which is probably somewhere between 1000 and 2000 ppm (haven't tested it since adding the salt a year or so ago). The taste isn't at all objectionable to me and wasn't even when it was 2500-3000 ppm.

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    Guest
    I have about 3300ppm salt in my pool and 50 ppm borates and I have a lot of family and friends that come over to use the pool. NO ONE has ever commented on the water tasting salty, unless I tell them it's a salt pool and then they say that they can taste a tiny bit of salt. Almost seems like power of suggestion. They do comment all the time on how nice the water feels, however.

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    3200ppm in mine currently. I can't taste the salt, but I could when it was at 3500 when the swg was first installed. Now, my wife says the pool tastes like the ocean we just vacationed at last week.... I say she's out of her mind.... that stuff was salty!!
    My Pool - 18x24 fully setup Cabana, 22x48 gunite/quartz plaster (3-5-3 depth) & 8' spa w/ spill and 5' natural rock waterfall; Hayward DE filter/pumps/heater; Hayward Pro Logic controller; Phantom cleaner. Finished 06/01/07.

    RedishConstruction.com

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    NWMNMom's Avatar
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    We could taste the salt last year and we definitely taste it now that the levels are up around 2000-2500. Its not a bad thing, just different.
    18x33x52 Buttressfree Seaspray (Wilbar) AGP - 1.5hp Pentair Maxim w/22" Pentair Meteor Sand Filter, Aqua Rite SWG System, Biltmore Walk In Steps - 2/4x20 Solar Panel Setup - Doheny Jet Drive (RIP -Pool Rover Jr) - finally hard plumbed the whole darned thing -
    Beats Driving to the Lake!

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    gonefishin's Avatar
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    I could taste the salt in my non-salt water pool. It's at 1,100ppm. I've got some extra salt test strips...I'll have the wife mix up some glasses with various levels of salt and some without salt at all and see what I could taste...or not



    dan
    21' Aqua-Leader AGP (10,200 gallons).
    Hayward cartridge filter and two speed pump.
    Aqua-Cal HeatWave 100k (HeatPump)
    Salt 3200ppm (in non-salt water pool)
    Borates 20ppm (slowly raising)
    Aqua-Rite SWG

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    NWMNMom's Avatar
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    There ya go! Thats the spirit. I personally do not add salt to any food I cook or eat, but do know almost all processed food is full of sodium. Anyway, I think thats probably why I feel kind of sensitive to salt, because I am not used to a lot of salty foods that some people are. Do you think?
    18x33x52 Buttressfree Seaspray (Wilbar) AGP - 1.5hp Pentair Maxim w/22" Pentair Meteor Sand Filter, Aqua Rite SWG System, Biltmore Walk In Steps - 2/4x20 Solar Panel Setup - Doheny Jet Drive (RIP -Pool Rover Jr) - finally hard plumbed the whole darned thing -
    Beats Driving to the Lake!

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    There is a HUGE variation in the number of taste buds people have -- I've seen factors of 100 being mentioned for the difference, but that might have been bogus info (and may relate to the variation in concentration needed to detect tasting some substances, rather than in the number of taste buds themselves). This link contains some interesting info including "supertasters" who are more sensitive tasters -- more women than men, by the way. This link has some more info about taste buds (less technical) and the 0.01 M threshold they list for salt is 584 ppm but the threshold had only one digit so was likely very approximate. So I would expect the sensitivity level for taste to most any substance to have wide variation among individuals. One might also expect that frequent exposure to higher levels of a substance might train the brain to be less sensitive to it and to have a harder time discerning low levels, but that's speculation on my part (but is consistent with NWMNMom's point).
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    SeanB's Avatar
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    I don't know what the threshold is, but all of the plants around our pool are thriving with 3200 ppm saltwater splashed into them on a regular basis.
    TFP Founder

    My Pool: 13K gal IG gunite with 7' spa, Pentair Cartridge Filter, Intellichlor IC40 SWG, Polaris 280 Cleaner, TF-100 Test Kit w/ salt test.

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    We just added 80 lbs. of solar salt to our pool today. The water really does sparkle more and it feels wonderfully silky. Can't taste the salt either.
    18 ft.52" Round Atrium AG -7600 gallons, Sand Filter, Vinyl liner, Royal Entrance Steps, 80 lbs.solarsalt

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    there is a difference between tasting the salt and just the water tasting different. What most of you guys are tasting is the water being different not necessarily the salt. Dont forget everytime someone pees in your pool that adds salt to it too.

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    gonefishin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poolio
    there is a difference between tasting the salt and just the water tasting different. What most of you guys are tasting is the water being different not necessarily the salt. Dont forget everytime someone pees in your pool that adds salt to it too.

    I really think that 1,100ppm is beyond my point of just noticeable differences. To me...I'm not surprised at all that I can taste salt, because I added a good amount of it to my water.

    dan
    21' Aqua-Leader AGP (10,200 gallons).
    Hayward cartridge filter and two speed pump.
    Aqua-Cal HeatWave 100k (HeatPump)
    Salt 3200ppm (in non-salt water pool)
    Borates 20ppm (slowly raising)
    Aqua-Rite SWG

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    Quote Originally Posted by waterbear
    I have about 3300ppm salt in my pool and 50 ppm borates and I have a lot of family and friends that come over to use the pool. NO ONE has ever commented on the water tasting salty, unless I tell them it's a salt pool and then they say that they can taste a tiny bit of salt. Almost seems like power of suggestion. They do comment all the time on how nice the water feels, however.
    Ditto. I honestly only taste it when I dive in 1st time. After that, no more salt taste. Plus love the way my skin feels when I dry off w/ a towel. Felt like I took a smooth clean shower
    :grin::grin: Yes I am a newbie :grin::grin:

    Grecian 17'x33' Vinyl liner pool
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