Glossary

An A-Z guide for water-related terms.

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Haloacetic Acid

Haloacetic Acids (such as HAA5) are formed when naturally occurring materials in source water react with disinfectants. The EPA states that long term exposure to these acids can result in an increased risk of cancer.

Hard Water

Hard water is overly high in mineral content. While we do need some minerals in our diet, too much can be a bad thing —consider our report on Manganese, for example. Typically, homes with a hard water problem are easily identified – white stains on shower doors and dishes, harsher on clothing during a wash cycle, etc. A quick and easy test for hard water can be done by adding soap and agitating. If the soap bubbles are lack luster, you might have a hard water issue.

Learn more about hard water.

Health Advisory

Health advisories are the EPA’s way of acknowledging a problem and warning the public about it. As an example, consider the fact there are no official standards for PFOA and PFOS but rather, a health advisory.

Health and Human Services (HHS)

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ensures public health and well-being by overseeing many government agencies. Their stated mission is to “enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans”. They provide health and human services and commission research in medicine, public health, and social services.

Health Effect

A health effect describes the impact something might have on physical health.

Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC)

The number of colonies grown on a selected solid media at a given temperature and time is the Heterotrophic Plate Count. This number is usually expressed in PPM (parts per million). When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tests drinking water, they measure the overall bacteriological quality by taking the HPC.

Hinkley, California

Residents of Hinkley, California developed concerning symptoms after long-term exposure to water contaminated by Pacific Gas and Electric. Famous for its portrayal in Julia Robert’s “Erin Brockovich”, this small town is still facing adverse effects associated with the world’s largest plume of Hexavalent Chromium.

Hurricane

A violent tropical storm with wind speeds that exceed 72 miles per hour when it occurs in the North Atlantic ocean.

Hydrogenated Water

Hydrogenated water is simply water with added hydrogen. Drinking hydrogenated water is one of the more recent water fads, although research on the many alleged benefits is scant.