The reason that you have a hard time is due to the hardness of the water. "Soft water" is said to be soft if it has a low concentration of calcium and magnesium ions in it, as opposed to “hard water” which has a high concentration of calcium and magnesium. Our city water that you use is hard water, this causes washing your hands and bathing with soap to leave a film on the skin and can lead to dryness of the skin. Washing with hard water also makes it harder to work the soap up into lather, causing the use of additional soap and can also leave spots or a film on cars, or dishes. The city uses hard water over soft water as part of its corrosion control program as soft water tends to be more corrosive and can break down metal (cast iron, copper, galvanized steel) piping throughout the system. The usual level of hardness for the city is roughly 115 ppm or 6.7 grains per gallon (gpg). There is no maximum contaminant level set specifically for hardness as it is not deemed a health concern. Total dissolved solids, which include hardness, does have a non-mandatory secondary maximum contaminant level (SMCL) of 500 mg/L (ppm) which is equivalent to 29.2 gpg. These secondary contaminant limits are set as voluntary limits for contaminants that are deemed to not be a health concern but are a concern for the aesthetics of the water itself (taste, color, odor etc). For more information on secondary contaminants and their SMCL please visit the EPA's Secondary Standards.