Water quality assessment FAQ Frequently Asked Questions
The question library on water related issues
In order to assess the need for treatment and the right treatment technology, specific contaminants in water must be identified and measured. Water contaminants can be divided into two groups: dissolved contaminants and suspended solids. Suspended solids, such as silt, sand and viruses, are usually responsible for visible impurities. Suspended matter consists of very small particles, which cannot be removed by means of settling. They can be identified through description of visible characteristics of water, including turbidity and clarity, taste, colour and odour of the water:
Water quality can also be assessed by a number of quantitative laboratory analyses, such as pH, Total Solids (TS), Conductivity and microbial contamination.
Total Solids (TS) is the sum of all dissolved and suspended solids in water. When water is analysed for TS a sample is dried and after that the residue is weighed. TS can be organic and inorganic substances, microorganisms and larger particles such as sand and clay.
Conductivity means the conduction of energy by ions. The measurement of the water's conductivity can provide a clear view of the concentration of ions in the water, as the water is naturally resistant to conduction of energy. Conduction is expressed in Siemens and it is measured with a conductivity meter or cell.
Microbial contamination is divided up in contamination by organisms that have the ability to reproduce and multiply and organisms that cannot do so. Microbial contamination can be contamination by bacteria, which is expressed in Colony Forming Units (CFU), a measure of the bacterial population. Another microbial contamination is contamination by pyrogens. Pyrogens are bacterial products that can induce fever in warm-blooded animals. Next to bacteria and pyrogens waters can also be contaminated by viruses.
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