What is turbidity?
Turbidity is an optical characteristic of water that is defined as the degree of cloudiness. More specifically, the level of turbidity can describe the effectiveness of a filtration system installation or the basic level of your water quality. The particles can include clay, silt, algae, and microbes.
Turbidity in your drinking water is not only aesthetically displeasing, but also can be a sign of overactive harmful microorganism activity.
Where does it come from and why is it bad?
Turbidity is the result of soil and urban runoff, waste discharge, and excessive algal growth, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Higher turbidity means there is a higher concentration of suspended particles, which absorb heat. With higher amounts of suspended particles, the temperature of the water ultimately increases.
Elevated water temperature can create a breeding ground for bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Turbid water can promote the growth of micro-habitats for such microorganisms. For this reason, high turbidity water in many studies has shown to be correlated with outbreaks of waterborne diseases.
These particles clog up pipes and water treatment systems, so generally, filtration is the last step in the treatment process for this kind of water issue.
Many treatments exist for getting rid of high turbidity, but most rely on injecting a substance that will coagulate the suspended particles into larger clumps.
Alum is the most commonly used coagulant. Although, chlorine or hydrogen peroxide injection can also precede filtration. The newly formed clumps can then be filtered out of solution using a sediment filter or a Reverse Osmosis system.
Sources: US Environmental Protection Agency: Water Monitoring & Assessment, USGS Water Science School
Health authorities strongly recommend annual coliform bacteria testing for private water wells as contamination can occur without any change in taste or odor to the water. Depending on your needs, there are many options available for coliform bacteria testing, ranging from testing yourself at home to EPA-certified, lab quality testing.
There are many ways that well water can become contaminated by coliform bacteria, so it is most important to test:
Last post we discussed the potential health effects of arsenic exposure. This week, we will focus on how to treat an arsenic problem in your water.
Once your arsenic levels are tested, the degree of the cleanup job must be assessed.
How can you reduce high levels of arsenic in water?
If the arsenic level in your water is at or above 10 µg/L, refrain from consumption such as drinking or cooking.
There are two strategies to remove a contaminant from the water you use:Read More