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APS TechNotes See all articles

What might be in your drinking water water and how to treat it

Also See :
What's in your water and is is harmful.
Chemical Properties of water

  • Turbidity

    Caused by the presence of suspended matter such as clay, silt, and fine particles of organic and inorganic matter, plankton, and other microscopic organisms. A measure how much light can filter through the water sample.

    Objectionable for aesthetic reasons. Indicative of clay or other inert suspended particles in drinking water. May not adversely affect health but may cause need for additional treatment. Following rainfall, variations in ground-water turbidity may be an indicator of surface contamination.

    Treat with :

        Particulate Filters
        Sand Filters
        Reverse Osmosis

  • Color

    Can be caused by decaying leaves, plants, organic matter, copper, iron, and manganese, which may be objectionable. Indicative of large amounts of organic chemicals, inadequate treatment, and high disinfection demand. Potential for production of excess amounts of disinfection byproducts. Suggests that treatment is needed. No health concerns. Aesthetically unpleasing.

    Treat with :

        Particulate Filters
        Ion exchange
        Activated Carbon
        Chemical Injection
        Reverse Osmosis

  • pH

    Indicates, by numerical expression, the degree to which water is alkaline or acidic. Represented on a scale of 0-14 where 0 is the most acidic, 14 is the most alkaline, and 7 is neutral. High pH causes a bitter taste; water pipes and water-using appliances become encrusted; depresses the effectiveness of the disinfection of chlorine, thereby causing the need for additional chlorine when pH is high. Low-pH water will corrode or dissolve metals and other substances.

    Treat with :

        Chemical Injection
        Sodium Hydroxide


  • Odor

    Certain odors may be indicative of organic or non-organic contaminants that originate from municipal or industrial waste discharges or from natural sources.

    Treat with :

        Activated Carbon
        Reverse Osmosis

  • Taste

    Some substances such as certain organic salts produce a taste without an odor and can be evaluated by a taste test. Many other sensations ascribed to the sense of taste actually are odors, even though the sensation is not noticed until the material is taken into the mouth.

    Treat with :

        Activated Carbon
        Reverse Osmosis

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