Learning the Importance of Turbidity Measurement

Water Testing

There are a number of things that impact water quality. Turbidity is one of the most common aspects discussed when it comes to environmental water quality monitoring. While many know that turbidity is important, they fail to understand what it is or why it is so important. Here is some information on turbidity and why it is so important when monitoring water quality.


Natural water contains a number of solids, such as silt, clay, algae, and organic matter. The amount of these contaminants in the water is an important factor when it comes to water quality. It can have an impact on the environmental conditions of bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, and streams. As the light from the sun shines down on the water, these contaminants at the surface can block the transmittance of light. This is what is known as turbidity. The level of turbidity, or how much light can get through the cloudiness of haze of the water, has a major impact underneath the surface. Turbidity measurement allows for the determination of this level.

Water Safety

Drinking water comes from two different sources: surface water and groundwater. Surface water is collected from streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Groundwater is collected from pores and spaces between rocks by drilling wells and pumping the water to the surface. Surface water contains aquatic plants and animals before its collected while groundwater is located underneath the ground. As a result, both of these types of water contain bacteria, sand, silt, and sediment. These contaminants need to be filtered for safe consumption. The number of remaining contaminants can be determined by measuring its turbidity, ensuring that the water is safe for human consumption.

Substitute Filtration

According to the Clean Water Act, states are required to have a total maximum daily load of various pollutants. This means that there can only be so many pollutants in water to meet a certain quality. It can be difficult for municipalities to continuously measure how many pollutants are in water due to technical and financial constraints. However, turbidity is a good substitute method of determining the number of pollutants in water. As the turbidity of water can be measured in-stream, it can be done continuously. Measuring turbidity is determining the amount of sediment, nutrients, and bacteria within the water so it will serve the purpose of water filtration.

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Ensure Proper Filtration

While measuring turbidity has the ability to help filtrate water, it can also be used to determine whether the filtration process has been successful. By measuring turbidity, you can determine the number of contaminants that remain in the water. For this reason, measuring the turbidity after the water has gone through a filtration system is a good way to tell how well it has been filtered. Wastewater goes through an extensive filtration process and measuring the turbidity of the water has long wrapped up that process. This allows those filtering to ensure that the water is safe after going through the process.

Any time water is filtered, the measuring of the turbidity is an essential step to ensuring it’s safe for consumption. These are some of the reasons why measuring turbidity is so important for drinking water. Contact Environmental and Research Laboratories if you’re in need of water quality test labs.