Water clarity is a physical characteristic defined by how clear or transparent water is. Although cloudiness is not itself a health concern, it could indicate problems with the water supply that may lead to health risks. Water clarity is directly related to turbidity, as turbidity is a measure of water clarity.
Turbidity is a measure of the degree to which the water loses its transparency due to the presence of suspended particulates. The more total suspended solids (TSS) in the water, the murkier it seems and the higher the turbidity. Turbidity is considered as a good measure of the quality of water.
Turbidity and TSS are the most visible indicators of water quality. These suspended particles can come from soil erosion, runoff, discharges, stirred bottom sediments or algal blooms (See Water Problems – Sediment). While it is possible for some streams to have naturally high levels of suspended solids, clear water is usually considered an indicator of healthy water. A sudden increase in turbidity in a previously clear body of water is a cause for concern. Excessive suspended sediment can impair water quality for aquatic and human life, impede navigation and increase flooding risks.
Contaminants such as heavy metals, toxic organic compounds and pesticides can become attached to suspended particles, giving them a free ride through the water distribution system. Bacteria, viruses and parasites can also attach themselves to suspended particles in water.
For drinking water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has set a secondary drinking water standard for turbidity of 5 nephelometric turbidity units (NTUs).
Secondary drinking water standards are for factors that may cause cosmetic or aesthetic effects rather than health concerns. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that turbidity should ideally be below 1 NTU.
City/Municipal water providers monitor their Turbidity. Well water and Rainwater users must monitor themselves. We recommend testing and treating as needed. Please review Water Problems – Sediment as the treatment is the same.
Sediment Filters, Carbon (Block) Filters, UV Light, Reverse Osmosis or Ultra Filtration (Drinking Water).
Pure, Clean, Odor free Water!