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Turbidity and Cloudy Water

Turbidity is a key measurement when testing water quality. Turbidity means ” the quality of being cloudy, opaque or thick with suspended matter”. Cloudy water is commonly referred to, as having high-levels of turbidity.

Organic matter, and colloidal solids are the primary causes of turbidity, as they are too small and too fine to settle out properly. These tiny suspended particles often cause problems with the water disinfection process, and can often be an indicator of bacterial activity in the water.

Turbidity is measure in NTU’s (nephelometric turbidity units). The turbidity of drinking water must always be less than 1 NTU, most municipal water is less than .2 NTUs.

Generally, the first step to treating water that contains colloidal particles and/or water that has color to it, is to inject a coagulant aid, or to inject a floculant, which will allow these microscopic, suspended particles to lose their positive charge and “floc” together into larger clumps.

This water treatment process is easily achieved with smaller scale systems, by installing a metering pump, and injecting 2-5ppm of “Cat-Floc” (One of the many floculant aids used for this type of water problem) into the water, as it flows into a holding tank, or storage tank.

The water is then allowed to settle, and then followed by water filtration to remove any suspended “floc”. Sometimes, to get the floc to form, the water may need to be slighlty agitated or gently stirred.

An extremely effective way to remove turbidity from water is by using Advanced Reverse Osmosis, or Ultra Filtration membrane systems. RO and UF systems to remove high levels of turbidity in water are ideally suited for home-owners, commercial sites and small communities, to produce pure, crystal clear water with less than 0.1 NTUs

Direct filtration is also an option, depending on the nature of the turbidity. A backwashing sediment filter, using a special type of Zeolite filter media, is an excellent way to clarify your water. Direct Water Filtration can remove sediment down to the 5 to 10 micron range, where it is then periodically backwashed out by the automatic control valve.

The whole house cartridge water filter are large size filter cartridge systems, which come in a range of micron ratings, right down to 1 micron size. A common option used by home-owners with cloudy water, is the 1 or 5 micron filter cartridge system.

When removing high levels of turbidity from water, there are many different designs and application criteria to be considered, including the water chemistry, flow rates, how the water will be disinfected, and what types of water filtration to use.

In certain cases, additional water treatment methods, such as reverse osmosis or other membrane filtration systems are used in conjunction with the polymer injection and settling.

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