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Testing the Waters The Basics of Water Quality Water quality can be thought of as water suitability What's tested:

temperature, color, turbidity to bacterial counts, dissolved gases, and hardness Lakes dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, p , and turbidity if lake was being fished! p is a measure of the hydrogen " #$ ion content of a substance p range %&'(, neutral ) p best tested in the field as samples may be altered by the containers in which they are held and some change can occur on standing test papers of various ranges and portable electronic meters are most commonly used to measure p When selecting test papers, choose the narrowest range paper possible pH meters have become much more affordable in recent years and the selection of batterypowered, hand-held meters is wide enough in performance and features to suit anyones budget and needs *lkalinity is a measure of buffering capacity the degree to which water can resist changes in p + his capacity is the result of carbonate (CO 2) and bicarbonate (HCO ,) ions present in the water. ardness Hardness is due to the presence of calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) ions and is the reason many of us have home water softeners measured as ppm, or gpg, of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Values range from soft (<20 ppm) to very hard (>180 ppm). Magnesium and calcium are essential nutrients for most aquatic organisms and moderate hardness levels (ranging from 20 to 120 ppm) are preferred. Water that is very soft, near or below 20 ppm, in addition to being nutrient poor, exacerbates the toxicity of any metal ions present. Hardness tests can either be conducted with special test papers or with kits containing reagents necessary for a drop-count titration Dissolved Oxygen Concurrently, less oxygen is available because the solubility is declining. It becomes apparent that thermal stressors (extremely hot weather, cooing water discharged by power plants) can have tremendous impacts on aquatic organisms. Phosphates Phosphate pollution comes mainly from wastewater (from phosphates in detergents) and from agricultural runoff carrying excess fertilizersone of the primary components of which is phosphorus measured in ppm and acceptable levels vary between lakes and streams Most uncontaminated lakes have levels between 0.01 and 0.03 ppm Levels over 0.03 ppm in lakes are sufficient to accelerate natural eutrophication rates. The quality of water is a term that can't simply be defined by one word. Water quality can be thought of as water suitability. Once the use is known the monitoring system begins. Depending on what the water is being used for will affect the treatment process. For example if a lake were to be used for fishing, relevant factors may include: dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, pH, and turbidity. Testing water quality can be done by anyone because it is so simple. PH is a measure of hydrogen (H+) irons content of a substance the scale ranges from 0 to 14 units where 7 is neutral. From 0-6 is considered acid and from 8-14 is basic. PH is best measured in a field of samples for the fear that it can be altered by the containers in which they are held. What is most

commonly used to test pH is test papers of various ranges and portable electronic meters. Alkalinity is a measure of buffering capacity so the degree to which water can resist changes in pH. It is most commonly a result of carbonate and bicarbonate irons present in the water. Freshwater alkalinity levels range from 10 to 200 parts per million (ppm). A well buffered stream or lake will have between 100 to 150 ppm of alkalinity. Hardness is closely related to alkalinity, water hardness is more familiar property. It happens due to the presence of calcium and magnesium ions which is what are in many home water softeners. Hardness is usually measured as ppm, or gpg, of calcium carbonate. Values range from soft (<20 ppm) to very hard (20 to 120 ppm). It can be calculated with special test papers of kits containing regents necessary for a drop-count titration. The key water quality test though is dissolved oxygen for it controls life in the sea. The amount of oxygen that can be dissolved in water is a function of numerous factors, but the most important is temperature. Lastly phosphates are another import test to conduct for water quality. Phosphate is an essential nutrient for plants and animals. It helps with growth of plants, but levels over 0.03 ppm in lakes are sufficient to accelerate natural eutrophication rates. The testing is usually carried out by chemically treating the water sample to convert phosphate into a colored compound. This article was a good article to read for those who don't know or want to know more about the different water testing qualities. All of these are important to ensure a clean and sustainable water source. I like how for each test they went into depth explaining what it tested, why it's important, and how it is tested.