Overview of Water Quality Testing
While measuring and the quality of water can be a very thorough and scientific affair, it is extremely important to know that you are testing a body of water for the correct properties with regard to its purposes. It is important to consider what the water is to be used for when testing it, and it is equally important to know what different properties the liquid possesses to ensure that nothing pertinent is overlooked.
Below are some of the most common qualities of water. While there are many more that play their part, these are certainly the most common, and at an entry level, are the most useful to someone interested in the subject.
The pH of a solution is a measure of how acidic or alkaline that solution is. While it is often thought of that a body of acidic water is extremely dangerous, it's important to note that a highly alkaline solution can be equally dangerous. There are a variety of meters and devices available that check the pH of a liquid, from litmus paper to highly sophisticated digital devices.
The amount of oxygen that is present in a body of water is a fairly good measure of the ability for that water to support organisms living in that water. In the case of super-saturation, there can be a large concentration of oxygen in a small amount of water which can be dangerous to organisms living in that solution. Similarly, too little oxygen is also a good indicator that this water is dangerous to any organisms that are living in it. There are a wide number of devices available that will measure the oxygen concentration in a sample of water which will help to determine whether it is safe or harmful for organisms that live in, or near to, a body of water.
Turbidity can often be thought of merely as the 'cloudiness' of a body of water. More technically, the turbidity is a measure of the suspended solids or particles that are present in a body of water, as these are what make the water cloudy. By measuring the turbidity of a body of water, you can test to see how many particles and solids are dissolved in a body of water and this can often lead to further tests to find out exactly which particles are polluting a body of water and whether these particles are dangerous or natural.