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Water quality parameters

Water quality parameters are divided into physical, chemical and biological. Examples of physical water quality parameters are temperature, salinity and turbidity. Examples of chemical water quality are heavy metals, pH, nitrate and phosphorus. Examples of biological water quality parameters are pathogens and indicator microorganism.  

 

  1.  Temperature

Temperature is an important water quality parameter because it affects the degradation rate of the biodegradable pollutants. Temperature also affects the level of dissolved oxygen in water. Moreover, temperature affects the treatment efficiency of both water and wastewater. Sharp increases or decreases of temperature cause high adverse impacts on the ecological system.
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  1. pH

Considerable changes in water pH usually occurs as a result of industrial discharges. This in turn make the water unsuitable for drinking and other uses for industry and agriculture. 
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  1. Dissolved oxygen

Dissolved oxygen (DO) is an important water quality parameter as it gives a good idea about how healthy the water is. High dissolved oxygen concentrations are usually associated with clean water while low dissolved oxygen are associated with polluted water. Dissolved oxygen in water is usually reduced due to organic pollution or due to thermal discharges from industries. Very low dissolved oxygen in water has adverse effects on most flora and fauna including fish and might lead to extinction. 
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  1. Salinity

High salinity in water makes it unsuitable for drinking and other usages such as agriculture and industry. High salinity may be caused by natural sources such as the geological structure of soil or by man-made pollutants. 
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  1. Electrical conductivity

Electrical conductivity is determined by the concentrations of ions and cations that conduct electricity. High salinity is associated with high electrical conductivity. Pollutants from urban, agricultural and industrial sources usually increase the electrical conductivity of water and make it unsuitable for usage.
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  1. Turbidity

High turbidity in water adversely affects its flora and fauna and makes the water unsuitable for drinking and other uses. 
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  1. Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)

Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) is indirect measure of the amount of biodegradable organics in water. It is the amount of oxygen consumed by microorganisms to biodegrade the organics in water. The unit of BOD is mg DO per liter. Chemical oxygen demand (COD) is used to refer to the concentration of all the organic materials. 
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  1. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate

These are usually caused from the discharges of agricultural and industrial sources and causes eutrophication of water bodies. Also, high concentrations of these pollutants make the water unsuitable for drinking and industrial usage.
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  1. Phosphorus

Presence of phosphorus is caused by untreated discharges from domestic, agricultural and industrial sources. High concentrations of phosphorus cause eutrophication  and make the water unsuitable for drinking and industrial usage.   
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  1. Heavy metals

Heavy metals such as lead and mercury are dangerous and hazardous pollutants even at minute concentrations. They are mainly introduced to the environment from industrial sources. 
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  1. Pathogens

Pathogens are disease (such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery) causing microorganisms such as Shigella bacteria, Vibrio cholerae bacteria and Salmonella typhi bactera. They mainly reach to the water bodies from the discharges of untreated sewage.
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  1. Indicator microorganisms

Indicator microorganisms such as total coliform, fecal coliform, fecal streptococci and  E-coli are used to indicate the possibility of sewage pollution in  the water. The higher the coliform bacteria concentration, the higher the possibility of having pathogens in water. Due to the difficulty to diagnose pathogens, indicator organisms are used instead.
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  1. What does “eutrophication”mean?

Eutrophication refers to an increase of nutrients in a water body. It is a natural process but when it is accelerated by natural or human causes it is an issue for concern. Many human activities have led to widespread eutrophication in rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans around the world impacting water quality and biodiversity. As a natural process, eutrophication is part of the aging of water bodies which tend to be very low in nutrients when they form. As streams feed them, they carry nutrients which foster plant life, ultimately allowing other species to grow as well.
However, eutrophication can be rapidly accelerated by human activities, in which case it is known as “nutrient pollution.” Fertilizer and manure runoff from farms is a leading cause of eutrophication around the world. As these nutrients enter the water supply, they induce an explosion of plant life and algae which dramatically reduces the amount of available oxygen in the water, ultimately choking out animal species and creating a so-called “dead zone.”

  1. What is the reason for turbidity in surface waters?

Turbidity is an important parameter in views of drinking waters and some industrial waters (food and drinks). Turbidity of domestic, industrial wastes and rain waters are rather high. High turbidity of water occurs when hung solid hinder the pass of the light through the water. Main substances causing turbidity are kaoline, silisium, organic substances, microscopic organisms, calcium carbonate, aliminium hydroxide, iron hydroxide or similar substances  (Bayraklı et al, 2001). 

 


 


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