TEST EXPLANATIONS FOR VARIOUS WATER QUALITY PARAMETERS
Definitions (as used below)
- MCL = Maximum contaminant level. This is maximum allowable amount for public water systems.
- mg/L = Milligrams per liter. 1 mg/L is equivalent to one ppm.
- ppm = Parts per million. 1 ppm is equivalent to one mg/L.
- mg CaCO3/L = milligrams calcium carbonate per liter.
- g/gal = Grains per gallon.
- μS/cm – Microseimens per centimeter.
Nitrate – The MCL for nitrate is 10 mg/L (ppm). If your concentration is above this level there is reason to be concerned. Please contact your local Health Department for more information.
Nitrite – The MCL for nitrite is 1 mg/L (ppm). If your concentration is above this level there is reason to be concerned. Please contact your local Health Department for more information.
Alkalinity – Alkalinity is a measure of the buffering, or acid-neutralizing capacity of water. It is reported to a designated pH which is recorded (The alkalinity to pH____=____mg CaCO3/L) to indicate the endpoint used for the test. The range for drinking water alkalinity is wide with typical ranges from 0-500 mg CaCO3/L depending on the source of the water.
Total and Calcium Hardness – Total hardness is a measure of the concentrations of calcium and magnesium in water. Calcium hardness is just the calcium fraction. Hard water may be responsible for staining of fixtures or build up of deposits within household plumbing. The units for these are mg CaCO3/L. This can be converted to grains per gallon (g/gal). One g/gal equals 17.5 mg CaCO3/L Hardness. Hardness is typically removed with water softeners that use salt in an ion exchange process.
Fluoride – Fluoride is a naturally occurring element in many groundwaters. It is also added to some public water systems (including MVWA) at a dose of 0.7 mg/L to reduce dental caries. The MCL for fluoride in New York State is 2.2 mg/L. Fluoride levels in excess of 4 mg/L have been known to cause mottling of teeth.
Chloride – Chloride is one of the major anions found in water. The MCL for chloride is 250 mg/L. If your concentration is above this level there may be reason to be concerned. Please contact your local Health Department for more information.
Sulfate – Sulfate is widely found in nature and can range from low to very high levels in water. The MCL for sulfate is 250 mg/L. Please contact your local Health Department for more information.
Turbidity – This is a measure of the clarity of water. It is caused by colloidal or suspended matter in the water. Because microbes can be attached to this material, having high turbidity levels can lend to the presence of bacteria in water.
Conductivity – Conductivity is the ability of a water to carry a current. This depends on the number of ions in the water. The units are μS/cm and typical drinking water ranges are wide, ranging from zero to over 1000 μS/cm.
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||USEPA ID#: NY01505
||American Waterworks Association (AWWA)
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||New York State ELAP ID#: 10319
||Water Research Foundation
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|Pennsylvania DEP ID#: 68-03428