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The Authoritative Resource on Safe Water

Fourth Edition
Principles and Practices of Water Supply Operations
WATER QUALITY
1P-4E-7.5C-1958-6/10-SB
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AWWA is the authoritative resource for knowledge, information, and advocacy
to improve the quality and supply of water in North America and beyond. AWWA
is the largest organization of water professionals in the world, advancing
public health, safety, and welfare by uniting the efforts of the full spectrum
of the water community. Through our collective strength, we become better
stewards of water for the greatest good of people and the environment.
A
clear understanding of water quality is the basis
for all water treatment processes. Water operators
need to recognize, monitor, and test for a wide variety of
water quality elements and contaminants. They also must
comprehend the regulations regarding safe water. This
book is the premier reference on water quality for water
treatment operators everywhere.
Completely revised and updated, Water Quality,
Fourth Edition covers
Public water supply regulations, including potential
future rules
Water quality monitoring and sampling, laboratory
certifcation, record keeping; and sample preservation,
storage, and transportation
Laboratory equipment and instruments
Microbiological contaminants
Physical and aggregate properties of water
Inorganic chemicals, particularly chlorine residuals and disinfection by-products;
Organic and radiological contaminants, including health effects
Customer inquiries and complaint investigation
Water Quality is Part Four of the fve-part Principles and Practices of Water
Supply Operations (WSO) series of training texts for water operators, developed and
published by the American Water Works Association.
Additional titles in the Water Supply Operations Series
Water Sources
Water Treatment
Water Transmission and Distribution
Basic Science Concepts and Applications
1958 Water Quality Cover.indd 1 5/25/2010 3:35:37 PM
Water Quality
WaterQuality.book Page i Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES OF WATER SUPPLY OPERATIONS SERIES
Water Sources, Fourth Edition
Water Treatment, Fourth Edition
Water Transmission and Distribution, Fourth Edition
Water Quality, Fourth Edition
Basic Science Concepts and Applications, Fourth Edition
WaterQuality.book Page ii Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
Water Quality
Fourth Edition
WaterQuality.book Page iii Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
6666 West Quincy Avenue
Denver, CO 80235-3098
303.794.7711
www.awwa.org
Copyright 1979, 1995, 2003, 2010 American Water Works Association.
All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.
No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information or retrieval system,
except in the form of brief excerpts or quotations for review purposes, without the written
permission of the publisher.
Project Manager/Senior Technical Editor: Melissa Valentine
Technical Editor: Linda Bevard
Cover Design: Cheryl Armstrong
Production: Kayci Wyatt, TIPS Technical Publishing, Inc.
Disclaimer
Many of the photographs and illustrative drawings that appear in this book have been furnished
through the courtesy of various product distributors and manufacturers. Any mention of trade
names, commercial products, or services does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for
use by the American Water Works Association or the US Environmental Protection Agency. In no
event will AWWA be liable for direct, indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages arising
out of the use of information presented in this book. In particular, AWWA will not be responsible
for any costs, including, but not limited to, those incurred as a result of lost revenue. In no event
shall AWWAs liability exceed the amount paid for the purchase of this book.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Ritter, Joseph A.
Water quality / by Joseph A. Ritter.4th ed.
p. cm. (Principles and practices of water supply operations)
Rev. ed. of: Water quality. 2003.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-58321-780-1
1. Water quality. 2. Water qualityMeasurement. I. American Water Works Association. II.
Water quality. III. Title.
TD370.W392 2010
628.1'61dc22
2010004522
ISBN 10: 1-58321-780-0
ISBN 13: 978-1-58321-780-1
WaterQuality.book Page iv Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
v
Contents
Foreword ................................................................................................................ vii
Acknowledgments .................................................................................................... ix
Introduction ............................................................................................................. xi
Chapter 1 Public Water Supply Regulations ............................................... 1
Safe Drinking Water Act ........................................................... 1
Current and Future Rules Affecting Drinking Water Systems.... 23
Drinking Water Program Requirements.................................. 33
Special Regulation Requirements ............................................ 34
Selected Supplementary Readings ........................................... 39
Chapter 2 Water Quality Monitoring ....................................................... 41
Sampling.................................................................................. 41
Monitoring for Chemical Contaminants ................................. 58
Laboratory Certification ......................................................... 59
Record Keeping and Sample Labeling..................................... 61
Sample Preservation, Storage, and Transportation ................. 62
Selected Supplementary Readings ........................................... 65
Chapter 3 Water Laboratory Equipment and Instruments ......................... 67
Labware .................................................................................. 67
Major Laboratory Equipment ................................................. 78
Safety Equipment .................................................................... 85
Support Equipment ................................................................. 90
Analytical Laboratory Instruments ......................................... 94
Selected Supplementary Readings .......................................... 106
Chapter 4 Microbiological Contaminants ................................................ 107
History ................................................................................... 107
Indicator Organisms............................................................... 111
Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC) Procedure ......................... 118
Selected Supplementary Readings .......................................... 120
Chapter 5 Physical and Aggregate Properties of Water ........................... 123
Acidity.................................................................................... 123
Alkalinity................................................................................ 124
Calcium Carbonate Stability .................................................. 125
Coagulent Effectiveness.......................................................... 127
Color ...................................................................................... 132
Conductivity........................................................................... 133
Hardness................................................................................. 134
Taste and Odor....................................................................... 135
WaterQuality.book Page v Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
VI WATER QUALITY
Temperature........................................................................... 139
Total Dissolved Solids............................................................ 140
Turbidity................................................................................ 140
Selected Supplementary Readings .......................................... 143
Chapter 6 Inorganic Chemicals ................................................................ 145
Carbon Dioxide ..................................................................... 145
Chlroine Residual and Demand............................................. 146
Disinfection By-Products ....................................................... 148
Dissolved Oxygen................................................................... 150
Inorganic Metals .................................................................... 151
Fluoride ................................................................................. 153
Iron........................................................................................ 154
Manganese ............................................................................. 155
Selected Supplementary Readings .......................................... 157
Chapter 7 Organic Contaminants ............................................................ 159
Natural Organic Substances................................................... 159
Synthetic Organic Substances................................................. 162
Health Effects of Organic Chemicals...................................... 162
Measurement of Organic Compounds ................................... 163
Selected Supplementary Readings .......................................... 167
Chapter 8 Radiological Contaminants ..................................................... 169
Radioactive Materials ............................................................ 169
Radioactive Contaminants in Water ...................................... 171
Adverse Health Effects of Radioactivity ................................ 173
Radionuclide Monitoring Requirements................................ 173
Selected Supplementary Readings .......................................... 175
Chapter 9 Customer Inquiries and Complaint Investigation ...................... 177
General Principles .................................................................. 177
Specific Complaints................................................................ 179
Selected Supplementary Readings .......................................... 185
Glossary................................................................................................................. 187
Index...................................................................................................................... 207
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vii
Foreword
Water Quality is part four in a five-part series titled Principles and Practices of Water Sup-
ply Operations. It contains information required by treatment system operators on drink-
ing water regulations and water quality sampling and monitoring and describes the
laboratory equipment and instrumentation used today to analyze drinking water for
microbiological, chemical, and physical contaminants.
The other books in the series are
Water Sources
Water Treatment
Water Transmission and Distribution
Basic Science Concepts and Applications (a reference handbook)
References are made to the other books in the series where appropriate in the text.
The reference handbook is a companion to all four books. It contains basic reviews of
mathematics, hydraulics, chemistry, and electricity needed for the problems and computa-
tions required in water supply operation. The handbook also uses examples to explain and
demonstrate many specific problems.
WaterQuality.book Page vii Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
WaterQuality.book Page viii Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
ix
Acknowledgments
This fourth edition of Water Quality has been revised to include the latest available infor-
mation on new analytical techniques and current federal drinking water regulations. The
material has also been reorganized for better coordination with the other books in the
series. The author of the revision was Joseph A. Ritter (B.S. Chemistry and certified Water
Treatment Operator). Special thanks go to Dr. Charles D. Hertz, Ph.D., Aqua America,
Inc. and Dr. Jennifer L. Clancy, Ph.D., Clancy Environmental Consultants, Inc. for their
review of the manuscript.
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WaterQuality.book Page x Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
xi
Introduction
Water treatment plant operators are required to understand federal, state and local laws
and the standards that apply to domestic water treatment systems. They should under-
stand how drinking water regulations are administered and why compliance is essential to
providing safe drinking water to the public. Potable water treatment is a health related
industry.
Drinking water regulations set the treatment goals for the water supply industry.
Their intent is to ensure uniform delivery of safe and aesthetically pleasing drinking water
to the public.
Drinking water regulations specify monitoring requirements, and water system opera-
tors are responsible for two types of monitoring: 1) monitoring required to ensure that the
water is safe for human consumption, i.e., the water is potable [compliance monitoring];
and 2) monitoring to measure the efficiency of treatment processes [process monitoring or
testing].
Water treatment plant operators are responsible for the proper sampling, i.e., the
proper collection and preservation, and in some cases, the basic microbiological and
chemical analyses of these samples.
This book contains nine chapters. Federal, state and local regulations continue to
become more stringent and complicated. Chapter 1 provides a brief but thorough discus-
sion of the Safe Drinking Water Act and federal drinking water regulations in effect as of
publication of this fourth edition. Information on the regulations and suggested reading
sources are provided for additional information.
Each water system operator should have access to the latest Federal and state drink-
ing water regulations. These documents will detail the specific requirements that must be
met and the methods of water system operation, monitoring, and reporting required by
the Federal and state primacy agencies. Care must be taken to learn the specifics of the
primacy agency for each regulation in your specific geographical area, since some regula-
tions now fall to the county or local levels for primary enforcement. The increasing
complexity of the regulations and who has primacy over which regulation under varying
circumstances has added to the operators burden of compliance. In some areas utilities
are now having reporting regulations imposed on them by non-health related organiza-
tions such as public utility commissions.
Water quality analysis is an important part of the operation of every public water system.
Chapter 2 discusses the basics of proper sampling and monitoring.
Large water systems usually have access to comprehensive onsite laboratories.
Maintaining an onsite, dedicated laboratory requires a substantial capital investment in
equipment and technicians trained to perform the various analyses. Medium size sys-
tems often have small laboratories with the capability to perform less complicated anal-
yses. Small systems generally send samples to a state or commercial laboratory for
microbiological and chemical analyses. Chapter 3 describes the equipment and instru-
mentation used in water analyses.
WaterQuality.book Page xi Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
XII WATER QUALITY
Water system operators are required to perform basic water analyses and to interpret
the test results. Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 discuss the techniques commonly used to charac-
terize drinking water.
Chapter 9 provides valuable suggestions for customer complaint and water quality
inquiry investigation.
Additional information on equipment, reagents, and detailed test procedures to con-
duct each test can be found in either of the following references:
Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater (most recent edition).
Methods of Chemical Analyses for Water and Wastes, USEPA, Office of Technology
(most recent edition).
Simplified procedures for the more common tests are also provided in the following
publications:
AWWA Manual M12, Simplified Procedures for Water Examination (most recent
edition).
Several laboratory equipment manufacturers and suppliers have prepared handbooks
that outline the required equipment, reagents, and common test procedures.
It should be noted that all procedures, methods or any related reporting should be in
compliance with the agency that has primacy for your specific region, since these regula-
tions and requirements can vary from one state to another.
SELECTED SUPPLEMENTARY READINGS
Manual M12, Simplified Procedures for Water Examination. 2002. Denver, CO:
American Water Works Association.
Methods of Chemical Analyses of Water and Wastes. 1984. 600/4-79-020. Cincinnati,
Ohio: US Environmental Protection Agency. [NOTE: This is an older manual that
may not be available, Check the EPA web site for updated methods. http://
www.epa.gov/safewater/regs.html#proposed ]
Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. 21st ed. 1998. A.D.
Eaton, L.S. Clesceri, and A.E. Greenberg, eds. Washington D.C.: American Public
Health Association, American Water Works Association, and Water Environment
Federation.
WaterQuality.book Page xii Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
1
C H A P T E R 1
Public Water Supply Regulations
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), passed by Congress and signed into law in 1974,
started a new era in the field of public water supply. The number of water systems subject
to state and federal regulations has vastly increased, and the complexity of the regulations
that must now be met far exceeds what could have been imagined just a few years ago. In
addition, public water systems are subject to many additional state, local, and federal
environmental and safety regulations.
SAFE DRINKING WATER ACT
The principal law governing drinking water safety in the United States is the SDWA.
SDWA was passed by Congress and signed into law in 1974. Suspected carcinogens discov-
ered in the drinking water of the United States established a widespread sense of urgency
that led to its passage. SDWA directs the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)
to promulgate and enforce National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWRs) that
cover more than 92 contaminants, ensuring safe drinking water for the consumer and pro-
tecting public health. These include turbidity, 8 microbial or indicator organisms, 4 radio-
nuclides (unless you are determined to be at risk; then 3 more are added), 32 inorganic
contaminants including the secondary standards and the disinfection by-products (DBPs)
if applicable, and more than 60 organic contaminants including synthetic organic com-
pounds (SOC), volatile organic compounds (VOC), and DBP compounds. There are also
myriad regulations on plant operation, personnel qualified to operate a water system, and
relationships with customers. These are set not only by the USEPA but by state and local
regulatory bodies, and operators must be knowledgeable about all of these regulations.
Under SDWA, USEPA sets legal limits on the levels of certain contaminants in drink-
ing water. The legal limits reflect both the level that protects human health and the level
water systems can achieve using the best available technology (BAT). Besides prescribing
these legal limits, USEPA rules set water testing schedules and methods that water systems
must follow. The rules also list acceptable techniques for treating contaminated water.
SDWA gives individual states the opportunity to set and enforce their own drinking water
standards if the standards are at least as stringent as USEPAs national standards. Most
states and territories directly oversee the water systems within their borders.
The requirements of the SDWA are applicable to all 50 states, the District of Colum-
bia, Indian lands, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Com-
monwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Republic of Palau. The intent of the
SDWA is for each state to accept primary enforcement responsibility (primacy) for the
operation of the states drinking water program. Indian tribes may also be delegated
primacy for administration of public water supplies on tribal lands. As of 1994, all the
WaterQuality.book Page 1 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
2 WATER QUALITY
states and territories except Wyoming and the District of Columbia had accepted primacy.
Only a few of the larger Indian tribes have accepted primacy.
SDWA was amended six times between 1974 and 1986 and again in 1996 and 1999.
The 1986 SDWA amendments set up a timetable under which USEPA was required to
develop primary standards for 83 contaminants. Other major provisions required USEPA to
1. Define an approval treatment technique for each regulated contaminant,
2. Specify criteria for filtration of surface water supplies,
3. Specify criteria for disinfecting surface water and groundwater supplies, and
4. Prohibit the use of lead products in materials used to convey drinking water.
In April 1993, the largest waterborne disease outbreak in the United States occurred
in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, when an estimated 403,000 people were affected by the proto-
zoan parasite Cryptosporidium parvum. This event attracted national attention to the
importance of safe drinking water and influenced the current theme of regulations. The
1996 amendments revised the contaminant list and regulatory process.
On August 6, 1996, new SDWA amendments were signed into Public Law 104-182.
These amendments created several new programs and included a total authorization of
more than $12 billion in federal funds for drinking water programs. A section was added
to the regulations to clarify the standardization of operator certification programs by the
primacy agencies. A panel was formed to set policy so that all states, territories, and tribes
have a minimum set of requirements for certified water treatment operators. The regula-
tions that came out in 1999 gave the states the power to create their own separate pro-
grams as long as certain requirements were met. This included a minimum of a high
school diploma or equivalent for the operator, a grading for systems by size and technol-
ogy, mandatory testing of operators, and mandatory continuing education tied to a certifi-
cation renewal that was not to exceed a three year cycle. There was also to be an
enforcement policy to suspend or revoke certification including criminal and civil actions.
Grandfathering for site-specific operators was to be allowed as determined by the primacy
agency with the owner of the system applying for the certification for the systems opera-
tors; these certifications would be nontransferable to other persons or other treatment
facilities. The grandfathered operators had to meet all the requirements for the class of
certification for renewal. The rules further stipulated that the system had to have an oper-
ator for the size and level of treatment, and if the system was upgraded or the technology
changed, the operator had to be tested and upgraded before he could operate the changes.
Public Water Systems
USEPA has further divided public water systems (PWS) that are covered by SDWA
requirements into three categories based on the type of customers served, as follows:
WaterQuality.book Page 2 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY REGULATIONS 3
1. Community public water systems (CWS) serve year-round residents and include
municipal systems, mobile home parks, and apartment buildings with their own water
system serving 15 or more units or 25 or more people.
2. Nontransient, noncommunity public water systems (NTNCWS) are entities with their
own water supply serving an average of at least 25 persons who do not live at the loca-
tion but who use the water for more than six months per year. These systems include
schools and office buildings.
3. Transient, noncommunity public water systems (TNCWS) are establishments that have
their own water system, where an average of at least 25 people per day visit and use
the water occasionally or for only short periods of time. Examples include restau-
rants, hotels, motels, churches, and parks.
A public water system covered under the provisions of the SDWA supplies piped
water for human consumption and has at least 15 service connections or serves 25 or more
persons 60 or more days each year.
Examples of systems that do not fall under the provisions of the act are private homes
on their own wells, housing developments, condominiums, and apartments that each have
fewer than 15 connections and serve fewer than 25 residents. Summer camps with a water
source that operates fewer than 60 days a year are also included. These systems are usually
covered to some degree by state, county, or local health regulations.
Figure 1-1 provides examples of the types of water systems or establishments that are
covered under each category. The rationale for dividing systems into these three groups is
the chemical exposure of persons using the water. Most chemical contaminants only cause
adverse health effects after long-term exposure. Brief exposure of an individual to low lev-
els of a chemical contaminant may not have an effect.
FIGURE 1-1 Classification of public water systems
Public
Water
System
Community
Water Systems
Municipal Systems
Rural Water Districts
Mobile Home Parks
Schools
Factories
Office Buildings
Parks
Motels
Restaurants
Churches
Nontransient,
Noncommunity
Water Systems
Transient,
Noncommunity
Water Systems
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4 WATER QUALITY
Consider a municipal water system or mobile home park water supply contaminated
with a low concentration of a carcinogen, a chemical known to cause cancer. A person
who drinks this water every day for a period of years theoretically has an increased chance
of getting cancer. A person who works in an office building that has a water supply con-
taminated by a carcinogen may experience adverse health effects if the person drinks the
contaminated water over an extended period of time. A person who visits a hotel and
drinks the same contaminated water will only drink a small amount of contaminated
water and will have a lower risk of contracting cancer.
Monitoring requirements for community and nontransient, noncommunity water sys-
tems apply to all contaminants considered a health threat. Transient, noncommunity sys-
tems are only required to monitor for contaminants currently considered to pose a
potential health threat from brief exposure, such as nitrite and nitrate and microbiological
contaminants.
Approximately 155,000 public water systems in the United States are regulated under
USEPA and SDWA rules. About 52,000 are classed as community systems, and
approximately103,000 fall under one of the two noncommunity systems.
The USEPA classifies community public water systems according to the number of
customers they serve, the source of water and whether the service is year round or on an
occasional or seasonal basis.
Very small systems serve fewer than 25 to 500 people, constitute 56 percent of the com-
munity water systems, and serve 2 percent of the community water system population.
Small systems serve 501 to 3,300 people, constitute 27 percent of the community water
systems, and serve 7 percent of the community water system population.
Medium systems serve 3,301 to 10,000 people, constitute 9 percent of the community
water systems, and serve 10 percent of the community water system population.
Large systems serve 10,001 to 100,000 people, constitute 7 percent of the community
water systems, and serve 36 percent of the community water system population.
Very large systems serve more than 100,001 customers, constitute 1 percent of the
community water systems, and serve 46 percent of the community water system popu-
lation. (Data are from USEPAs FACTOIDS: Drinking Water and Ground Water Sta-
tistics for 2008.)
National Primary Drinking Water Regulations
NPDWRs specify maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) or treatment techniques (TTs)
for contaminants that may have an adverse health effect on humans. The primary regula-
tions are mandatory, and all public water systems must comply with them. If analysis of
the water produced by a water system indicates that an MCL for a contaminant is
exceeded, the water system must initiate a treatment regime to reduce the contaminant
concentration to below the MCL or take appropriate steps to protect the publics health.
WaterQuality.book Page 4 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY REGULATIONS 5
Table 1-1 lists the status of USEPA primary drinking water standards at the time this
book was prepared, and Table 1-2 describes the required sampling. (Some of the special
monitoring for the Stage 2 Disinfectant/Disinfection By-Products (D/DBP2) Rule and
other rules is not shown in Table 1-2. The final result of the monitoring will differ for each
system depending on the results of the preliminary sampling.)
Maximum contaminant level goals
The maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG) is the concentration or level of a contam-
inant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs
allow for a margin of safety and are nonenforceable public health goals. An MCLG is
determined using a combination of animal studies and human exposure data. It is the goal
the experts would like to see achieved for complete protection of public health.
In some cases the MCLG is economically achievable, and in other instances it is not.
For noncarcinogens, the MCLG is a finite number. For known or suspected human car-
cinogens, the MCLG is zero.
Maximum contaminant levels
The MCL is the highest level of a contaminant allowed in drinking water. MCLs are
enforceable standards. SDWA attempts to establish an MCL and an MCLG for each
drinking water contaminant. The MCL is set at a level as close as possible to the MCLG
but at a concentration that is reasonable and economically achievable with BAT. When it
is impossible or impractical to establish an MCL, the USEPA can establish a TT and spec-
ify treatment methods that must be used to minimize exposure of the public. Existing
MCLs are adjusted from time to time as improved treatment technologies and laboratory
testing methods are developed and it becomes economically feasible to move the MCL
closer to the MCLG. An MCL may be changed if new health effects data indicate that the
reduction or increase in the allowable levels will not harm the population.
Compliance with the MCL levels varies by the contaminant and can be based on a
single sample or running annual averages (RAA).
Maximum residual disinfectant level goal (MRDL/MRDLG). For chlorine, chloram-
ines, and chlorine dioxide, the MRDL and the MRDLG have been set to the same level that
is 4.0 mg/L for chlorine and chloramines and 0.8 mg/L for chlorine dioxidethe level of a
drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known expected risk to health. These
levels are monitored at the tap of the user; thus, more could be present on leaving the treat-
ment facility as needed. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of a disinfectant used to con-
trol microorganisms.
WaterQuality.book Page 5 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
6 WATER QUALITY
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WaterQuality.book Page 13 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
14 WATER QUALITY
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PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY REGULATIONS 17
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WaterQuality.book Page 17 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
18 WATER QUALITY
Public Notification
Public water systems that do not comply with the SDWA are required to provide public
notification. Systems that violate operating, monitoring, or reporting requirements or
briefly exceed an MCL must inform the public of the problem. Even though the problem
may have already been corrected, an explanation must be provided in the news media
describing the public health significance of the violation. Some violations are more serious
than others and three tiers of public notification have been established (Table 1-3). Tier I
violations are more serious than Tier II and Tier III violations and have more extensive
notification requirements.
The USEPA published new regulations and guidelines in May 2000 for all PWSs to be
in compliance with no later than May 6, 2002. These provisions increased the reasons for
public notifications and shortened the period for the initial notifications for Tier I events
(Table 1-3). The USEPA has added wording that the PWS must give notice for all viola-
tions of the NPDWR and for other situations determined by the primacy agency. The
USEPA also stipulates that the users of the water, not just the billed customer, are to be
notified. Consecutive systems have to notify their affected customers once they have been
notified by their purchase water supplier. Basically the required notification timetable has
changed to a more uniform, simplified methodthat is, Tier I notices must now be given in
24 hours, not 72 hours as in the old regulations; Tier II notices are now required in 30 days,
not the former 14 days; and Tier III notices are required within one year instead of 90 days.
USEPA provides language mandatory for use with each type of public notification to
fully inform the public of the significance of the violation. Notification about tier level and
frequency of violations may vary depending on the state and local regulations, but the
penalty can be no less severe than the federal regulations. Since 9/11, many regulators have
greatly increased their use of the public notification guidelines especially for operating
conditionsfor example, overfeed of a treatment chemical such as fluorideand other
potential problems in the drinking water. Fluoride now has a requirement for notification
if the secondary MCL of 2.0 mg/L is exceeded generating at least a Tier III notification.
Again, check with the local primacy agency as to level of warning.
As has been noted, the USEPA has changed the notification process to include all types
of systemstransient, nontransient, and community water systemsand they must meet
the same time constraints of 24 hours, 30 days, and one year depending on the seriousness of
the violation and what tier it falls into. Tier I notifications even have the added requirement
for an all-clear notification. The way notifications are to be delivered also varies depending
on the severity of the notice and the type of system. These notifications may include any or a
mixture of the following as determined by the system emergency notification plan and what
the primacy agency agrees to in each case: radio, television, newspaper, hand delivery,
mobile loudspeakers, texting, publication on system web site, posting in public places,
reverse 911, and so on.
WaterQuality.book Page 18 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY REGULATIONS 19
TABLE 1-3 Summary of notification requirements
Category of Violation and Causes
TIER I Immediate notification, within 24 hours (primacy agency will determine follow-up noti-
fications including all-clear notices)
Fecal coliform violations, including failure to sample after initial distribution coliform
positive
Nitrate, nitrite or total nitratenitrite MCL violation, or failure to take confirmation
sample
Chlorine dioxide MRDL, violation in distribution system or failure to take distribution
samples as required
Exceedance of maximum allowable turbidity level, if elevated to Tier I by primacy
agency
Waterborne disease outbreak or other waterborne emergency
Special notice for noncommunity water systems (NCWSs) with nitrate exceedance
where variance has been given by primacy agency
Other situations or occurrences as determined by the primacy agency
TIER II Notice as soon as possible but within 30 days (quarterly repeat notifications until the
violation is resolved or as directed by primacy agency)
All MCL, MRDL, and TT violations, except where elevated to Tier I notice as required
Monitoring violations, if elevated to Tier II by primacy agency
Failure to comply with variance and exemption conditions
Primacy Agency May Change Any of These to
Tier I Classification Based on Potential Threat to Health.
TIER III Notice within 12 months (repeated annually until resolved)
Monitoring or testing procedure violations unless elevated to Tier II by primacy agency
Operation under a variance or exemption
Special public notices (fluoride secondary maximum contaminant level exceedance,
availability of regulatory monitoring results such as the unregulated contaminant mon-
itoring results, Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (Cryptosporidium
or E. coli), D/DBP2 (IDSE),
Derived and adapted from Federal Register 40 CFR Ch. 1 (July 2006 edition) and EPA the Pub-
lic Notification Rule: A Quick Reference Guide.
WaterQuality.book Page 19 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
20 WATER QUALITY
Formal enforcement
In instances of serious or prolonged noncompliance with federal requirements, SDWA has
provided USEPA and the states with authority to assess stiff monetary fines.
Monitoring and reporting requirements
To ensure that drinking water meets federal and state requirements, all water systems are
required to regularly sample and test the water supplied to consumers. The regulations
specify minimum sampling frequencies, sampling locations, testing procedures, require-
ments for record keeping, and routine reporting to the state. The regulations also cover
special reporting procedures to be followed if a contaminant exceeds an MCL. Failure to
monitor the water according to regulations, whether intentional or not, can lead to a pub-
lic notification incident, the type of notice to be delivered is determined by the type of
contaminant to be monitored whether the contaminant has acute immediate effects or
chronic long term effects. The primacy agency in charge of the drinking water program for
the contaminant will determine the type of violation and the notification procedures.
Monitoring
The federal regulations specify minimum monitoring frequencies, which in many cases are
a function of the type of water source, the type of treatment, and the size of the water sys-
tem. All systems must provide periodic testing for microbiological contamination and
analysis for some chemical contaminants.
With the continual addition of new requirements for further testing of water quality,
USEPA has instituted a reorganization of monitoring requirements called the standard-
ized monitoring framework.
Reporting and record keeping
The results of all water analyses must be provided periodically to the primacy agency,
whether it is federal, state, or local. Failure to have the proper analyses performed or to
report the results to the state primacy agency usually results in the water system having to
provide public notification. Specific information, shown in Table 1-4, must be included on
every laboratory report.
There are also specific requirements for the operation and monitoring records water
systems must keep and for the length of time the records must be retained. These require-
ments are summarized in Table 1-5. Although state requirements for monitoring, report-
ing, and record retention must be as stringent as federal requirements, they often vary and
may include specific required procedures.
Variances and Exemptions
Each drinking water regulation includes provisions for variances and exemptions. States
are authorized to grant one or more variances to a water system that cannot comply with
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PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY REGULATIONS 21
an MCL because of characteristics of the water source(s). A variance may only be granted
to systems that have installed full-scale BAT for treatment of the MCL being violated.
Granting of a variance must not result in an unreasonable risk to the public health, and
the state must prescribe a schedule of compliance.
States may exempt a water system from an MCL or treatment technique requirement
if it finds that all three of the following conditions exist:
1. The system is unable to comply with the requirement because of compelling factors
(which may include economic factors).
2. The exemptions will not result in an unreasonable risk to public health.
3. The system was in operation as of January 1, 1989, or, if it was not, no reasonable
alternative source of drinking water is available to the new system.
TABLE 1-4 Laboratory report summary requirements
Type of Information Summary Requirement
Sampling information Date, place, and time of sampling
Name of sample collector
Identification of sample
Routine or check sample
Raw or treated water
Analysis information Date of analysis
Laboratory conducting analysis
Name of person responsible
Analytical method used
Analysis results
TABLE 1-5 Record-keeping requirements
Type of Record Time Period
Bacteriological and turbidity analyses 5 years
Chemical analyses 10 years
Actions taken to correct violations 3 years
Sanitary survey reports 10 years
Exemptions 5 years following expiration
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22 WATER QUALITY
National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations
A National Secondary Drinking Water Regulation is a nonenforceable guideline regard-
ing contaminants that may cause aesthetic effects such as taste, odor, and color. Some
states choose to adopt them as enforceable standards. Table 1-6 lists the secondary MCLs.
Table 1-7 lists the adverse effects of secondary contaminants.
TABLE 1-6 National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations
Contaminant Secondary Standard
Aluminum 0.050.2 mg/L
Chloride 250 mg/L
Color 15 color units
Copper 1.0 mg/L
Corrosivity Noncorrosive
Fluoride 2.0 mg/L
Foaming agents 0.5 mg/L
Iron 0.3 mg/L
Manganese 0.05 mg/L
Odor 3 threshold odor number
pH 6.58.5
Silver 0.10 mg/L
Sulfate 250 mg/L
Total dissolved solids 500 mg/L
Zinc 5 mg/L
Note: For more information, read Secondary Drinking Water Regulations: Guidance for
Nuisance Chemicals.
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PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY REGULATIONS 23
CURRENT AND FUTURE RULES AFFECTING DRINKING WATER
SYSTEMS
Existing rules intended to control microbial risks include the following:
Total Coliform Rule (TCR)
Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR)
TABLE 1-7 Adverse effects of secondary contaminants
Contaminant Adverse Effect
Chloride Causes taste. Adds to total dissolved solids and scale. Indicates
contamination. Can accelerate the corrosion of some metals.
Color Indicates dissolved organics may be present, which may lead to
trihalomethane formation. Unappealing appearance.
Copper Undesirable metallic taste.
Corrosivity Corrosion products unappealing to consumers. Causes tastes and
odors. Corrosion products can affect health. Corrosion causes costly
deterioration of water system.
Fluoride Dental fluorosis (mottling or discoloration of teeth).
Foaming agents Unappealing appearance. Indicates possible contamination.
Hydrogen sulfide Offensive odor. Causes black stains on contact with iron. Can accu-
mulate to deadly concentration in poorly ventilated areas. Flammable
and explosive.
Iron Discolors laundry brown. Changes taste of water, tea, coffee, and
other beverages.
Manganese Discolors laundry. Changes taste of water, tea, coffee, and other
beverages.
Odor Unappealing to drink. May indicate contamination.
pH Below 6.5, water is corrosive. Above 8.5, water will form scale, taste
bitter.
Sulfate Has a laxative effect.
Total dissolved solids Associated with taste, scale, corrosion, and hardness.
Zinc Undesirable taste. Milky appearance.
WaterQuality.book Page 23 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
24 WATER QUALITY
Surface Water Treatment Rule (SWTR)
Long Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT1ESWTR)
Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2ESWTR)
Filter Backwash Recycling Rule (FBRR)
Ground Water Rule (GWR)
Existing rules intended to control chemical risks include the following:
Arsenic
National Interim Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NIPDWRs)
Fluoride Rule (FR)
Volatile Organic Chemicals (Phase I) (VOCs)
Lead and Copper Rule (LCR)
Synthetic Organic Chemicals and Inorganic Chemicals (Phase II) (SOCs and IOCs)
Stage 1 Disinfectants Disinfection By-Products Rule (D/DBPR)
Stage 2 Disinfectants Disinfection By-Products (D/DBP2)
Radionuclides Rule
Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) Rule
Public Notification (PN) Rule
Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR)
A future rule intended to control microbial risks is:
Total Coliform Rule (revised)
Future regulatory actions intended to control chemical risks include the following:
Radon in Drinking Water Rule
Contaminant Candidate List (CCL)
Total Coliform Rule
The Total Coliform Rule (TCR) (published June 29, 1989/effective December 31, 1990) set
both health goals (MCLGs) and legal limits (MCLs) for total coliform levels in drinking water.
The rule also details the type and frequency of testing that water systems must perform.
The coliforms are a broad class of bacteria that live in the digestive tracts of humans
and many animals. The presence of coliform bacteria in tap water suggests that the treat-
ment process is not working properly or that there is a problem in the pipes. Among the
health problems that contamination can cause are diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and vomit-
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PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY REGULATIONS 25
ing. Together these symptoms comprise a general category known as gastroenteritis. Gas-
troenteritis is not usually serious for a healthy person; however, it can lead to more
serious problems for people with weakened immune systems, such as the very young,
elderly, or immunocompromised.
In the rule, USEPA set the health goal for total coliforms at zero. Because there have
been waterborne-disease outbreaks in which researchers have found very low levels of coli-
forms, any level indicates the potential for some health risk.
USEPA also set a legal limit on total coliforms. Systems collecting 40 or more sam-
ples per month must not find coliforms in more than 5 percent of the samples they take
each month to meet USEPAs standards. If more than 5 percent of the samples contain
coliforms, water system operators must report this violation to the state and the public.
Systems that collect fewer than 40 samples per month are allowed only one positive coli-
form sample per given month. More than one coliform-positive sample for these systems
is considered a monthly MCL violation.
When a system finds coliforms in drinking water, it may indicate that the treatment
system is not performing properly. To avoid or eliminate microbial contamination, sys-
tems may need to take several actions, including repairing the disinfection/filtration equip-
ment, flushing or upgrading the distribution system, and enacting source water protection
programs to prevent contamination.
If a sample tests positive for coliforms, the system must collect a set of repeat samples
within 24 hours. When a routine or repeat sample tests positive for total coliforms, it must
also be analyzed for fecal coliforms and Escherichia coli (E. coli), which are coliforms
directly associated with fresh feces. A positive result to this last test signifies an acute
MCL violation, which necessitates rapid state and public notification because it represents
a direct health risk.
The number of coliform samples a system must take depends on the number of cus-
tomers it serves. Systems that serve fewer than 1,000 people may test once a month or less
frequently. Systems with 50,001 to 59,000 customers must test 60 times per month, and
those with 2,270,001 to 3,020,000 customers must test at least 420 times per month.
[NOTE: for a complete chart based on population (see Table 4-2 in chapter 4)] These are
minimum schedules, and many systems test more frequently.
Revisions to the TCR are under discussion as of the publication of this book but not
officially proposed. The revisions will likely emphasize a more proactive approach that
requires utilities to ensure barriers to microbial contamination are in place and are effec-
tive. They will emphasize operation and maintenance of the distribution system compo-
nents. USEPA has called for distribution system research and information collection to
support this approach. The emphasis of the revised rule is a shift from monitoring results
that trigger public notification to monitoring results that prompt an assessment and cor-
rective action. The new rule may be proposed in 2010.
The Ground Water Rule took effect in December 2009. It links to the TCR in that posi-
tive coliform samples in the distribution system of a CWS with groundwater supply or a
26 WATER QUALITY
consecutive system to a CWS with groundwater supply may trigger microbial sampling of the
groundwater sources along with the distribution samples. (See Ground Water Rule section.)
Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule
The SDWA requires the USEPA to create a list of contaminants that should be monitored
in water systems. These are contaminants that have the probability of being present in the
finished water supply and may have an adverse effect on human health or the environ-
ment. The 1996 amendments to SDWA require USEPA to establish criteria for a monitor-
ing program for unregulated contaminants and to publish a list of contaminants
potentially present in water to be monitored as part of this program. USEPA has revised
and will continue to revise the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR) as
data become available about newly discovered potential sources of contamination or as
methodology becomes available to test for various potentially harmful contaminants. The
data generated by the new UCMR list will be used to evaluate and prioritize contaminants
on the Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List (DWCCL), a list of contaminants
USEPA is considering for possible new drinking water standards. These data will help to
ensure that the USEPA has the sound scientific data it needs to make decisions about
future drinking water standards.
The new rule includes
A new list of contaminants for which public water systems must monitor;
Analytical methods for some of these contaminants;
Requirements that all large public water systems (PWSs), and a representative sample
of small PWSs, monitor for listed contaminants for which methods have been
promulgated;
Requirements to submit the monitoring data to USEPA and the states for inclusion in
the National Drinking Water Contaminant Occurrence Database;
Requirements to notify consumers of the results of monitoring.
USEPA revised the UCMR (List 1) on September 17, 1999. List 2 was published Feb-
ruary 24, 2005, and revisions to List 2 were published August 22, 2005.
Surface Water Treatment Rule
The Surface Water Treatment Rule (published June 29, 1989/effective December 31, 1990)
seeks to prevent waterborne diseases caused by viruses, Legionella, and Giardia lamblia.
These disease-causing microbes are present at varying concentrations in most surface
waters. The rule requires that water systems filter and disinfect water from surface water
sources to reduce the occurrence of unsafe levels of these microbes.
The rule applies to the operation of every public water system that uses surface water
as a source. It also imposes new requirements on water systems that use groundwater that
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PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY REGULATIONS 27
might become contaminated by surface water; these systems are termed groundwater
under the direct influence of surface water, usually abbreviated GWUDI.
As the name suggests, this rule governs water supplies whose source of drinking water
is surface water, which it defines as all water open to the atmosphere and subject to sur-
face runoff. This water, which most of the countrys large water systems use, is in rivers,
lakes, and reservoirs. Surface water is particularly susceptible to microbial contamination
from sewage treatment plant discharges and runoff from stormwater and snowmelt. These
sources often contain high levels of fecal microbes that originated in livestock wastes or
septic systems.
The purpose of the regulation is to protect the public from waterborne disease. The
organisms that cause the waterborne diseases most frequently diagnosed in the United
States are Giardia lamblia, Cryptosporidium, Legionella, viruses, and some types of bacte-
ria. No simple, inexpensive tests are available for detecting the presence of Cryptosporid-
ium, Giardia, and Legionella. Current methods for determining coliform are only a general
indicator of fecal contamination, not really a true indicator of the presence of the other
types of organisms.
Because of this inability to test routinely for the presence of specific microorganisms,
USEPA has required all surface water systems to use a treatment technique that ensures
the finished water will meet the water quality goals without the need for specific testing.
Studies indicate that Cryptosporidium oocysts, Giardia cysts, and viruses are among the
most resistant waterborne pathogens. Surface water systems must therefore use filtration
and disinfection processes that either removes or inactivates virtually all of these microor-
ganisms. Treatment must assure the removal or inactivation of 99.9 percent (3 logs) of
Giardia cysts and 99.99 percent (4 logs) of viruses.
All systems must filter and disinfect their water to provide a minimum of 99.9 percent
combined removal and inactivation of Giardia and 99.99 percent of viruses. The adequacy of
the filtration process is established by measuring turbidity (a measure of the concentration
of particles) in the treated water and determining if it meets USEPAs performance standard.
Some public water systems that have pristine sources may be granted a waiver from the fil-
tration requirement. These systems must provide the same level of treatment as those that
filter; however, their treatment is provided through disinfection alone. The great majority of
water suppliers in the United States that use a surface water source filter their water.
To ensure adequate microbial protection in the distribution system, water systems are
also required to provide continuous disinfection of the drinking water entering the distri-
bution system and to maintain a detectable disinfectant level within the distribution sys-
tem. The distribution system is a series of pipes that delivers treated water from the water
treatment plant to the consumers tap.
Ingestion of Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and viruses can cause problems in the human
digestive system, generally in the form of diarrhea, cramps, and nausea. Legionella bacteria
in water are only a health risk if the bacteria are aerosolized (e.g., in an air-conditioning
system or a shower) and then inhaled. Inhalation can result in a type of pneumonia known
as Legionnaires disease.
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28 WATER QUALITY
The rule sets nonenforceable health goals, or MCLGs, for Legionella, Giardia, Cryp-
tosporidium, and viruses at zero because any amount of exposure to these contaminants
represents some health risk.
C T values
The SWTR treatment technique goals may be partially met by using disinfection treatment.
The effectiveness of a disinfectant in inactivating Giardia cysts and viruses depends on
Type of disinfectant used,
Residual concentration of the disinfectant,
Period of time the water is in contact with the disinfectant,
Water temperature,
Chlorine used, and
pH of the water.
USEPA has determined that a combination of the residual concentration C of a disin-
fectant (in milligrams per liter) multiplied by the contact time T (in minutes) can be used
as a measure of the disinfectants effectiveness in killing or inactivating microorganisms.
In other words, a water system can use a relatively small application of disinfectant and
keep it in contact with the water for a long time or use a large disinfectant dose in contact
with the water for a short time and obtain approximately the same results.
All surface water systems without filtration treatment are required to compute the
C T value for their treatment process daily, and the value must always be above the
minimum value specified by USEPA. The allowable levels vary by both the type(s) of
disinfectant used and the water temperature. Systems using filtration treatment must
calculate and meet the C T values specified by the state primacy agency.
Filtration treatment
Most surface water systems and systems designated by the state as GWUDI must provide
both disinfection and filtration treatment to meet the treatment technique requirements.
The current technologies specified by the SWTR are conventional treatment, direct filtra-
tion, slow sand filtration, diatomaceous earth filtration, reverse osmosis, and alternate
technologies including other membrane technologies and ultraviolet (UV). These pro-
cesses are covered in detail in another book in this series, Water Treatment.
Some surface water systems that are using especially clean and protected water sources
can avoid the requirement to provide filtration and may use disinfection treatment only.
However, these systems must meet many additional requirements for providing source
water protection and for monitoring water quality and the operation of their system.
WaterQuality.book Page 28 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY REGULATIONS 29
Other SWTR requirements
Some of the other principal requirements of the SWTR are as follows:
For most systems, the turbidity of water entering the distribution system must be
equal to or less than 0.5 ntu in at least 95 percent of the measurements taken each
month. At no time may the turbidity exceed 1 ntu.
The disinfection residual of water entering the distribution system must generally be
monitored continuously for systems serving a population of more than 3,300. The
residual cannot be less than 0.2 mg/L for more than 4 hours during periods when
water is being served to the public. Any time the residual falls below this level, the
system must notify the state.
The disinfectant residual must be measured at the same points on the distribution
system that are used for coliform sampling. Disinfectant residuals must not be unde-
tectable in more than 5 percent of the samples each month for any two consecutive
months that water is served to the public.
Systems must submit special reports to the state detailing the monitoring required by
the SWTR.
Long-Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule
The Long-Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT1ESWTR) applies to sur-
face water (and GWUDI) systems serving fewer than 10,000 people. LT1ESWTR is based
on the requirements for systems serving more than 10,000 people that are contained in the
Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (IESWTR).
LT1ESWTR includes the following requirements:
1. Systems are required to achieve a 2-log removal (99 percent) of Cryptosporidium.
2. Systems get credit for 2-log removal of Cryptosporidium by meeting a lower turbidity
(combined filter effluent) performance standard of 0.3 ntu in 95 percent of monthly
measurements, never to exceed 1 ntu (for systems using conventional or direct
filtration).
3. Systems must monitor effluent that passes through each individual filter, and based
on turbidity levels they may be required to perform follow-up activities.
4. Systems may be required by the state to compile a disinfection profile based on the
levels of DBPs in their system (80 percent of the Stage 1 MCLs is the criteria).
5. Systems looking to make a significant change in their disinfection practice need to
determine the disinfection benchmark and present that in discussions with state pri-
macy agencies.
6. New finished-water reservoirs must be covered.
WaterQuality.book Page 29 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
30 WATER QUALITY
The turbidity levels of water leaving the treatment plant were lowered to 0.3 ntu with a
maximum level of 1.0 ntu. For the individual filters, the turbidity must not exceed 0.3 ntu
for two consecutive 15-minute periods, nor can it exceed 0.5 ntu at the 4-hour and 4-hour-
and-15-minute mark after being returned to service for any reason.
Long-Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule
The Long-Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule was published January 5, 2006,
and became effective July 1, 2006, for large systems. The LT2ESWTR adds to the Surface
Water Treatment Rule in that it adds testing for pathogens Cryptosporidium and/or E. Coli
along with turbidity in the source waters for a two-year period, depending on system size.
Small systems tested for E. Coli only because of the expense of testing for Cryptosporidium.
The testing for Cryptosporidium and E. Coli was to be completed by each system over a
time frame based on system size to determine if current treatment practices and equipment
in place would reliably remove these organisms. After the testing is completed calculations
are made to determine the bin a system falls into (bins are average concentrations in the
source water for the theoretical potential for contamination). The utility would then be
required to upgrade the treatment or improve source water protection if needed in a certain
time frame. The regulation calls for periodic follow-up of sampling programs to check that
the potential for contamination did not become more severe in the interim, i.e., that the
source bin changed.
This additional protection could be determined by using suggested methods from the
toolbox including periodic monitoring, improvements to the treatment techniques
including additional disinfectants such as UV and source water protection.
The regulation also called for continuous monitoring at the entry point to the distri-
bution system with a minimum of 0.2 mg/L of chlorine residual.
Radionuclides Rule
This rule, promulgated December 7, 2000, retained the existing MCLs for combined radium
226 and 228 of 5 pCi/L, the gross alpha limit of 15 pCi/L, and gross beta/photon emitters of
4 mrem/year. This rule also added for the first time an MCL for uranium of 30 micrograms
per liter (g/L). This rule is unique in that the results and sampling regime the utility must
comply with are based on the varying level of results (average annual quarterly) for each
contaminant at each sample site. There are also many variations, exemptions, and condi-
tions that can affect the sampling program and determine whether the system is in violation
or not. A full reading of the rule and consultation with your primacy agency will provide you
with the guidance needed to comply. Your primacy agency will also guide you in the proper
way to report the results in your consumer confidence report (CCR) since the possible
reporting span can be quarterly, annually, or up to every nine years.
Quarterly sampling for individual regulated radionuclides at the individual entry
points to the system began on December 8, 2003, but any grandfathered data that met the
WaterQuality.book Page 30 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY REGULATIONS 31
sampling and testing criteria from June 2000 through December 8, 2003, were eligible for
use, except data for beta/photon emitters. The first four quarters of samples determined
the frequency for future required testing for each of the individual radionuclides.
Further information on the regulation and two tables are located in Chapter 8.
Filter Backwash Recycling Rule
The Filter Backwash Recycling Rule (FBRR) published in June 2001 is intended to reduce
the opportunity for recycle practices to adversely affect the performance of drinking water
treatment plants and to help prevent microbes such as Cryptosporidium from passing
through treatment systems and into finished drinking water. Customers may become ill if
they drink such contaminated water.
Spent filter backwash water, thickener supernatant, and liquids from dewatering pro-
cesses can contain microbial contaminants, often in very high concentrations. Recycling
these streams can reintroduce microbes and other contaminants to the treatment system.
Additionally, large volumes of recycle streams may upset treatment processes, allowing
contaminants to pass through the system. To minimize these risks, the FBRR requires
that recycle streams pass through all the processes of a systems existing conventional or
direct filtration system (as defined in 40 CFR 141.2) that USEPA has recognized as capa-
ble of achieving 2-log (99 percent) Cryptosporidium removal. The FBRR also allows recy-
cle streams to be reintroduced at an alternate location, if the location is state approved.
For systems covered under this rule, the state had to be notified by December 8, 2003,
of the intent to continue recycling the process streams just listed. The state would review
and approve a plant for the operating capacity of the recycling plan. By June 2006 all
plants that were recycling had to complete any capital work and be in compliance with the
approved state plan as to recycle return location in the treatment stream and the volumes
of recycled water based on plant flow and capacity.
Lead and Copper Rule
The Lead and Copper Rule is substantially different from the rest of this cluster of rules.
The other rules require water systems to treat water so that when it leaves their facilities, it
is clean and safe to drink. This rule (published June 7, 1991/effective December 7, 1992)
regulates two contaminants that, when present in the distribution system or in consumers
plumbing, can taint the drinking water after it leaves the treatment plant.
Lead and copper are both naturally occurring metals. Both have been used to make
household plumbing fixtures and pipes for many years, though Congress banned the use
of lead solder, pipes, and fittings in 1986. The two contaminants enter drinking water
when water reacts with the metals in the pipes. This is likely to happen when water, the
universal solvent, sits in a pipe for more than a few hours.
Lead and copper have different health effects. Lead is particularly dangerous to fetuses
and young children because it can slow their neurological and physical development.
WaterQuality.book Page 31 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
32 WATER QUALITY
Anemia may be one sign of a childs exposure to high lead levels. Lead may also affect the
kidneys, brain, nervous system, and red blood cells. It is considered a possible cause of can-
cer. Copper is a health concern for several reasons. At very low levels, it is necessary to the
body; in the short term, however, consumption of drinking water containing copper well
above the action level could cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It can also lead to seri-
ous health problems in people who have Wilsons disease. Exposure over many years to
drinking water containing copper above the action level could increase the risk of liver and
kidney damage. To prevent these effects, USEPA set health goals (MCLGs) and action lev-
els for lead and copper.
USEPA required water systems to evaluate not only the pipes in their distribution sys-
tems but also the ages and types of housing that they serve. This evaluation causes the
water system to sample the water in which the probability of contamination is greatest.
Based on this information, the systems must collect water samples at points throughout
the distribution system that are vulnerable to lead contamination, including regularly used
bathroom or kitchen taps.
When the level of lead or copper in 10 percent of the tap water samples reaches the
action level or 90th percentile, the water system must begin certain water treatment steps.
An action level is different from an MCL in that while an MCL is a legal limit on a con-
taminant, an action level is a trigger for additional prevention or removal steps plus addi-
tional testing. The Lead and Copper Rule is different from the others in that it deals with
a calculated percentile level to determine compliance.
The rule requires water systems to apply certain treatment techniques for high lead or
copper levels. At a minimum, systems must maintain optimal corrosion control. Corro-
sion control does not reduce the contaminant level but helps prevent the water from being
contaminated in the first place. By increasing the waters pH or hardness, water systems
can make their water less corrosive and therefore less likely to corrode the pipes and
absorb the lead or copper. Consumers can further reduce the potential for elevated lead
levels at the tap by ensuring that all plumbing and fixtures meet local plumbing codes.
When a water system exceeds the 90th percentile of either action level for lead or copper,
it must also assess its source water. In most cases, there will be little or none of either con-
taminant in the source water, and no treatment will be necessary. When there are high levels
in the source water, treatment of that water, in conjunction with corrosion control, further
lessens the chance that consumers will have elevated levels of lead and copper at the tap.
The rule also requires systems that exceed the 90th percentile lead action level to edu-
cate the affected public about reducing their lead intake.
There are other sections of the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) to follow.
Optimal Corrosion Control
Large utilities must conduct corrosion control studies unless they can demonstrate that
their corrosion control is already optimal. Utilities have attained optimal corrosion control
WaterQuality.book Page 32 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY REGULATIONS 33
if the difference between the source water lead concentration and the 90th percentile from
the tap samples is less than 0.005 mg/L.
Small and medium-size utilities are deemed to have optimal corrosion control if they
meet the lead and copper action levels for two consecutive sampling periods. How to con-
duct corrosion control studies is outlined in references listed in the Selected Supplemen-
tary Readings at the end of this chapter.
Water Quality Parameters
All large water systems, as well as all medium-size and small water systems that exceed the
action levels, are required to monitor for additional contaminants. This practice will help
determine if the systems are maintaining optimal corrosion control. These parameters are
analyzed as follows:
Conductivity may be measured in the field or the sample returned to the laboratory
for measurement.
The pH must be measured in the field, and only the probe method is approved by
USEPA.
Temperature must be measured in the field along with pH and may be measured with
a handheld thermometer or with a combined temperaturepH electrode.
Calcium must be measured in the laboratory. Because the sample for calcium must be
acidified for analysis, a separate sample for calcium must be collected.
Alkalinity must be measured in the laboratory.
If a phosphate-based corrosion inhibitor is used, an orthophosphate analysis must be
conducted.
If a silica-based corrosion inhibitor is used, a silica analysis must be conducted.
Samples for the water quality parameters may be collected at the usual bacterial sam-
ple points in the distribution system. Either glass or plastic containers may be used unless
silica is being measured, in which case plastic is required. Samples should be collected
from fully flushed sample taps, and the representativeness of the sample site for producing
the desired data must be considered.
Results of these analyses are reviewed by the primacy agency, which will then establish
the ranges of the parameters within which the utility may operate.
DRINKING WATER PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
Reporting and Record Keeping
The results of all water analyses must be provided periodically to the state. Failure to have
the proper analyses performed or to report the results to the state primacy agency usually
WaterQuality.book Page 33 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
34 WATER QUALITY
results in the water system having to provide public notification. Specific information
shown in Table 1-4 must be included on every laboratory report.
There are also specific requirements for the records that must be kept by water sys-
tems on their operation and monitoring and for the length of time the records must be
retained. These requirements are summarized in Table 1-5. Although state requirements
for monitoring, reporting, and record retention must be as stringent as the federal require-
ments, they often vary and may include specific procedures that must be used.
SPECIAL REGULATION REQUIREMENTS
In addition to the initial programs required by the SDWA, USEPA has drafted several
specific rules to address various types of water-contaminant problems. Some of these rules
have been promulgated, and others are still under development. Several of the more
important rules are described in the following sections.
Arsenic Rule
As of January 23, 2003, the USEPA revised the drinking water standard for arsenic from
50 g/L to 10 g/L. This revision was enacted to provide additional protection for 13 mil-
lion Americans against an increased risk of cancer and other health problems including
cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and neurological effects. USEPA is continuing to review
the new standard for arsenic in drinking water. It will work with the National Academy of
Sciences and the National Drinking Water Advisory Council to reassess the scientific and
cost issues associated with the rule and determine if any further changes will be needed.
The rule also reset the testing cycle for many systems since some of the older data sample
results had detection limits above the new MCL of 10 g/L. Some of these sample routines
are now out of sequence with the normal sampling dates for inorganic chemicals estab-
lished under the Inorganic Chemicals regulations.
Stage 1 Disinfectants Disinfection By-Products Rule
(Stage 1 D/DBPR)
Disinfection by-products are formed when organic materials, naturally present in source
waters, combine with a disinfectant. Common organics present in many surface water
sources are humic acids. Disinfectants commonly used in drinking water treatment include
chlorine, chloramines, ozone, and chlorine dioxide. Both the amount and the types of DBPs
formed depend on many factors, including the amount and types of organic precursors ini-
tially present, pH, time of exposure to disinfectant, temperature, and type of disinfectant.
The Stage 1 Disinfectants Disinfection By-Products (D/DBP) Rule applies to both sur-
face water and groundwater systems and has far-reaching effects for US water utilities.
Unlike the existing total trihalomethane (TTHM) regulation that only applies to systems
serving more than 10,000 people, the D/DBP Rule applies to all systems regardless of the
WaterQuality.book Page 34 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY REGULATIONS 35
size of the population served. Stage 1 of the rule lowers the allowable TTHM levels from
100 g/L to 80 g/L. In addition, it regulates haloacetic acids (HAA5) at 60 g/L chlorite at
1.0 mg/L, and bromate at 0.010 mg/L. The rule sets maximum residual disinfectant levels for
chlorine (4 mg/L as Cl
2
), chloramines (4.0 mg/L as Cl
2
), and chlorine dioxide (0.8 mg/L as
ClO
2
). The rule also includes a treatment requirement for enhanced coagulation for surface
water sources where conventional treatment is applied. The timeline for compliance ranges
from 18 months for surface water systems serving 10,000 or more people to 60 months for
groundwater systems serving fewer than 10,000 persons.
The MCL for TTHMs (100 g/L) has been lowered in the final Stage 1 D/DBP, promul-
gated in December 1998. The removal of total organic carbon (TOC) to reduce the formation
of DBPs is achieved by the treatment technique of enhanced coagulation or enhanced soften-
ing that specifies the percentage of influent TOC that must be removed based on the raw
water TOC and alkalinity levels (see Regulations).
Stage 2 Disinfectants/Disinfection By-Products Rule
The Stage 2 D/DBP Rule will apply to all community and nontransient, noncommunity
water systems that add a disinfectant other than UV or deliver water that has been disin-
fected. Compliance will be based on Locational Running Annual Average (LRAA
running annual average at each sample location). Implementation of this rule will be
staged. Three years after promulgation, all systems must comply with the Stage 1 D/DBP
Rule MCL (80/60 g/L LRAA) and 120/100 g/L THM/HAA5 LRAA. Six years after
promulgation, large and medium-size systems (population served 10,000) must comply
with 80/60 g/L LRAA based on new sampling sites identified by lifetime distribution sys-
tem evaluation (LDSE). Small systems must comply with 80/60 g/L LRAA based on
new sampling sites identified through the IDSE and routine DBP 1 sampling programs
by 10 years after promulgation. The final rule was June 2003; effective date was in June 2006.
Ground Water Rule (GWR)
The GWR applies to all public water supplies that use groundwater, regardless of system
size or type and whether it is a community or noncommunity system. This rule was pub-
lished in November 2006. The effective date for all groundwater systems was December
1, 2009, to conduct compliance monitoring for coliform and/or meet the 4-log virus inac-
tivation or removal or state-approved combination of techniques. Under this rule, pri-
macy agencies must complete a sanitary survey by December 31, 2012, for all
groundwater systems that do not meet the performance criteria and by December 31,
2014, for all that do. The survey must identify any significant deficiencies that could cause
contamination of the water used by consumers. A hydrogeologic sensitivity assessment
must also be completed to determine the susceptibility of the groundwater source to con-
tamination. Microbial monitoring will be required for systems that do not disinfect, that
draw from a susceptible source, or that detect fecal indicators during routine monitoring.
WaterQuality.book Page 35 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
36 WATER QUALITY
For systems that disinfect, have any uncorrected significant deficiencies, or draw from a
susceptible source, 4-log inactivation of viruses must be demonstrated by providing ade-
quate C T.
The rule stipulates the type and frequency of disinfectant residual monitoring
depending on system size, with larger systems requiring continuous monitoring and
smaller systems resorting to daily monitoring. The rule also relates positive samples in the
distribution system used for compliance with the TCR to requirements for source water
monitoring including consecutive system monitoring.
Consumer Confidence Report Rule
Promulgated in 1998, the Consumer Confidence Report Rule (CCR Rule) was put in place
to provide the public with enough information concerning the sources and quality of their
water supply to allow them to make an informed decision about the health effects of water
they were consuming. The report had to contain eight informational groups:
1. Water system information (contact person at the utility; what the public can do to be
part of the process)
2. Sources of water for the system by type and name if appropriate
3. Definitions for the layperson of the key elements in the report, including maximum
contaminant level (MCL), maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG), maximum dis-
infectant residual level (MRDL), maximum disinfectant residual level goal (MRDLG),
action level (AL), treatment technique (TT), minimum detection limit (MDL) for a
test, and any other pertinent classifications that might need defining
4. A table listing the detected contaminants and detection limits (MCL, MCLG, TT,
etc.) plus specific health-effects language and known sources of contamination
5. Information on other nonregulated contaminants if detected (e.g., radon, Cryptospo-
ridium, Giardia)
6. Compliance record listing any violations or special notices for any of the regulations
7. Listing of any variances or exemptions (if applicable) and description of the reason
for noncompliance
8. Required educational information about contaminants such as lead, arsenic, nitrate/
nitrite, and Cryptosporidium, and vulnerable populations
The water supplier is also allowed to add data describing the types of treatment the
utility uses and what is being done to safeguard the water sources and water supply. The
utility may also include public relations information about costs of treatment and any
plans that may be in place to improve the plants and system to provide a safe supply.
This is the timetable associated with the gathering and dissemination of information
from the previous calendar year with regard to this rule:
WaterQuality.book Page 36 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY REGULATIONS 37
April 1: The CWS must supply the necessary information in the previous list to any
other CWS it sells treated water to.
July 1: The CWS must have distributed a copy of the CCR to customers and to local
and state primacy agencies.
October 1 (or 90 days after the distribution of the CCR): The CWS must supply an
Annual Proof of Distribution certification to the local and state primacy agencies.
A CWS serving 100,000 or more persons must post its CCR on a publicly accessible
web siteits own or one designated by the primacy agency, or both.
The CWS must make a copy of the CCR available to any interested party who
requests one, whether a customer or not.
It is recommended that you check with the agency having primacy for the drinking
water in your area to ensure that any nuances are being met such as language criteria, dis-
tribution requirements, reporting requirements, and any other special circumstances or
changes in local rules or regulations that may have occurred since the last distribution.
Again, these vary by state and locality.
Proposed Radon in Drinking Water Rule
The Proposed Radon in Drinking Water Rule applies to all community water systems that
use groundwater or mix groundwater and surface water. The proposed MCL is 300 pCi/L
at the point of entry from each source of supply. An alternative MCL of 4,000 pCi/L
would be allowable if the CWS or state develops a multimedia mitigation (MMM or
3M) program for radon. This rule was proposed in November 1999, and the final rule
was originally expected to be promulgated by late 2009. A revised possible effective date
would be late in 2013. At this writing, there has been no movement on this rule.
Online Resources
The USEPA web site has the latest updates on regulatory issues. State health department
web sites have the latest state regulatory information. See Table 1-8 for a partial list of
resources.
The Federal Register is available on the Internet and in most libraries. The Federal
Register publishes the entire USEPA document for each rule or act and provides the
detailed information necessary to understand it.
If you do not have access to the Internet, a public or university library will have access
to the Internet or to the Federal Register. For a synopsis of the proposed rules and regula-
tions and insight into upcoming legislation, consult the Journal of the American Water
Works Association and the Water Quality Association.
WaterQuality.book Page 37 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
38 WATER QUALITY
TABLE 1-8 Partial list of Internet resources
Resource Internet Site
Water Quality Association http://wqa.org
Federal Register www.archives.gov/federal_register
Arsenic Rule www.epa.gov/safewater/arsenic.html
Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) www.epa.gov/safewater/ccl/cclfs.html
Consumer Confidence Report Rule www.epa.gov/safewater/ccr1.html
Cross-Media Electronic Reporting
Regulation (CROMERR)
www.epa.gov/cdx/cromerrr/propose/index.html
Filter Backwash Recycling Rule www.epa.gov/safewater/filterbackwash.html
Ground Water Rule www.epa.gov/safewater/gwr.html
Interim ESWT Rule www.epa.gov/safewater/mdbp/ieswtr.html
Long Term 1 ESWT Rule www.epa.gov/safewater/mdbp/lt1eswtr.html
Long Term 2 ESWT Rule www.epa.gov/safewater/mdbp/mdbp.html#it2
MTBE www.epa.gov/safewater/mtbe.html
Public Notification Rule www.epa.gov/safewater/pn.html
Radionuclides Rule www.epa.gov/safewater/standard/pp/radnucpp/html
Radon Rule www.epa.gov/safewater/radon.html
Six-Year Review www.epa.gov/safewater/review.html
Stage 1 D/DBP Rule www.epa.gov/safewater/mdbp/dbp1.html
Total Coliform Rule www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/tcr/
Stage 2 D/DBP Rule www.epa.gov/safewater/mdbp/mdbp.html#it2
UCM Rule www.epa.gov/safewater/standard/ucmr/main.html
WaterQuality.book Page 38 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY REGULATIONS 39
SELECTED SUPPLEMENTARY READINGS
Bloetscher, F. 2009. Water Basics for Decision Makers. Denver, CO: American Water
Works Association.
Drinking Water Regulations and Health. 2003. Hoboken, NJ.: Wiley-Interscience
(available from AWWA).
FACTOIDS: Drinking Water and Ground Water Statistics for 2008. 2008. Washington
D.C.: US Environmental Protection Agency.
Federal Register 40 CFR Ch. 1 and EPA the Public Notification Rule: A Quick Reference
Guide. 2006. Washington D.C.: US Environmental Protection Agency.
Handbook of CCL Microbes in Drinking Water. 2002. Denver, CO: American Water
Works Association.
Pizzi, N.G. 2006. Filter Operations Field Guide. Denver, CO: American Water Works
Association.
Pizzi, N.G. 2007. Pretreatment Field Guide. Denver, CO: American Water Works
Association.
Scharfenaker, M., J. Stubbart, and W.C. Lauer. Field Guide to SDWA Regulations. 2006.
Denver, CO: American Water Works Association.
Stubbart, J., W.C. Lauer, and T.J. McCandless. 2004. AWWA Guide Water Operator
Field Guide. Denver, CO: American Water Works Association.
USEPA. 1992. Secondary Drinking Water Regulations: Guidance for Nuisance Chemicals.
Washington D.C.: US Environmental Protection Agency.
Water Quality and Treatment. 6th ed. 2010. New York: McGraw-Hill and American
Water Works Association (available from AWWA).
WaterQuality.book Page 40 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
41
C H A P T E R 2
Water Quality Monitoring
All public water systems monitor water quality to some extent. Small systems with consis-
tently good-quality water from deep wells may only need to provide occasional monitoring.
Because surface water is more prone to variations in water quality, systems using surface-
water sources are required to monitor their water on a more frequent or continuous basis
than systems using groundwater.
Water quality is monitored to meet federal, state, and local requirements and for pro-
cess control.
The contaminants that are monitored under US Environmental Protection Agency
(USEPA) requirements are extensive, and public water systems must monitor water qual-
ity to ensure proper and economic treatment as well as to comply with regulations.
SAMPLING
Importance of Sampling
Sampling is a vital part of monitoring the quality of water in a water treatment process,
distribution system, and supply source. However, errors occur easily when recording water
quality information. Every precaution must be taken to ensure that the sample collected is
as representative as is feasible of the water source or process being examined.
Water treatment decisions based on incorrect data may be made if sampling is not
correctly performed. Representative analytical results depend on the water treatment
plant operator ensuring that
the sample is representative of the water source under consideration
the proper sampling techniques are used
the samples are protected and preserved until they are analyzed
the proper sample containers are used.
Types of Samples
Waterworks operators collect grab samples and composite samples depending on the
requirements of the operation or on regulations.
Grab samples
A grab sample is a single water sample collected at any time. Grab samples show the water
characteristics at the time the sample was taken. A grab sample may be preferred over a
composite sample when
WaterQuality.book Page 41 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
42 WATER QUALITY
the water to be sampled does not flow on a continuous basis
the waters characteristics are relatively constant
the water is to be analyzed for water quality indicators that may change with time,
such as dissolved gases, coliform bacteria, residual chlorine, disinfection by-products,
temperature, volatile organics, certain radiological parameters, and pH.
Figures 2-1 and 2-2 illustrate this point. Figure 2-1 shows the changes in surface
water dissolved oxygen (DO) over a 24-hour period. A grab sample represents the DO
level only at the time the sample was taken. DO can change rapidlyfor example, because
of the growth of algae or plants in the water (diurnal effect). On-line process instruments
are good examples of instruments that perform grab sample analyses; they analyze a con-
tinuous string of grab samples and produce a series of individual analyses that, when plot-
ted, illustrate trends such as those in the figures.
Figure 2-2 shows that levels of total dissolved solids (TDS) in the same water change
very little. A grab sample can be representative of the water quality in a stable supply such
as a deep well for perhaps a month. Total dissolved solids are a function of the minerals
dissolved from rocks and soil as the water passes over or through them and may change
only in relation to seasonal runoff patterns. Total dissolved solids in groundwater (e.g.,
wells) may also change if certain water-bearing zones in the well become plugged, chang-
ing the dilution or zones from which the water is being drawn.
FIGURE 2-1 Example of hourly changes in dissolved oxygen for a surface water source
5
4
3
2
1
0
12 a.m. 6 a.m. 12 p.m. 6 p.m. 12 a.m.
D
i
s
s
o
l
v
e
d

O
x
y
g
e
n
,

m
g
/
L
Time of Day
WaterQuality.book Page 42 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
WATER QUALITY MONITORING 43
Composite samples
In many processes, water quality changes with time. A continuous sampleranalyzer pro-
vides the most accurate results in these cases. Often the operator is the sampleranalyzer,
and continuous analysis could prove costly. Except for tests that cannot wait because of
rapid physical, chemical, or biological changes of the sample (such as tests for DO, pH,
and temperature), a fair compromise may be reached by taking samples throughout the
day at hourly or 2-hour intervals. Each sample should be refrigerated immediately after
collection. At the end of 24 hours, each sample is vigorously mixed and a portion of each
sample is then withdrawn and mixed with the other samples. The size of the portion is in
direct proportion to the flow when the sample was collected (aliquot) and the total size of
sample needed for testing. For example, if hourly samples are collected when the flow is
1.2 mgd, use a 12-mL portion of the sample, and when the flow is 1.5 mgd, use a 15-mL
portion of the sample. The resulting mixture of portions of samples is a composite sample.
In no instance should a composite sample be collected for bacteriological examination.
When the samples are taken, they can either be set aside or combined as they are col-
lected. In both cases, they should be stored at a temperature of less than 40F (4C) but
above freezing until they are analyzed.
Continuous sample
This type of sampling is used in on-line or process control sampling devices/instruments.
Some of the new regulations call for this type of sampling for the larger systems for chlorine
FIGURE 2-2 Example of monthly changes in total dissolved solids for the surface water source
shown in Figure 2-1
500
400
300
200
100
0
J F M A M J J A S O N D J
Time, months
T
o
t
a
l

D
i
s
s
o
l
v
e
d

S
o
l
i
d
s
,

m
g
/
L
WaterQuality.book Page 43 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
44 WATER QUALITY
residual under the new Ground Water Rule (GWR) and for surface water filtration or
groundwater under the direct influence of surface water (GWUDI) filtration systems. This is
also being used in certain circumstances to monitor distribution systems for chlorine levels
and for other parameters associated with security monitoring. It is also used by larger sys-
tems on the incoming surface water for turbidity, pH, and streaming current measurements
for treatment control. As technology becomes more sophisticated and affordable, this type
of monitoring will become more prevalent in the industry. Some systems use this technology
to monitor levels of nitrate and other specific ions during the treatment process and fluoride
levels of water leaving the treatment facility. Examples of the on-line instruments are shown
in Figures 2-3 and 2-4.
Sampling Point Selection
Careful selection of representative sample points is an important step in developing a
sampling procedure that will accurately reflect water quality. The criteria used to select a
sample point depend on the type of water sampled and the purpose of the testing. Check
with primacy regulations as to compliance samples versus process samples. Any sample
taken from a compliance sample tap may have to be reported as a performance sample even
if it is just being collected for process control. Samples are generally collected from three
broad types of areas:
Raw-water supply
Treatment plant
Distribution system
Raw-water sample points
The choice of collection points for raw-water samples depends on the type of system being
sampled. There are at least three general types of systems:
Raw-water transmission lines
Groundwater (wells)
Rivers, reservoirs, and lakes
Raw-water transmission lines and groundwater sources are sampled directly from the
transmission line or well-discharge pipe. After a sampling point has been selected (prior to
any chemical addition or treatment), the pipeline is equipped with a small sample valve or
tap, often called a sample cock (Figure 2-5). The valve must be fully opened before sam-
pling to flush out any standing water and accumulated sediment. The flow may then be
adjusted to achieve the optimal flow for the type of sample being collected. For example, a
slow, steady stream to prevent aeration is best for analysis of volatile organics or dissolved
oxygen.
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WATER QUALITY MONITORING 45
Most of the physical factors known to promote mixing in surface waters are absent or
are much less effective in groundwater systems. Wells usually draw water from a consider-
able thickness of saturated rock and often from several different strata. These water com-
ponents are mixed by the turbulent flow of water in the well before they reach the surface
FIGURE 2-3 On-line chlorine residual analyzer
Courtesy of HACH Inc.
FIGURE 2-4 On-line particle counter
Courtesy of HACH Inc.
WaterQuality.book Page 45 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
46 WATER QUALITY
and become available for sampling. Most techniques for well sampling and exploration
are usable only in unfinished or nonoperating wells. Usually the only means of sampling
the water tapped by a well is to collect a pumped sample. The operator is cautioned to
remember that well pumps and casings can contribute to sample contamination. If a
pump has not run for an extended period of time prior to sampling, the water collected
may not be representative of the normal water quality. Good records of static and pump-
ing levels of the wells should be kept to determine if the well is performing as designed and
when the sample should be drawn to be representative of the water in the well column.
Rivers. To adequately determine the composition of a flowing stream, each sample (or
set of samples taken at the same time) must be representative of the entire flow at the sam-
pling point at that instant. The sampling process must be repeated at a frequency suffi-
cient to show changes of water quality that may occur over time in the water passing the
sampling point.
On small or medium-size streams, it is usually possible to find a sampling point at
which the composition of the water is presumably uniform at all depths and across the
stream. Obtaining representative samples in these streams is relatively simple. For larger
streams, more than one sample may be required. A portable conductivity meter is very
useful in selecting good sample sites.
Reservoirs and lakes. Water stored in reservoirs and lakes is usually poorly mixed.
Thermal stratification and associated depth changes in water composition (such as DO)
are among the most frequently observed effects. Single samples can therefore be assumed
to represent only the spot of water from which the sample came. Therefore, several sam-
ples must be collected at different depths and from different areas of the impoundment to
accurately sample reservoirs and lakes. See Figures 2-6 and 2-7.
FIGURE 2-5 Sample cock attached to pipeline for sampling
WaterQuality.book Page 46 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
WATER QUALITY MONITORING 47
Treatment plant sample points
Treatment plants are sampled to evaluate the treatment efficiency of unit processes or to
evaluate operational changes. Selection of in-plant sample points is an important step in
developing an overall process control program for a water treatment plant. Samples from
the points selected can be tested to determine the efficiency of the various treatment
processes. The test results will also help to indicate operational changes that will improve
contaminant removal efficiencies or reduce operating costs.
Collection of representative samples in the water treatment plant is similar to sample col-
lection in a stream or river. The operator must ensure that the water sampled is representative
of the water passing that sample point. In many water plants, money has been spent to
purchase sample pumps and piping only to find that the sample from that point is not rep-
resentative of the passing water. A sample tap in a stagnant area of a reservoir or on the
FIGURE 2-6 Routine and transect sample points in a natural lake
Source: Mackenthun and Ingram (1967).
FIGURE 2-7 Routine and transect sample points in a reservoir
Source: Mackenthun and Ingram (1967)
Routine Sampling Sites
Transect Sampling Sites
Periodic or Seasonal Collections
Dam
Multilevel
Water Supply
Intake
Routine Sampling Sites
Transect Sampling Sites
Periodic or Seasonal Collections
Roadway
WaterQuality.book Page 47 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
48 WATER QUALITY
floor of a process basin serves little purpose in helping the plant operator with control of
water quality. The operator is urged to ensure that each and every sample point is located
to provide useful and representative data. If the sampling point is improperly located, the
operator should make arrangements to move the piping to a better location. Multiple
sample locations for the same analysis point may be needed if changes in plant conditions,
such as flow, affect the quality of the sample. (Example: If using a streaming current detector
or other instruments such as an Oxidation-Reduction meter flow can change mixing times
and affect the validity of the value read on the instrument.)
Treatment plants vary widely in the kinds of treatment processes used and the configu-
rations of the processes. In general, in-plant sample points are established at every place
where, because of a treatment method or group of methods, a measurable change is expected
in the treated-water quality. Simply put, if you are adding something to the process, either
chemically or mechanically, you should have some way of determining the effect. Other in-
plant sampling sites may have to be selected and installed for changes in testing needed by
changes in governmental laws and regulations. Figure 2-8 identifies 10 suggested locations
where process control samples are routinely collected in a plant employing several different
treatment processes. These locations are described in the following list.
Between sample points 1 and 2, test results should show a reduction in algae and the
associated tastes and odors (the result of chemical pretreatment), a reduction in sedi-
ment load (the result of presedimentation), and a reduction in debris (the result of
screening).
Between points 2 and 3, aeration should cause oxidation of iron and manganese and a
significant reduction in undesirable dissolved gases while increasing the oxygen content.
Between points 3 and 4, the combined effects of coagulation, flocculation, and sedi-
mentation should cause a reduction in turbidity and color.
Water quality changes between sample points 4 and 5 will allow the operator to mon-
itor the effectiveness of the softening process.
Sample points 5 and 6 allow monitoring of the efficiency of filtration in removing
turbidity and previously oxidized iron and manganese as well as the reduction in patho-
genic organisms.
Sampling at points 6 and 7 will indicate the efficiency of the adsorption process in
removing organic chemicals.
Point 8 is used for the measurement of fluoride concentration to ensure that water
entering the distribution system contains the proper level.
Sampling at point 9 will provide a final check on pH and alkalinity for corrosion
control.
Point 10 is used for monitoring chlorine residual, turbidity, and the presence of coli-
form bacteria in the finished water.
WaterQuality.book Page 48 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
WATER QUALITY MONITORING 49
In the selection of in-plant sample collection points, certain precautions should be
kept in mind. Points immediately downstream from chemical additions should be avoided
because proper mixing and reaction may not have had time to take place. Always take
samples from the main stream of flow, avoiding areas of standing water, algae mats, and
floating or settled debris.
Finished-water sample points are normally established downstream of the final treat-
ment process at or just before the point where the water enters the distribution system,
such as the point of discharge from the clearwell. For example, turbidity samples required
by the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWRs) must be collected
before the water enters the distribution system while avoiding an area where added chemi-
cals (e.g., lime or corrosion inhibitors) may affect the results.
Distribution system sample points
Representative sampling in the distribution system is an indication of system water quality.
Results of sampling should show if there are quality changes in the entire system or parts of
it, and they may point to the source of a problem (such as tastes and/or odors). Sampling
points should be selected, in part, to trace the course from finished-water source (at the well
or plant) through the transmission mains, and then through the major and minor piping of
the system. A sampling point on a major transmission main, or on an active main directly
connected to it, would be representative of the plant effluent water quality.
FIGURE 2-8 Suggested in-plant sample points (indicated by numbered circles)
8
Raw
Water
1 2
3
Chemical
Pretreatment
Screening
Presedimentation
Microstraining
Aeration
Chemical Addition
Fluoridation
Flocculation
Coagulation
Adsorption Filtration
Softening
5 6
7
4
10 9
Sedimentation
Clearwell
Stabilization Disinfection
To the
Community
Preliminary
Treatment
WaterQuality.book Page 49 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
50 WATER QUALITY
Sample points in the distribution system are used to determine the quality of water
delivered to consumers. In some cases, the distribution system samples may be of signifi-
cantly different quality than samples of finished water at the point of entry to the distribu-
tion system. For example, corrosion in distribution system pipelines can cause increases in
water color, turbidity, taste and odor, and physical constituents such as lead and copper.
Microbiological growth may also be taking place in the water mains, which degrades
water quality. In addition, a cross-connection between the distribution system and a
source of contamination can result in chemical or microbiological contamination of the
water in the system.
Most of the samples collected from the distribution system will be used to test for
coliform bacteria and chlorine residual. Others may be used to determine water quality
changes. Still others will be used to test for maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) of inor-
ganic and organic contaminants and for compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule, as
required by the applicable drinking water standards. Distribution system sampling should
always be performed at locations representative of conditions within the system. Radio-
logical samples must be from the source water supply under current regulation.
The two major considerations in determining the number and location of sampling
points, other than those required by regulation, are that they should be
representative of each different source of water entering the system
representative of conditions within the system, such as dead ends, loops, storage facil-
ities, and pressure zones.
The precise location of sampling points depends on the configuration of the distribu-
tion system. The following examples provide some general guidance for sample point
selection.
Example 1. Figure 2-9 provides an example of how sample points may be selected for a
small surface water distribution system serving a population of 4,000. This is a typical
small branch system having one main water line and several branch or dead-end water
lines. For this system, a single point, A, is sufficient for turbidity monitoring. This point is
representative of all treated water entering the distribution system.
For a community of 4,000, the NPDWRs require a minimum of four bacteriological
samples per month to be taken at four different points in the system. Point B represents
water in the main line, and point C represents water quality in the main-line dead end.
Points D and E were selected to produce samples representative of a branch line and a
branch-line dead end, respectively.
Consideration of how often and at what times these points are sampled is also neces-
sary to ensure that the samples accurately represent conditions in the distribution system.
Although the minimum requirement of four samples per month could be met by collecting
samples from all points on one day, this sampling frequency would not produce samples
that represented bacteriological conditions within the system throughout the month. A
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WATER QUALITY MONITORING 51
better program would be to sample points B and E at the beginning of the month and
points C and D at mid-month. Sampling should be representative both in location and in
time.
Although this type of program is adequate to meet the minimum monitoring require-
ments of the NPDWRs, good operating practices would include periodic sampling at each
dead end and several additional sampling points within the distribution system, with sam-
ples taken each week. The exact number and location of these operational sampling points
depend on the characteristics of the specific system and on state requirements.
Chlorine residual samples should be taken from each sample point when bacteriolog-
ical samples are collected and should be analyzed within 15 minutes of sampling, prefera-
bly at the sample location. Sampling for routine water chemistry, along with the required
sampling for inorganic and organic chemicals, also can be conducted at one of the coli-
form sampling points.
Sampling for a similar system using a groundwater source would be the same, except
that turbidity sampling generally is not required and samples for organic chemical analy-
sis must be collected at each well.
Example 2. Figure 2-10 illustrates a typical small-loop distribution system having one
main loop and several branch loops, serving a population of 4,000. One turbidity sample
point, A, is sufficient because that point is representative of all treated water entering the
distribution system.
For bacteriological sampling, two sampling points, B and C, are adequate. Point B is
representative of water in the main-line loop, and point C is representative of water in one
of the branch-line loops. To produce the required minimum of four samples per month,
points B and C can be sampled on alternate weeks, or additional similar sampling points
can be selected. However, good operating practice would include two to three times this
number of samples, depending on the characteristics of the particular system. As with the
FIGURE 2-9 Sampling points (indicated by x) in a typical small-branch distribution system
Main Water Line
C
r
e
e
k
B
D
A
E
C
Branch Water Lines
Population Served = 4,000
Treatment Plant
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52 WATER QUALITY
system in the previous example, chlorine residual samples should be taken whenever bac-
teriological sampling is performed.
Example 3. Figure 2-11 illustrates a system serving a population of 17,440 that obtains
water from both a creek and a well. The distribution system has the features of both the
branch and the loop systems shown in Figures 2-9 and 2-10.
To determine sample-point locations, the following four questions should be considered:
1. What tests must be run?
2. From what locations will the samples be collected?
3. How often must the samples be taken?
4. How many sampling points will be needed?
The answers to the first and third questionswhat tests must be run and how oftenmay
vary from state to state, and they are also likely to change periodically in response to
changes in federal requirements.
Additional samples may also be required for the systems own quality control (QC)
program. Examples include taste and odor, color, pH, TDS, iron, manganese, and het-
erotrophic plate count.
Once the tests and test frequencies have been determined, the number and specific
locations of sampling points must be selected. The NPDWRs require a turbidity sample
to be taken at each point representative of the filtered surface water that enters the distri-
bution system. Because waters from parallel treatment plants enter two separate clearwells
in Figure 2-11, two turbidity sampling points are required (points 11 and 12). The well will
not have to be sampled for turbidity, but periodic sampling directly from the well for
chemical quality analysis will be required as directed by the state.
In the selection of sample points that will be representative for coliform analysis, a
variety of factors must be considered:
FIGURE 2-10 Sampling points (indicated by x) in a typical small-loop distribution system
B
A
C
Treatment Plant
Branch Loop Main Loop
Population Served = 4,000
C
r
e
e
k
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WATER QUALITY MONITORING 53
Uniform distribution of the sample points throughout the system;
Location of sample points in both loops and branches;
Adequate representation of sample points within each pressure zone;
Location of points so that water coming from storage tanks can be sampled;
For systems with more than one water source, location of sample points in relative
proportion to the number of people served by each source.
On the basis of these fundamental considerations, bacteriological sample points can
be selected. A treatment plant serving a community with a population of 17,440 must test
20 coliform bacteria samples per month, according to the NPDWRs. After a careful
review of the configuration of the distribution system layout, 10 coliform bacteria sample
sites were selected. The reasons for the selection of each point shown in Figure 2-11 are as
follows for bacteriological purposes only:
Point 1 is on the main loop in the high-pressure zone; it should produce representative
samples for that part of the system.
Point 2 is on the branch loop in the high-pressure zone, representative of storage flow
to the system.
FIGURE 2-11 Sampling points (indicated by solid dots) in a medium-size system with surface and
groundwater sources
C
r
e
e
k
2
3
8
1
1
0
Storage
Storage Storage
4
5
13
Clearwell 1
Clearwell 2
12
11
Treatment
Plant 2
Treatment
Plant 1
Booster
Pump
Check
Valves
Population Served = 17,440
High-Pressure Zone
Low-Pressure Zone
9
Well
Water
Source
6
7
z z
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54 WATER QUALITY
Point 3 is on a dead end. Some authorities advise against dead-end sampling points
because they do not produce representative samples. However, consumers do take
water from branch-line dead ends. In the example, there are seven branch-line dead
ends that no doubt serve significant numbers of consumers. It is representative to have
one or two sample points on these branch lines at or near the end. If there are indica-
tions of chlorine residual decline or bacteriological problems in water sampled at
branch-line dead ends, hydrants and blowoff valves should be flushed and branch
lines resampled immediately to determine if the problem has been corrected. If the
problem persists, additional investigation is needed to locate the condition contribut-
ing to the problem.
Point 4 is located on the main loop of the low-pressure zone and represents water
from treatment plant 2, the well water source, the storage tanks, or any combination
of these (depending on system demand at sampling time).
Point 5 allows for sampling of water flowing into the system from storage.
Points 6 through 9 were selected by uniformly distributing points in the low-pressure
zone, the zone that serves the major part of the community.
Point 10 was selected as representative of a branch-line dead end in the high-pressure
zone, just as point 3 was selected in the low-pressure zone.
Points 11 and 12, as stated previously, are used as turbidity monitoring points.
Point 13 was added to monitor a dead-end branch that is fairly isolated from other
sampling points yet serves a large population.
Sample faucets
Once representative sample points have been located on the distribution system map, spe-
cific sample faucets must be selected. In many cases, suitable faucets can be found inside
public buildings such as fire stations or school buildings, inside the homes of water system
or municipal employees, or inside the homes of other consumers. The sites selected should
have a service line of reasonable size and a good record of water usage. (For example, in
some instances in public buildings such as firehouses or schools, a small-diameter service
line off a large-diameter fire service line does not provide a representative sample. Because
the fire line may never be used, or may only be tested on a scheduled program, water in the
line could become stale, that is, lose its chlorine residual, become oxygen depleted, dis-
solve some of the main or sediment in the stagnant pipe.)
In smaller water systems, special sample taps are not available. Therefore, customers
faucets must be used to collect samples. Indoor taps are best, if available. Front-yard out-
side faucets on homes supplied by short service lines (i.e., homes on the same side of the
street as the water main) will suffice if there are no other options. Submerging the ends of
these faucets in bleach or swabbing the tap with bleach or hydrogen peroxide (again, check
with your drinking water primacy agency for acceptable method) first is one way to ensure
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WATER QUALITY MONITORING 55
that the tap will not taint the sample. However, the disinfectant must be flushed from the
tap so it does not enter the sample and produce possible false negative results.
Contact the person in the home and obtain permission to collect the sample. If no one
is to be home, disconnect the hose from the faucet if one is attached, and do not forget to
reconnect the hose after you have collected the sample. Open the faucet to a convenient
flow for sampling (usually about half a gallon per minute). Allow the water to flow until
the water in the service line has been replaced twice. Because 50 ft (15 m) of 0.75-in. (18-
mm) pipe contains more than 1 gal (3.8 L), 4 or 5 minutes will be required to replace the
water in the line twice. You can check the water temperature and/or chlorine residual to
determine if water coming from the tap matches the quality of the water in the area. Col-
lect the sample, being sure the sample container does not touch the faucet.
Do not try to save time by turning the faucet handle to wide open to flush the service
line. This will disturb sediment and incrustations in the line that must be flushed out
before the sample can be collected.
For sampling, it is also best to try to find a faucet that does not have an aerator. If a
faucet with an aerator must be used, follow the state primacy agencys recommendation
on whether the aerator should be removed for sample collection.
Once a representative sample point has been selected, it should be described on the
sample record form and placed in the appropriate sample plan such as the one required
for the Total Coliform Rule or Lead and Copper Rule so it can be easily located for future
sample collection.
Collection of Samples
The steps described in the following sections are general sample collection procedures that
should be followed regardless of the constituent tested. Special collection procedures
required for certain tests are described in succeeding chapters.
Only containers designed for water sampling and provided by the laboratory should be
used. Mason jars and other recycled containers cannot be trusted to function properly no
matter how well they are cleaned, and they are generally not accepted by a laboratory for
water analysis. Some laboratories reuse sample containers by washing them under carefully
controlled conditions and sterilizing them prior to reuse. In other cases, it has been found
more economical to dispose of used bottles and provide only new ones for collection.
When a container with a screw-on lid is used, the lid should be removed and held
threads down while the sample is collected in the container. The lid can easily be contami-
nated if the inside is touched or if it is set face down or placed in a pocket. A contaminated
lid can contaminate the sample, which will necessitate resampling, causing a great deal of
unnecessary time and expense.
Raw-water sample collection
If no raw-water sample tap is available and the sample must be taken from an open body
of water, the following procedures should be used.
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56 WATER QUALITY
On a well supply, if no raw-water sample tap is available, the well should be put to
waste with any treatment shut off, the samples collected, the treatment restarted, and the
well placed back in service. A clean, wide-mouth sampling bottle should be used for raw-
water sampling. The bottle should not be rinsed; this is especially important if the bottle
has been pretreated or contains a preservative. The open bottle should be held near its
base and plunged neck downward below the surface of the water. The bottle should then
be turned until the neck points slightly upward for sampling, with the mouth directed
toward any current present. Care must be taken to avoid floating debris and sediment. In a
water body with no current, the bottle can be scooped forward to fill the bottle. Once the
bottle has been filled, it is retrieved, capped, and labeled.
If the sampler is wading, the sample bottle should be submerged upstream from that
person. If a boat is being used for stream sampling, the sample should be taken on the
upstream side.
When samples are being taken from a large boat or a bridge, the sample bottle should
be placed in a weighted frame that holds the container securely. The opened bottle and
holder are then slowly lowered toward the water with a rope or with the handle that comes
with certain devices available through water supply equipment catalogs, dissolved oxygen
sampling cans, swing samplers on poles, long handled dippers, weighted bailers. When
the bottle or sample device approaches the surface, the unit is dropped quickly into the
water. Slack should not be allowed in the rope because the bottle could hit bottom and
break, or it could pick up mud and silt. After the bottle is filled, it is pulled in, capped, and
labeled. There are also specialized sampling devices to be used as required for specific
samples. For example, for DO, the device with the sample bottles is lowered into the water
and then the stopper is remotely removed, the sample container is filled, and the stopper is
replaced before the unit is removed from the water. This type of device can also be used
when sampling at a certain depth to ensure the water is from the zone desired.
Treatment plant sample collection
The procedure used to collect samples from an open tank or basin or in an open channel of
moving water is essentially the same as for raw-water sampling. Treatment plants should be
equipped with sample taps. These faucets provide a continuous flow of water from various
locations in the treatment plant, including raw-water sources. In some plants these taps do
not run continuously because of operational constraints, so the operator may have to turn
the taps on and run the water for a specific period of time to obtain a representative sample.
To collect a sample, the operator or laboratory technician draws the required volume from
the sample tap. Figure 2-12 shows a typical bank of sample faucets in a laboratory.
Distribution system sample collection
Once the distribution system sample locations have been selected, sample collection con-
sists of a few simple, carefully performed steps. First, the faucet is turned on and set to
produce a steady, moderate flow of water (Figure 2-13). If a steady flow cannot be
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WATER QUALITY MONITORING 57
obtained, the tap should not be used. The water is allowed to run long enough to flush any
stagnant water from the service line. (The important exception to this procedure is with
samples collected for lead and copper analyses; these must be first-draw samples collected
immediately after the faucet has been opened.) Depending on the length of the service
line, as mentioned before, this process can take from 2 to 5 minutes or longer. The line is
usually flushed when the water temperature changes (depending on climate and source,
the temperature may increase or decrease) and stabilizes. The sample is then collected
without the flow changing. The sample bottle lid should be held threads down during
sample collection and replaced on the bottle immediately. If the lid must be set down dur-
ing the sampling process, it should be placed threads up and protected from splatter or
falling matter (rain, for example) that could contaminate the sample. The final step after
sampling is to label the bottle.
FIGURE 2-12 Sample faucets in a laboratory
FIGURE 2-13 Sample faucet should be set to produce a steady, moderate flow
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58 WATER QUALITY
A once common practice was to flame the outside of a faucet. This procedure is no
longer recommended. Experience showed that the flame could not be held on the faucet
long enough to kill all the bacteria on the outside of the faucet without potential damage
to the faucet. Many faucets are now made partly or entirely of plastic, which will quickly
melt if high heat is applied. The current common practice is to dip the faucet into a small
container of bleach or swab it with bleach or other approved disinfectant.
Samples should not be collected from sill cocks or other faucets with hose threads
unless local regulations require it and the threads can be thoroughly cleaned. Because of
the way they are constructed, these faucets do not usually throttle to a smooth flow. Also,
if any water splashes up onto the threads and then drains into the sample bottle, it will
bring with it contaminants from the outside of the faucet.
Special-purpose samples
Occasionally a water utility may need to collect samples for special testing purposes. Pro-
cedures in such cases depend on the reason for the sampling.
For example, a consumer may have complained about taste, odor, or color in the
water. In such a case, samples are collected from the consumers faucet to determine the
source of the problem. The faucet is opened and a sample taken immediately. This sample
represents the quality of water standing in the service line. The water is then allowed to
run for 2 to 5 minutes or until the water temperature changes, so that the standing water in
the service line is completely flushed out; then a second sample is taken. The second sam-
ple is fresh from the distribution system. Comparing test results from the two samples
often helps to identify the origin of the problem causing the consumer complaint.
Customer complaints of taste, odor, or color are often caused because the consumers
water heater, water softener, or home water-treatment device is not maintained or operating
properly. If the hot-water supply is suspected, the first sample should be collected from the
hot-water tap. The tap is turned on and allowed to run until the water is hot before the sample
is collected. A second sample representing the water in the service line should be taken from
the cold-water tap as previously described. Comparing the test results from the two samples
will help identify the origin of the problem unless a whole-house filter or treatment device is in
use. In that case, it may be necessary to collect a sample from an outside untreated faucet, the
meter connection, or a neighbors faucet for comparison with an untreated sample.
There are many other reasons for taking special-purpose samples. The previous exam-
ple emphasizes the importance of knowing what the sample test results will be used for so
that the sample collected will be representative of the conditions tested.
MONITORING FOR CHEMICAL CONTAMINANTS
Drinking water may contain contaminants considered a threat to the public. The contami-
nants of concern may occur naturally in the water, be human-made, or be formed during the
water treatment process. The chemicals are broken into four general classes for regulation:
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WATER QUALITY MONITORING 59
1. Inorganic chemicals (IOCs)
2. Synthetic organic chemicals (SOCs)
3. Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs)
4. Radionuclides (covered in Chapter 8)
Monitoring Requirements
The need to establish regulations for new chemical contaminants has presented USEPA
with the problem of creating, adapting, proving and promulgating analytical techniques.
The method must be for a specific chemical and not for a contaminant defined by a
physical description such as a boiling fraction; i.e. an example of this is kerosene which is
petroleum distillates which boil between 150C and 275C which results in a mixture
organic chains of 6 to 16 carbon atoms in each compound. Before a requirement to moni-
tor for a contaminant can be imposed, the testing methods must be developed to ensure
that an adequate number of laboratories will be available to perform the tests and that
they will get consistent, reliable results. Many of the chemicals now being added to the list
of regulated contaminants must be analyzed at the parts-per-billion level or in even
smaller concentrations.
Faucets selected should be on the lines connected directly to the main. Only cold-
water faucets should be used for sample collection. A sampling faucet must not be located
too close to a sink bottom. Contaminated water or soil may be present on the exteriors of
such faucets, and it is difficult to place a collection bottle beneath them without touching
the neck interior against the faucets outside surface. In most instances samples should not
be taken from the following types of faucets (Figure 2-14):
Leaking faucets, which allow water to flow out around the stem of the valve and
down the outside of the faucet.
Faucets with threads.
Faucets connected to home water-treatment units, including water softeners and hot-
water tanks.
Faucets that swivel, since the swivel joint may act as a siphon and bring in contamination
Faucets with single-lever handles that do not guarantee only the cold-water sample is
being selected.
LABORATORY CERTIFICATION
Each of the approximately 155,000 public water systems affected by the Safe Drinking
Water Act (SDWA) must routinely monitor water quality to determine if the water is ade-
quately protected from regulated microbiological, chemical, and radiological contaminants.
It is imperative that the analyses for all of this monitoring be performed by standard meth-
ods approved for compliance testing so that the results are comparable for all systems. Con-
sequently, states are required by federal regulations to consider analytical results from water
WaterQuality.book Page 59 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
60 WATER QUALITY
systems only if samples have been analyzed by a certified laboratory. Some exceptions are
measurements for turbidity, chlorine residual, temperature, and pH, which may be per-
formed by a person acceptable to the state using approved equipment and methods.
Federal regulations require each state with primary enforcement responsibility to have
available laboratory facilities that have been certified by USEPA, with capacities sufficient
to process samples for water systems throughout the state. Certified laboratories fall into
the following general classes:
State-operated laboratories
Water-system laboratories
Commercial laboratories
In most states, the necessary capacity is provided by a combination of all three types of
laboratories. Some laboratories may be certified to perform only one type of analysis; for
instance, some laboratories are set up to handle only microbiological analyses. Analyses
requiring expensive equipment and highly trained technicians, such as for organic chemical
and radiological monitoring, are also generally handled by specialized laboratories.
FIGURE 2-14 Types of faucets that should not be used for sampling
Treatment
Unit
Leaking Faucets
Faucets
With Threads
Drinking Fountains
Faucets Connected to
Home Treatment Units
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WATER QUALITY MONITORING 61
Consistency among laboratories in analytical results is overseen by the USEPA and
by state primacy programs for each of the types of analyses for which the laboratories are
certified. Periodically, an independent vendor contracted by USEPA provides to each lab-
oratory carefully prepared proficiency testing samples containing a known concentration
of a contaminant. The values of the samples are unknown to the laboratory, and its staff
must be able to determine the contaminant concentration within an appropriate tolerance
to maintain the laboratorys certification. The results determined by the laboratory are
submitted to the agency having primacy for laboratory certification for the particular
state.
Historically, most states have operated their own laboratories to process water sys-
tem samples. But the number of samples has increased severalfold in recent years, so it is
difficult for the states to continue providing laboratory service with state funding only.
Some states have instituted charges to water systems to help fund the laboratory services.
Other states only process a certain number of samples from any one water system, and if
more are required, commercial laboratories must be used.
RECORD KEEPING AND SAMPLE LABELING
Records should be kept for every sample that is collected. A sample identification label or
tag should be filled out at the time of collection. Each label or tag should include at least
the following information:
Water utility name
Water systems public water system identification number
Date sample was collected
Time sample was collected
Location where sample was collected
Type of samplegrab or composite
Tests to be run
Name of person sampling
Preservatives used
Bottle number
The samples provided to laboratories should always be clearly labeled. The informa-
tion on the label should also be entered on a record-keeping form that is maintained as a
permanent part of the water systems records and placed on the chain-of-custody forms
submitted to the laboratory. Each laboratory may have its own forms that request the
required information for compliance with regulations.
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62 WATER QUALITY
SAMPLE PRESERVATION, STORAGE, AND TRANSPORTATION
Samples cannot always be tested immediately after they are taken. Ensuring that the level of
the constituent remains unchanged until testing is performed requires careful attention to
techniques of sample preservation, storage, and transportation. It is also extremely impor-
tant that records be kept of the chain of custody of samples collected for SDWA compliance.
Preservation and Storage
After a sample has been collected, its quality may change because of chemical and/or bio-
logical activity in the water. Some characteristics (alkalinity, pH, dissolved gases, disinfec-
tant residuals, temperature, and odor) can change quickly and quite significantly, and so
samples to be analyzed for these parameters should not be stored under any conditions.
The tests for disinfectant residuals, pH and temperature must be completed in the field at
time of collection. Other parameters, such as pesticides and radium, change more slowly
and much less noticeably, and these samples can usually be stored for considerable lengths
of time if necessary.
To extend the storage time of samples requiring chemical analysis, sample-preservation
techniques have been developed that slow the chemical or biological activity in the sample.
This allows it to be transported to the laboratory and tested before significant changes
occur.
Sample preservation usually involves the following steps:
Refrigeration and/or
Chemical preservatives
For some samples storage time can be prolonged by keeping samples refrigerated
until the analysis is performed. In some cases, it is recommended that samples be trans-
ported or shipped to the laboratory in a portable cooler containing an ice pack.
Often the laboratory provides bottles for specific analyses with the preservative already
added. It is particularly important not to allow these containers to overflow as they are
filled, or some of the preservative will be lost. These containers must also be kept out of the
reach of children, because the preservative material could be harmful to a child who opens
a container. If preservatives are to be added by the sampler, specific instructions on the pro-
cedures should be obtained from the laboratory that will perform the analyses.
Time of sampling
Most laboratories do not maintain a full staff on weekends, so they generally request that
samples with short holding times, such as bacteriological samples, be collected and
shipped early in the week. If a sample arrives on a weekend and cannot be processed, the
delay will probably exceed the required holding time and the sample will be rejected. How-
ever, most laboratories accept emergency samples on weekends.
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WATER QUALITY MONITORING 63
Samples that must be submitted within a specified compliance period should gener-
ally be collected and sent to the laboratory early in the compliance period. Some of the
problems that can require resampling are described in the following list:
The sample is frozen or broken during shipment.
The sample is lost or delayed in shipment and arrives at the laboratory after the spec-
ified holding time has elapsed.
The laboratory makes an error in processing the sample.
The laboratory analysis is inconsistent or shows an increase in the MCL, and another
sample to confirm the results is required.
The sample was not properly preserved or was too warm, or no preservative was present.
The sample container was not the proper container for the required sample, size, vol-
ume, or material.
Sampling early in the compliance period ensures that time is available for one or more
resamplings, if necessary, before the end of the period. If resampling has not been com-
pleted before the end of a compliance period, a water system is usually deemed out of
compliance and will be instructed by the state to provide public notification.
Transportation
If samples arrive at a laboratory past the specified holding time following collection, the
laboratory must reject the samples. New sample bottles must then be shipped to the water
system and another set of samples will have to be collected and shipped back.
The mail is usually the best and easiest method of shipment, except for microbiological
or certain radiological samples that require delivery within about a 24-hour period. If regu-
lar mail service fails to deliver samples reliably within the required time period, overnight
shipping services or package delivery services may be tried. In some cases, changing to a
laboratory at a different location may improve delivery time. Some water system operators
who are located near a laboratory have found it best just to drive the samples directly to the
laboratory or arrange with the laboratory for pickup of the samples as part of the analysis
price. Depending on distance and availability of personnel, a bonded courier service may be
used.
If samples are shipped, it is important to make sure the bottle caps are tight to pre-
vent leakage. Systems that have had bottle caps loosen during shipment have found that
wrapping the lids with electrical or packing tape is an easy method of further securing
them. Samples must be packed in a sturdy container with enough cushioning material to
prevent breakage. The box should be marked to indicate which end is up, that the contents
are fragile, that they must not be allowed to freeze, and that priority should be given to the
shipment.
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64 WATER QUALITY
Chain of Custody
As more and more parameters are added to the list of regulated and unregulated contami-
nants, and with the MCLs and MCLGs in the micrograms per liter range, the practice of
good quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) procedures becomes very important.
One essential part of QA/QC is maintaining a written record of the history of SDWA com-
pliance samples from the time of collection to the time of analysis and subsequent disposal.
This record, called the chain of custody, is important if the analyses are ever challenged and
need to be defended. Chain-of-custody requirements vary by state, so water system opera-
tors should be sure that the requirements for their state are being met.
Field log sheet
One method of establishing the chain-of-custody record is to use a daily field log sheet,
which should contain the following information:
Date the samples were collected
Name of the sampler
List of all the samples collected by the sampler on this date
List of all the sample locations for this date
Time of day each sample was collected
Comments concerning any unusual situations
Signature of the individual receiving the samples from the sampler
Date and time the samples were received by the laboratory
Location or identification of the laboratory
This log sheet states that the samples were in the custody of the sampler until they
were turned over to the shipper. The laboratory record then follows the history of the sam-
ple to disposal.
Samplers liability
If the results of an analysis of a specific sample are ever questioned, the sampler will be
asked to verify that the sample was in his or her custody until it was turned over or sent to
the laboratory. The sampler will be asked to verify that the sample was collected, stored,
and transported using proper procedures and that no other person could have in any way
altered the concentrations of any contaminant(s) present.
Samplers responsibility
The sampler has the basic responsibility to ensure that the sample is properly collected,
labeled, stored, and transported to the laboratory. The sample collector must be able to
testify that the sample was under his or her custody at all times. The sample collector is
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WATER QUALITY MONITORING 65
also responsible for knowing and performing the proper sampling routine for each type of
analysis required, including preservation.
SELECTED SUPPLEMENTARY READINGS
Akers, R. 2009. Current Issues Ensuring Freshwater Resources for Southwest Florida.
Journ. AWWA, 101(5):2428.
Carey, E. 1992. Responsible Sampler, Labs Best Asset. Opflow, 18(8):5.
. 1992. Water Quality Only as Good as the Sample. Opflow, 18(8):5.
Eaton, A., G. Lynch, and K. Thompson. 1993. Getting the Most From a Contract
Laboratory. Jour. AWWA, 85(9):44.
Feige, M.A., C. Madding, and E.M. Glick. 1993. USEPAs Drinking Water Laboratory
Certification Program. Jour. AWWA, 85(9):63.
Lay, T. 1989. Proper Sampling Helps Systems Comply With SDWA. Opflow, 15(1):3.
Lee, B.H., R.A. Deininger, and R.M. Clark. 1991. Locating Monitoring Stations in
Water Distribution Systems. Jour. AWWA, 83(7):60.
Mackenthun, K.M., and W.M. Ingram. 1967. Biological Associated Problems in
Freshwater Environments. Cincinnati, Ohio: US Department of the Interior, Federal
Water Pollution Control Administration.
Pesacreta, G. 2009. Early Warning System Minimizes Water Quality Problems. Opflow,
35(1): 2426.
Rosen, J.S., Jose A.H. Sobrinho, and M. LeChevallier, 2009. Statistical Limitations in the
Usefulness of Total Coliform Data. Journ. AWWA, 101(3):68-81.
Sekhar, M. and A. Dugan. 2009. Collect Representative Distribution System Samples.
Opflow, 35(1): 2023.
Stubbart, J.M., W.C. Lauer, and T.J. McCandless. 2004. AWWA Water Operator Field
Guide. Denver, CO: American Water Works Association.
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67
C H A P T E R 3
Water Laboratory Equipment
and Instruments
Water treatment processes cannot be controlled effectively unless the operator has some
way to check and evaluate the quality of water being treated and produced. Laboratory
quality control tests provide the necessary information to monitor the treatment processes
and ensure a safe and good-tasting drinking water for all who use it. By relating labora-
tory results to treatment operations, the water treatment or supply system operator can
select the most effective operational procedures, determine the efficiency of the treatment
processes, and identify potential problems before they affect finished water quality. For
these reasons, a clear understanding of laboratory procedures is a must for every water-
works operator.
LABWARE
The type of glass most often used in the majority of laboratory bottles, beakers, and other
containers is heat-resistant borosilicate glass. It is commonly sold under the trade names
Pyrex

or Kimax

. This heat-resistant glass can be sterilized repeatedly at high tempera-


ture and pressure; can be heated over open flames without shattering; and can also with-
stand heat generated from chemical reactions. However, rapid heating and cooling can
weaken even heat-resistant glass, eventually causing it to crack or shatter.
Plastic is the second most common labware material and is suitable for many labora-
tory purposes. Some types of plastic are resistant to high temperatures and can be auto-
claved. Extensive use of plastic labware is a matter of choice. Its principal advantage is
that it is less subject to breakage. Some types of plastic labware are also disposable, which
eliminates the need for laborious cleaning procedures. However, reusable plastic is harder
to clean and cannot be used for all chemical analyses. For example, plastic labware should
not be used in preparing samples for organic chemical analysis because the plastic may
absorb the organic compound, causing erroneous results. In certain other tests, such as
extractions using organic solvents, the chemicals used may deteriorate plastic almost
immediately. Additionally, plastic labware is easily scratched and marred and eventually
becomes cloudy with use.
Another labware material is soft (nonheat-resistant) glass, which can be used to store
some dry chemical reagents, such as salts. This material is not recommended for extensive
laboratory use because it breaks easily and cannot be heated.
Some of the common types of laboratory containers are described in the following sections.
For all liquid measurements in calibrated glassware discussed, the reading should be
taken at calibration mark matching the bottom of meniscus of the liquid since liquids tend
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68 WATER QUALITY
to form a concave (bowl-shaped) meniscus at their surface. This phenomenon does not
hold true for mercury, which forms a convex (mound-shaped) meniscus. For mercury, read
the top of the meniscus opposite the calibration mark.
All labware used to store a sample, chemical, or reagent should be properly labeled as
to the contents for safety. This is important to prevent lost sample, mixing of incompatible
materials, or other unwanted reactions or conditions affecting health or safety.
Beakers
A beaker is a glass jar with an open top, vertical sidewalls, and a lip that simplifies pouring
of liquids (Figure 3-1). Common laboratory beakers range in size from 25 to 4,000 mL.
The 250- and 500-mL sizes are the most popular. Beakers are used as mixing vessels for
most chemical analyses, and an ample supply of various sizes should always be kept on
hand for use in a laboratory.
Burettes
A burette is a glass tube that is graduated over part of its length and fitted with a stopcock
(Figure 3-2). The most common sizes are 10, 25, and 50 mL. The graduations are nor-
mally in tenths of a milliliter. Burettes are designed for measuring and dispensing solu-
tions during titration, a procedure commonly used when determining the concentration of
a substance in solution. Both glass and plastic burettes are available. Plastic burettes are
especially useful for field tests. Bottle-top burettes (Figure 3-2) are also available; they
have the advantage of being easy to read and allow more rapid titration. When using
burettes for compliance analytical tests, make sure the labware is marked and certified as
Class A, since these are mandated in the regulations. For process control work you can
use a lower grade of equipment.
FIGURE 3-1 Beakers
200 mL
150 mL
100 mL
50 mL
250 ml
400 mL
200 mL
150 mL
100 mL
50 mL
A
P
P
R
O
X

V
O
L
U
M
E
md 10000
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WATER LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENTS 69
Dilution Bottles
Dilution bottles are also known as milk dilution bottles or French squares. They are auto-
clavable glass or plastic vessels used for diluting bacteriological samples for analysis. The
bottles are square (Figure 3-3), with narrow mouths threaded to receive a screw cap. All
bottles have a 160-mL capacity with a mark at the 99-mL level to facilitate 1- to-100-mL
dilutions of a sample.
Flasks
There are many types of flasks, each with its own specific name and use (Figure 3-4).
Some names, such as distilling and filtering, identify their use. Other names specify the test
they are used for, such as Kjeldahl. All flasks have narrow necks. Erlenmeyer, biochemical
oxygen demand (BOD), and volumetric flasks are the most common types.

FIGURE 3-2 Manual burette (left) and bottletop burette (right)
Courtesy of Brinkmann Instruments, Inc.
0
1
2
3
4
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
10
20
o
C
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70 WATER QUALITY
FIGURE 3-3 Dilution bottle
FIGURE 3-4 Flasks
13
13
500 mL
TC
200
40
mL
No. 5643
200 mL
Distilling Flask Kjeldahl Flask
Volumetric Flask
500
400
300
200
100
250
250 ml
200
150
100
Erlenmeyer Flask Filtering Flask Florence Flask
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WATER LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENTS 71
Erlenmeyer flasks
One of the most frequently used pieces of labware is the Erlenmeyer flask. Ranging in size
from 100 to 4,000 mL, these flasks are characterized by their bell shape. They are recom-
mended for mixing or heating chemicals because they minimize splashing. They are also
frequently used for preparing and storing culture media. Some Erlenmeyer flasks have
specially designed ground-glass fitted tops that makes them ideal for taste and odor sam-
ples. Other Erlenmeyer flasks have screw caps, which allows them to be sealed for storage
of a sample or for specialized testing.
Biochemical Oxygen Demand Bottles
BOD flasks are frequently used in the laboratory for dissolved oxygen (DO) testing since
the dissolved-oxygen probes from many manufacturers are designed to fit in them. These
flasks hold about 300 mL of liquid. They are short, squat rounded flasks with a narrow
mouth fitted with a ground-glass top that has space around the top rim to hold water for
sealing the samples. In addition to being used for DO and BOD tests, these flasks are
appropriate for various other tests requiring a reaction vessel with a tight seal. But beware
that most of these flasks are made of soft glass and do not take heat shock well.
Volumetric flasks
Volumetric flasks have long, narrow necks. They range in size from 10 to 2,000 mL; an
etched ring around the neck indicates the level at which the flasks capacity is reached.
Volumetric flasks are used for preparing and diluting standard solutions. Because these
flasks are designed for measuring, they should not be used for long-term storage of solu-
tions. Again, make sure that if the flasks are being used in performance testingeither for
the preparation of standards or in the dilution of samplesthey are marked and certified
as Class A labware.
Funnels
The funnel is a common piece of laboratory equipment. Four of the most frequently used
types are shown in Figure 3-5. The general-purpose funnel is used to transfer liquids into
bottles or to hold filter paper during a filtering operation. Funnels are made of heat-
resistant glass, soft glass, or plastic. There are also several disposable types.
Graduated Cylinders
Graduated cylinders are tall, slender, cylindrical containers made of glass or plastic
(Figure 3-6). They generally have a pour spout and a hexagonal base. They range in size
from 10 to 4,000 mL. Graduations are marked in 0.2-mL intervals on the 10-mL size and
in 50-mL intervals on the 4,000-mL size. Graduated cylinders are used for measuring
liquids quickly but without great accuracy. Polycarbonate cylinders are good for general
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72 WATER QUALITY
use in the water plants since they are clear like glass and the sides do not wet with the liq-
uid; thus the surface of the water in this material is flat and there is no confusion over
reading the meniscus.
Petri Dishes
Petri dishes are shallow dishes with vertical sides and flat bottoms. They usually have
loose-fitting covers (Figure 3-7). They are used as containers for culturing standard plate
FIGURE 3-5 Funnels
FIGURE 3-6 Graduated cylinder
Separatory Funnel
Filter Funnel
Bchner Funnel
General-Purpose Funnel
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
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WATER LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENTS 73
counts and membrane filters. They may be glass or plastic and should be completely
transparent for optimum visibility of colonies.
Usually dishes measuring 100 mm 15 mm are used for heterotrophic plate counts
(HPCs). A petri dish measuring 50 mm 12 mm with a tight bottom lid is used to contain
and culture 47-mm membrane filters. The tight fit retards evaporation loss from both
broth and agar media, which helps maintain humidity inside the dish.
Pipettes
Pipettes are used for accurate volume measurements and transfer. Three types of pipettes
are commonly used in the laboratoryvolumetric pipettes, graduated or Mohr pipettes,
and serological pipettes.
Volumetric pipettes are available in sizes, such as 1, 10, 25, 50, and 100 mL. They are
used to deliver a single volume. Measuring and serological pipettes, however, will deliver
fractions of the total volume indicated on the pipette. Volumetric pipettes used for perfor-
mance monitoring should be Class A glassware.
To empty volumetric pipettes, hold them in a vertical position so the outflow is unre-
stricted. The tip should be touched to the wet surface of the receiving vessel and kept in
contact with it until the emptying is complete. Under no circumstance should the small
amount remaining in the tip be blown out, that is using air pressure to clear the tip of
the pipet.
Measuring and serological pipettes should be held in the vertical position. After out-
flow has stopped, the tip should be touched to the wet surface of the receiving vessel.
Where the small amount remaining in the tip is to be blown out and added, this will be
indicated by a frosted band near the top of the pipette.
Use of a pipette filler or pipette bulb is recommended to draw the sample into a
pipette. Never pipette chemical reagent solutions or water samples by mouth. Use the fol-
lowing techniques for best results:
1. Draw liquid up into the pipette past the calibration mark.
2. Quickly remove the bulb and place dry fingertip over the end of the pipette.
FIGURE 3-7 Petri dish
Cover
Bottom
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74 WATER QUALITY
3. Wipe excess liquid from the tip of the pipette using laboratory tissue paper.
4. Lift finger and allow desired amount, or all, of liquid to drain.
In many types of pipette bulbs and fillers on the market, the flow of liquid from the
pipette can be controlled without removing the pipette from the apparatus.
Two kinds of pipettes are generally used. Those with a graduated stem, called Mohr
pipettes, can be used to measure any volume up to the capacity of the pipette. Those with a
single measuring ring near the top are called volumetric or transfer pipettes. Typical Mohr
and volumetric pipettes are shown in Figure 3-8.
Pipettes marked with the letters TD are designed to deliver the calibrated volume of
the pipette. They will deliver the specified amount if the following conditions are met:
The pipette is clean.
The pipette is held in a near-vertical position during delivery.
Contact is made between the tip of the pipette and the receiving vessel at the end of
the transfer.
The small drop of solution that will be left in the pipette is accounted for in the
pipettes calibration. If a pipette has two bands ground into the glass at the top, it has been
calibrated for the last drop in the pipette to be blown out.
Pipettes are constructed with the delivery end tapered and the opposite end fire-polished
so that it can be closed easily with a fingertip. For work requiring great accuracy and specified
volumes, samples should be measured with a volumetric pipette. If the sample to be measured
is less than 50 mL, it is good practice to use a pipette rather than a graduated cylinder. In gen-
eral, transfer or volumetric pipettes should be used when a great deal of accuracy is required.
Measurement, or Mohr, pipettes may be used when less accuracy is required.
To repeat, mouth suction should never be used to pipette solutions. Instead, a pipette
bulb or filler should be used.
Graduation marks on pipettes must be legible and permanently bonded to the glass.
Pipettes should not be allowed to stand overnight in caustic or detergent solutions because
they may become cloudy or frosted. If pipettes become badly etched or the tips become
chipped, they should be discarded. Such damage can interfere with accurate measurement.
FIGURE 3-8 Mohr pipette (top) and volumetric pipette (bottom)
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1
0
m
L
TD 10 mL 20
o
C
10
IN
1/10
1
0
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WATER LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENTS 75
Porcelain Dishes
Porcelain labware has long been favored for use with samples that are at elevated tempera-
tures. Glazed porcelain is nonporous and highly resistant to heat, sudden changes in tem-
perature, and chemical attack. Most evaporating dishes and filtering crucibles (called
Gooch crucibles) are made of porcelain. These dishes are used for analysis of total sus-
pended solids (TSS) and total dissolved solids (TDS). A porcelain evaporating dish and a
filtering crucible are shown in Figure 3-9.
Reagent Bottles
Reagent bottles (Figure 3-10) are made of borosilicate glass because they must be stable
and resistant to heat and mechanical shock. The caps, also made of borosilicate glass, are
usually ground-glass stoppers with flat tops, grip tops, or penny-head tops. Tops may also
be plastic.
Reagent bottles should be used exclusively for storing reagents in the laboratory. They
should be clearly labeled with the following information:
Name of the chemical and chemical formula
Concentration of the chemical
FIGURE 3-9 Evaporating dish (left) and filtering crucible (right)
Courtesy of CoorsTek
FIGURE 3-10 Reagent bottle
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76 WATER QUALITY
Date the reagent was prepared or received
Initials of the person who prepared or received the reagent
Expiration date of the reagent
Some reagent bottles are supplied with etched or raised-glass letters; others have a
specially ground area for marking. Some reagents, such as those that are fluoride based,
should be stored only in plastic reagent bottles.
Sample Bottles
Wide-mouth sample bottles are used for water sample collection, primarily because it is
easier and quicker to fill them than to fill narrow-mouth bottles. In bacteriological sam-
pling, there is less chance of contamination by splashing if wide-mouth bottles are used.
Glass sample bottles should be made of borosilicate or corrosion-resistant glass, with
metal or plastic closures equipped with nontoxic leakproof liners (Figure 3-11).
Plastic bottles for bacteriological and chemical samples offer the advantages of being
inexpensive, lightweight, breakage resistant, and, depending on type, disposable. Autocla-
vable polypropylene bottles are available for collecting microbiological samples, but they
should be discarded when they become brittle or discolored.
Bottles used to collect water for organic chemical analysis must be specific for the
intended analysis (i.e., volatile organic compounds, synthetic organic compounds). Only
borosilicate glass, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE; the trade name is Teflon), or stainless-
steel labware should be used. Plastic labware made from polyethylene and polypropylene, is
not acceptable for organic chemical analysis. However, plastic caps with PTFE liners may
be used.
Some glassware, often referred to as amber glassware, is tinted a brown or reddish
color. It retards light entering the sample bottle to reduce the possible deterioration of
light-sensitive chemicals in the sample. Check with the laboratory running the tests to
make sure you are using the proper container.
FIGURE 3-11 Sample bottle
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WATER LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENTS 77
Test Tubes and Culture Tubes
Test tubes are hollow, slender glass tubes with rounded bottoms, open tops, and flared lips
(Figure 3-12). Culture tubes are similar but have plain lips (Figure 3-13).
Test tubes and culture tubes can be used for a variety of general laboratory tests. They
may be made of disposable plastic, disposable glass, heat-resistant glass, or special-purpose
glass.
Uses for culture tubes include multiple-tube fermentation tests for bacteria, biochem-
ical tests for bacterial identification, and stock culture collections.
Cleaning Labware
It is important to clean labware as soon as possible after use. This practice will ensure an
adequate supply of clean labware and will prevent the formation of stains. Pipettes and
burettes, for example, should be rinsed promptly after use. Good labware-cleaning proce-
dure involves two washes and two rinses:
Detergent wash
Acid wash with 10 percent hydrochloric acid
Hot tap-water rinse
Distilled-water rinse
Any good nonphosphate household detergent is adequate for cleaning most labware.
Special detergents are also available from laboratory supply outlets. Liquid detergents are
preferable to nonliquid types.
Dissolved matter should not be allowed to dry on labware, because if it is not com-
pletely removed, it could contaminate future analyses. If stubborn stains or crusty chemi-
cal residues remain after normal cleaning procedures, glassware should first be washed
with a cleaning solution, such as an acid-dichromate type or other form of strong cleaning
agent. These solutions are available either ready-made or as concentrates.
Labware used in organic chemical analysis must be cleaned with particular care
even trace amounts of organic contaminants must be removed. Specific dedicated labware
should be used for organic chemical analysis.
FIGURE 3-12 Test tube
FIGURE 3-13 Culture tube
125 15 mm
125 15 mm
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78 WATER QUALITY
MAJOR LABORATORY EQUIPMENT
For a laboratory to operate properly and perform basic analyses, several major pieces of
equipment must be available. These are described in the following sections.
Colony Counters
A colony counter (Figure 3-14) is used to count bacterial colonies for the HPC test. Com-
mercially manufactured colony counters magnify and backlight petri dishes so that bacterial
colonies grown in the dishes can be counted. Colony counters generally contain a black con-
trast background with a ruled counting plate to make counting easier. The viewing area is
illuminated from below the culture dish. The viewing field is magnified 1.5 times by a 5-in.
(130-mm) magnifying glass.
Desiccators
A desiccator is a sealable container used to hold items in the absence of moisture before
they are weighed on an analytical balance. The desiccator serves two important functions:
(1) It provides a place where heated items can cool slowly prior to weighing, and (2) it pro-
vides a dust- and moisture-free environment so that items being cooled will not gain mois-
ture or contaminant weight before they are weighed. A chemical (such as dry calcium
sulfate) placed in the bottom of the desiccator removes moisture from the air within the
enclosure.
Glass desiccators with tight-fitting glass covers and ground-glass flanged closures
(Figure 3-15) were the standard for years. Currently, desiccating cabinets made of fiber-
glass or stainless steel and glass with pliable seals are also used. Laboratories use them to
store opened containers of media and maintain the dryness of equipment as required.
The desiccator should be properly maintained and monitored. The seals, whether
made of compressible material or sealing grease for ground-glass units, should be
checked to ensure an airtight fit. There should be a drying indicator in the bottom of the
desiccator that should be checked daily to determine if the water-absorbing capacity of the
drying agent is close to being exhausted. Drying agents in which the indicator is manufac-
tured into the agent are available to let you know when regeneration is needed. The drying
agent should be regenerated or replaced before its capacity has been reached. Any crack
or breach in the desiccator wall or top should be repaired, or if that is not feasible, the unit
or part should be replaced.
Fume Hoods
A fume hood is a large enclosed cabinet that contains a fan to vent fumes out of the labo-
ratory. When used properly, the hood is one of the most important devices for preventing
laboratory accidents. A typical fume hood (Figure 3-16) contains a glass or clear acrylic
(trade name Plexiglas) door that can be closed to isolate the contents under the hood
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WATER LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENTS 79
FIGURE 3-14 Colony counter
Courtesy of Reichert, Inc.
FIGURE 3-15 Glass desiccator
Courtesy of Corning Life Sciences
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80 WATER QUALITY
from the main laboratory. A convenient fume hood arrangement includes waste drains,
electrical outlets, gas taps, and air and vacuum pressure taps, all located within the fume
hood cabinet.
All tests that produce unpleasant or harmful smoke, gas, vapors, or fumes should be
conducted under a fume hood. Whenever heat is used in a test procedure, the test should
be conducted under a fume hood. The hood contains the fumes, and the hood door, if
partially lowered, can protect the operator's face and upper body from accidental splash-
ing while the test is being performed. Containers holding liquids or solids that give off
harmful vapors can also be stored in this area until they are used, removed from the labo-
ratory, or properly disposed of.
Incubators
An incubator is an artificially heated container used in growing bacterial cultures for
microbiological tests. The three most common types of incubators are dry-heat incuba-
tors, low-temperature incubators, and water-bath incubators.
FIGURE 3-16 Fume hood
Photo reprinted with permission of Labconco Corp.
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WATER LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENTS 81
Dry-heat incubators
Dry-heat incubators contain a heating element capable of holding temperatures to within
0.5C of the desired incubation setting. They are useful for total coliform and HPC anal-
yses that require a temperature of 35C 0.5C. These incubators usually have a tempera-
ture range of 30C to 60C. Because they contain a heating element only, they cannot hold
temperatures below room temperature if there are applications that require this tempera-
ture range in an elevated temperature environment.
There are two types of dry-heat incubators: gravity convection and mechanical con-
vection. Mechanical-convection incubators (Figure 3-17) have air-circulating fans that
help keep a constant temperature throughout the interior and therefore are more effective
in maintaining temperature tolerance limits than are gravity-convection incubators.
Low-temperature incubators
Low-temperature incubators are used for incubation at temperature ranges from 10C to
50C with 0.3C uniformity. These incubators are refrigerators that contain a heating
element and a thermostat. They are most frequently used for BOD determinations.
Water-bath incubators
Water-bath incubators are used for maintaining a more constant incubation temperature
than is possible with dry-heat incubators. They are also used for many common analyses
in which reactions must be completed with reagents or mixtures at a specified temperature.
FIGURE 3-17 Mechanical convection
Courtesy of Precision/Napco
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82 WATER QUALITY
Water baths used as incubators for fecal coliform analyses must maintain a constant tem-
perature of 44.5C 0.2C. Water baths are capable of limiting variation from the desired
setting to 0.2C if the bath is covered and the water is circulated or gently agitated.
Most standard water baths are equipped only with heating elements to control tem-
perature. These units operate in a range from room temperature to 100C. Water baths
that have both refrigeration and heating elements and an operating range of 0C100C
are also available.
Jar Test Apparatus
A jar test apparatus is an automatic stirring machine equipped with three to six stirring
paddles and a variable-speed motor drive. The stirring machine is mounted on top of a
floc illuminator, as is shown in Figure 3-18. The illuminator provides the light needed for
a clear visual inspection of the floc produced during the jar test. Use of the jar test appara-
tus is discussed in chapter 5 and also in another book in this series, Water Treatment.
Membrane Filter Apparatus
A membrane filter is capable of filtering particles as small as 0.45 m from water. A typi-
cal apparatus consists of three basic parts: a filter holder base, a membrane filter, and a fil-
ter funnel. The apparatus fits on top of a vacuum filter flask (Figure 3-19) or on a suitably
designed vacuum manifold (Figure 3-20). The filter holder base is available in stainless
steel, fritted glass, and plastic. The funnel is available in heat-resistant glass, plastic, or
stainless steel. In addition to use in coliform analysis, the membrane filter apparatus can
be used in many tests requiring preparation by filtration.
FIGURE 3-18 Jar test apparatus
Courtesy of Phipps & Bird
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WATER LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENTS 83
Ovens
An oven is required in a laboratory primarily to dry, burn, or sterilize. The most com-
monly used ovens are utility ovens, muffle furnaces, and autoclaves.
Utility ovens
Utility ovens (Figure 3-21) typically have an operating temperature range of 30C350C.
They can be of two types: gravity convection or forced air. In addition, some models are
constructed so that a vacuum can be applied. These ovens are used for drying samples and
labware at 105C prior to weighing, or for sterilizing labware at 170C for use in bacterio-
logical testing.
Muffle furnaces
Muffle furnaces (Figure 3-22) are high-temperature ovens used to ignite or burn solids.
The weight of the volatile materials is found by subtracting the weight after ignition from
the weight before ignition. Muffle furnaces are lined with firebrick and generally have
small ignition chambers. They usually operate at temperatures near 600C.
Autoclaves
Autoclaves (Figure 3-23) are pressure cookers that are used to sterilize such items as glass-
ware, sample bottles, membrane filter equipment, culture media, and contaminated discard
materials. They sterilize by exposing the material to steam at 121C and 15 psi (100 kPa) for
a specified period of time. Exposure time varies with the kind of material to be sterilized.
The use of presterilized disposable equipment may eliminate the need for an autoclave in
the preparation of the equipment for use, but some sort of sterilization process is needed to
properly dispose of biologically contaminated materials.
FIGURE 3-19 Membrane filter apparatus on top of a vacuum filter flask
300
200
100
Membrane
Filter
Filter Funnel
Filter Holder
Base
Vacuum Flask
Hose Connected
to a Vacuum
Source
WaterQuality.book Page 83 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
84 WATER QUALITY
FIGURE 3-20 Membrane filter apparatus on top of a vacuum manifold
FIGURE 3-21 Utility oven
Courtesy of Barnstead International
FIGURE 3-22 Muffle furnace
Courtesy of Barnstead International
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WATER LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENTS 85
Refrigerators
A refrigerator is required in a laboratory to store chemical solutions and to preserve samples.
A wide range of laboratory refrigerators is available, but standard domestic refrigerators are
sufficient for most facilities. For bacteriological sample storage, a refrigerator capable of
maintaining a temperature between 1C and 5C is required.
Chemical solutions and samples should not be stored in the same refrigerator. Sepa-
rate storage minimizes the chance of cross contamination. A separate refrigerator should
be used for the storage of microbiological samples and reagents since the fumes of some
chemicals may be harmful to the organisms. Food should never be kept in a refrigerator
that is used for sample or chemical storage.
SAFETY EQUIPMENT
Chemical burns and fires are common laboratory hazards. Every laboratory should be
equipped to protect laboratory personnel from chemical burns and to extinguish small
fires.
Eye Protection
The eyes are some of the most vulnerable parts of the human body and should be pro-
tected. Safety goggles or protective face shields should be worn when there is danger of
flying particles or spattering liquids. Although prescription glasses can be purchased with
shatterproof lenses, they do not surround the eyes with a tight-fitting covering to protect
FIGURE 3-23 Autoclave
Courtesy of Brinkmann Instruments, Inc.
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86 WATER QUALITY
against splashes, nor do regular safety glasses. Chemical splash goggles (Figure 3-24) and
full-face shields (Figure 3-25) are specifically designed to reduce the chance of liquids
reaching the eye. Also, the lens material is resistant to impact and penetration. Both types
of eye protectors can be worn over normal prescription glasses.
Contact lenses can increase eye injury from chemical splashes. It is recommended that
they not be worn in laboratories or chemical storage areas, since the fumes from the chem-
icals can react with the moisture in the eyes and be trapped behind the lenses. The result is
chemical burns to the cornea.
FIGURE 3-24 Safety goggles
Courtesy of Bel-Art Products, Inc.
FIGURE 3-25 Full-face shield
Courtesy of Thomas Scientific, Inc.
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WATER LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENTS 87
An eyewash should be available in every laboratory. When a highly alkaline or acidic
chemical touches the eyes or skin, deterioration begins immediately; the longer the period
of contact, the greater the damage that will occur. The eyewash quickly floods the eye with
water. Eyewashes can consist of bottles with an eye cup or spray nozzle designed to flood
the eye (Figure 3-26) or they can be permanent plumbing fixtures similar to drinking
fountains (Figure 3-27).
Deluge/Safety Showers
Deluge/safety showers deliver a torrent of water in a uniform pattern to wash a persons
body as completely and as rapidly as possible. As shown in Figure 3-28, a freestanding
deluge/safety shower can be placed in a convenient, easy-to-reach location in the labora-
tory. The shower should have a large, easy-to-grab pull-chain ring or a paddle valve. Once
the shower is turned on, it should remain on until deliberately turned off. These can also
be attached to an alarm visual light and horn or bell to notify others that assistance may
be needed.
FIGURE 3-26 Eyewash bottles
Courtesy of Bel-Art Products, Inc.
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88 WATER QUALITY
FIGURE 3-27 Eyewash apparatus similar to a drinking fountain
FIGURE 3-28 Deluge shower
WaterQuality.book Page 88 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
WATER LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENTS 89
Fire Extinguishers
Quick use of a fire extinguisher can prevent a small laboratory fire from becoming a large
one. Every laboratory should have at least one all-purpose fire extinguisher (Figure 3-29)
capable of putting out small fires. The type of extinguisher chosen for the laboratory
should match the types of chemicals available that could burn, that is, organics, certain
metals, and so on. Laboratories should also be equipped with a fire blanket. The blankets
major purpose is to extinguish burning clothing, but it can also be used to smother liquid
fires in small open containers. The blanket (Figure 3-30) is usually stored in a container
mounted on a wall or column and is arranged in the container so that it can easily be
pulled out. The fire extinguisher and fire blanket can extinguish most small fires that
might commonly occur in the laboratory. The condition of the extinguisher and blanket
should be checked monthly and recorded.
Water Stills and Deionizers
Two types of high-purity water are commonly used in most laboratories:
1. Distilled water
2. Deionized water
Water stills
A water distillation unit (still) produces the distilled water needed for many laboratory tests
and for rinsing labware prior to use. Stills like the one shown in Figure 3-31 produce distilled
water from common tap water by evaporation and condensation. Distilled water is free of
dissolved minerals, uncombined gases, and all types of organic and inorganic nonvolatile
contaminants. Stills can be portable or fixed and are generally made of glass for laboratory
use. They can be heated by gas, electricity, or steam. Laboratory-size stills generally have an
output capacity from about 0.3 to 5 gph (1.1 to 18.9 L/hr).
FIGURE 3-29 Fire extinguisher FIGURE 3-30 Fire blanket
EMERGENCY
FIRE
BLANKET
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90 WATER QUALITY
Deionizers
A deionizer removes all dissolved inorganic material (ions) from water using special ion-
exchange resins. Organic matter, chlorine, uncombined gases, and fine particulates are not
removed unless the unit is equipped with special cartridges for their removal. As is shown
in Figure 3-32, deionizers are available in simple cartridge form for direct connection to
any laboratory water faucet. The units continue to produce deionized water until the resin
becomes exhausted. Exhaustion of the deionizer is signaled by a change in resin color or
by a light or meter provided with the unit. When exhausted, the old cartridge is removed
and a new one inserted in its place. Deionizers should be sized for the requirements of the
facility and the anticipated usage.
Deionized water can be used in place of distilled water for most general laboratory
purposes, including the preparation of solutions and washing of precipitates, extraction,
and rinsing of glassware. Deionized water cannot be substituted for distilled water where
organic impurities will interfere with an analytical method unless the unit is also equipped
with a cartridge that removes organic chemicals.
SUPPORT EQUIPMENT
A well-equipped laboratory includes a variety of support equipment used for various tests.
Aspirators
An aspirator is a T-shaped plumbing fixture with a Venturi throat that connects to a water
faucet and is used to create a vacuum. A typical glass aspirator is shown in Figure 3-33.
FIGURE 3-31 Water still
Courtesy of Barnstead International
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WATER LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENTS 91
Metal or plastic units are best for use in a sink. When the faucet is turned on, water flows
down the vertical leg of the aspirator, creating a negative pressure (vacuum) in the hori-
zontal stem. When it is connected to a vacuum filter flask, an aspirator produces the vac-
uum needed for many laboratory filtering operations.
Aspirators can create a cross-connection and a potential hazard to the laboratory
water supply. The faucet used to connect an aspirator should be provided with an atmo-
spheric vacuum breaker.
Hot Plates
Hot plates are widely used in laboratories for heating solutions. Hot plates usually have a
temperature range of 100C500C. The heating surface is smooth for easy cleaning and is
FIGURE 3-32 Deionizer
Courtesy of Barnstead International
FIGURE 3-33 Aspirator
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92 WATER QUALITY
made of a corrosion-resistant material such as glass, ceramic, or aluminum. A hot plate with
a built-in stirring unit is illustrated in Figure 3-34. Hot plates come in various sizes that
accommodate only one piece of glassware up to about a dozen. The larger units are useful
when warming large numbers of flasks for tests such as threshold odor determinations.
Burners
A gas (Bunsen) burner is a convenient high-temperature heating device used in any labora-
tory served by natural gas or equipped with bottled gas (Figure 3-35). Burners are provided
with adjustable air intake shutters for proper mixing of air and gas.
Filters
Three types of filters commonly used in laboratories today are filter paper, glass-fiber fil-
ters, and membrane filters.
FIGURE 3-34 Hot plate with built-in stirring unit
Courtesy of Corning Life Sciences
FIGURE 3-35 Gas burner
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WATER LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENTS 93
Filter Paper
Filters made of porous paper are used to clarify solutions, collect particulates, and sepa-
rate solids from liquids. The papers pore size is between 5 and 10 m, and the filters are
available in diameters ranging from 4.25 to 50 cm.
Glass-fiber filters
Filters made of uniform fine glass fibers are used to filter fine particulates, bacteria, and
algae under a high rate of flow. Pore size varies from 0.7 to 2.7 m, and diameters from
15 to 261 cm are available.
Membrane filters
Filters made of cellulose acetate create membranes with precise pore sizes ranging from
0.2 to 5.0 m. They are available in diameters from 13 to 142 mm. They have many uses in
the laboratory; however, the main use is for bacterial testing. Those used in bacterial test-
ing typically have a pore size of 0.45 m.
Magnetic Stirrers
Magnetic stirrers are used to stir solutions continuously for long periods of time. They are
similar in appearance to laboratory hot plates, having a corrosion-resistant top of alumi-
num, glass, or ceramic material. Beneath the top is a variable-speed motor that drives a
rotating magnetic field. This magnetic field spins a magnetized, plastic or Teflon-coated
stirring bar that is placed in the liquid to be stirred. Units driven by water or air are used
when the chemicals to be mixed should be kept from possible sparks or heat buildup, both
of which can occur with electric motors. Combination magnetic stirrerhot plate units
contain separately controlled heating elements and stirring mechanisms. The units can
function as heaters, stirrers, or both.
Vacuum Pumps
Vacuum pumps are commonly used in laboratories to aid in filtration. A large laboratory
may have a large vacuum pump connected by pipes to taps in different areas of the labo-
ratory. Smaller laboratories find small, portable pressure-and-vacuum pumps suitable
(Figure 3-36). These portable units typically use a
1
/
8
-hp to
1
/
3
-hp electric motor and can
produce vacuums of as much as 28 in. (94 kPa) of mercury and pressures of as much as
50 psig (350 kPa, gauge). The attached filters, shown in Figure 3-36, help to provide oil-
free output air. When using the vacuum pump with water samples, always place a large
vessel between the filter apparatus and the vacuum pump to act as a water trap and keep
water out of the pump.
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94 WATER QUALITY
ANALYTICAL LABORATORY INSTRUMENTS
Many sensitive instruments are required in a water laboratory to measure various param-
eters. Some of the more common ones are described in the following paragraphs.
Balances
The balance is a precise instrument used to measure mass. The pan balance or rough bal-
ance weighs loads as much as approximately 2 kg. Pan balances are available in single-
and double-pan models. All balances should be protected from dust and dirt, kept on a
vibration-free surface, and protected from drafts. The balance should also be checked for
levelness before each use, since tilting can affect the loading on the knife edges, force
coils, or balance points. Spills on the balance should be cleaned up immediately so that
the instrument does not corrode.
Single-pan balances
To use the single-pan balance, the item to be weighed is placed on the pan and the coun-
terweights, located on the three horizontal arms (beams), are adjusted. The indicator
arrow on the far right end of the three beams will show when the counterweights equal the
weight of the item. The weight reading is obtained by adding the amount of weight on
each of the three beams.
FIGURE 3-36 Pressure-and-vacuum pump
Courtesy of Gast Manufacturing, Inc.
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WATER LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENTS 95
Double-pan balances
The double-pan balance has the same capability as the single-pan balance, but the proce-
dure is more time consuming. Standard weights must be placed on the right-hand pan
until the two pans can be balanced by sliding a weight across a beam. Some of these bal-
ances even have a calibrated mini-chain to add weight in the decimal level for measuring
very small masses. The weight of the substance is then found by adding all of the weighing
components togetherstandard pan weights, beam rider, and chain links.
Analytical balances
Analytical balances are far more sensitive and precise than pan balances and can detect a
change in weight of as little as 0.0001 g (0.1 mg). The most convenient and practical
analytical balance used in todays laboratory is the automatic single-pan balance
(Figure 3-37). The word automatic refers to the built-in standard weights, which are
placed in operation quickly and automatically by simply turning a knob. The final
weight is easily read from a display. This system simplifies the weighing procedure and
minimizes errors in recording weights. The rapidity of the weighing is an important fea-
ture of the analytical balance because items being weighed can pick up moisture from the
air, causing a slow weight gain.
Digital balances
Top-loading digital balances (Figure 3-38) are now replacing the older types of balances
because of their improved accuracy and speed of operation.
Locations for balances
A balance must be located on a solid, level surface for it to function properly. Metal coun-
ters, for example, are not suitable because of the flexibility and potential movement of the
metal. Vibrations from machinery operating nearby or from an unstable floor can be
transmitted through the table to the balance, causing an inaccurate reading. The vibra-
tions from machinery can be greatly reduced if a properly constructed table is located on
an unyielding floor.
Most laboratories use solid-marble balance tables like the one shown in Figure 3-39.
These tables reduce the transmission of vibrations from the floor and remain level. They
should be placed on concrete floors if possible, near a bearing wall if above ground level,
and in an environment with relatively constant temperature and humidity and with no
sunlight.
Meters
A variety of specialized meters are used in water treatment plant laboratories for measur-
ing water quality characteristics.
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96 WATER QUALITY
FIGURE 3-37 Automatic single-pan analytical balance
Courtesy of Thomas Scientific, Inc.
FIGURE 3-38 Top-loading portable electronic balance
Courtesy of Ohaus Corporation (Scout

Pro)
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WATER LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENTS 97
Colorimeters
The concentrations of many chemicals can be determined by measuring the intensity of
color in a chemical reaction. Colorimetric measurements may be made using a wide vari-
ety of equipment, including standard color-comparison tubes, photoelectric colorimeters,
and spectral photometers (Figure 3-40). Each has its place and its particular application
in the laboratory.
Color comparators with permanent color standards for specific parameters can be
purchased for laboratory and field use. There are two types of comparators. The disk type
consists of a wheel of small colored glasses. The slide type consists of liquid standards and
glass ampules. Comparators give rapid, fairly acceptable, consistent results. The most
common comparators are the chlorine residual test kit, used by most water utilities, and
the chlorinepH test kit, used for swimming pools. These comparator-type kits may be
used for process control, but not for reportable readings to the primacy agency. The cur-
rent regulations require that any measurement taken for compliance testing must be made
with an electronic colorimeter or photometer, whether it is for chlorine residual, pH, or
any other parameter.
Electrical conductivity meters
A common way of obtaining a quick estimate of the concentration of dissolved solids in
water is to measure the electrical conductivity (EC) of the water. The EC meter actually
measures the electrical resistance of the water between two electrodes suspended in the
sample. The instrument readout is in microhms per centimeter at 25C. In general, every
10 units of EC represents 6 to 7 mg/L of dissolved solids.
FIGURE 3-39 Marble balance table
Courtesy of Thomas Scientific, Inc.
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98 WATER QUALITY
Photometers
The photometer is an electronic device that performs the same function as a colorimeter or
color comparator. Photometers are far more accurate and precise than visual colorimeters.
A photometer can measure small differences in color intensities not easily seen by the
human eye. Other advantages over visual colorimeters include freedom from variable light
conditions and elimination of errors because of color blindness or color bias of the analyst.
The photometer is versatile, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive. US Environmental
Protection Agency (USEPA) drinking water regulations require the use of photometers in
testing for nitrate, arsenic, fluoride, and chlorine residual.
A basic photometer, such as the one in Figure 3-41, has five main components:
1. White-light source
2. Wavelength control unit
3. Sample compartment
4. Detector
5. Meter
The white light passes through the wavelength control unit (a simple colored filter, a
diffraction grating, or a prism) to produce a single-color light (light of a specific wave-
length). The single-color light then passes through the treated sample, which is contained
in a glass tube (cuvette) in the sample compartment. The amount of light that passes
FIGURE 3-40 Pocket Colorimeter
Courtesy of Hach Company
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WATER LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENTS 99
through the sample is sensed by the detector and indicated on the graduated scale or digi-
tal meter. The measurement can be expressed in terms of percent transmittance or in
terms of absorbance. Finally, the concentration of the measured constituent is found from
a previously prepared calibration curve (Figure 3-42). Such a curve must be prepared for
each constituent to be measured. At regular intervals, or any time results appear suspect, a
complete new set of standards should be prepared to check the calibration curve.
There are two basic types of photometers, the electrophotometer and the spectrophoto-
meter. The basic difference between the two is the method used to produce the single-color light.
Electrophotometers. An electrophotometer uses a simple colored-glass filter. A spe-
cific filter color is required for each constituent measured. Electrophotometers are gener-
ally used for just a few difficult constituent determinations. A newer type of this
instrument, used for individual tests such as chlorine residual and nitrates, employs a cali-
brated diode that produces the proper wavelength of light used in the measurement of the
reagent-reacted sample. Also available are on-line photometers that allow for the continu-
ous monitoring of various parameters, most commonly chlorine residuals. Current regula-
tions require their installation at various locations.
Spectrophotometers. A spectrophotometer uses either a diffraction grating or a prism to
control the light color. When the angle of the grating or the prism is adjusted, different light
colors (different wavelengths of light) can be selected. Thus, one adjustable grating or prism
provides a continuous spectrum of color selections. A spectrophotometer is particularly useful
when a wide variety of constituents is being measured. Its versatility allows convenient selec-
tion of the best light color for any test.
A special type of spectrophotometer, the atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AA
unit), is used for analyses of most heavy metals in water. It is a sophisticated and expensive
analytical tool that must be operated by specially trained laboratory technicians.
FIGURE 3-41 Photometer
Courtesy of Bacharach, Inc., Photo by Dick Brehl
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100 WATER QUALITY
In the AA procedure, the sample is vaporized either in a flame or graphite furnace. A
special light source, from a specific type of hollow-cathode lamp or an electrodeless dis-
charge lamp, emits light at a wavelength that is characteristic of the element being mea-
sured. The amount of light absorbed by the vapor is measured. This absorbance is directly
proportional to the concentration of the element in the sample.
Another method being used to measure metals is inductively coupled plasmamass
spectrometry (ICPMS). Instruments provide a reading for many metals at the same time
from one sample injected into an argon plasma flame. This procedure creates ions of the
metals that are separated in the mass spectrometer and provides a determination of the
concentration of the metal present in the sample.
pH meters
A pH meter is a sensitive voltmeter that measures the pH (acidity or basicity) of samples.
Meters having graduated scales indicate pH units from 0 to 14. More sophisticated meters
have expanded scales that allow more precise pH measurement within a narrower range
and a millivolt scale that allows measurement of specific ions, such as fluoride. Many
instrument types are available; a typical meter with digital readout is shown in Figure 3-43.
One or two electrodes are supplied with the meter. One electrode, a standard calomel
reference type, develops a constant voltage to be compared against the changing voltage
of the second. The voltage of the second electrode, a glass type, changes as the pH
changes. The second electrode is designed so that a change of one pH unit produces a volt-
age change of 59.1 mV at 25C. In some units, the two electrodes are mounted in a single
unit called a combined or combination electrode. There may also be an additional probe for
temperature compensation as changes in temperature can affect the pH results. This type
of pH system is falling out of use with the use of the combination electrodes mentioned in
the next paragraph.
On-line pH meters that contain combination electrodes with temperature compensa-
tion are in common use. They are used to monitor pH at various stages of the treatment
FIGURE 3-42 Calibration curve
100
90
80
60
50
70
40
30
20
10
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6
Sample Concentration, mg/L
T
r
a
n
s
m
i
s
s
i
o
n
,
%
WaterQuality.book Page 100 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
WATER LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENTS 101
train so that pH levels can be monitored and if needed maintained within certain optimal
ranges.
Specific-ion meters
The concentration of a specific constituent in water, such as fluoride, can be measured
with a specific-ion meter. The complete unit consists of a millivolt meter and interchange-
able electrodes. Each electrode is selectively sensitive to one particular constituent of the
water, and each specific-ion test requires a different electrode. There are currently more
than 20 selective electrodes, including electrodes that will measure chloride, copper, hard-
ness, fluoride, sodium, and chlorine.
In general, most specific-ion electrodes are only useful for applications in which many
consecutive tests must be made on similar samples. Frequent calibrations may be neces-
sary, often rendering the testing more time consuming than testing by other methods.
Also, the electrodes are subject to interference. The fluoride electrode is an exception; the
results it obtains are excellent.
The specific-ion meter (Figure 3-44) resembles a pH meter, with two major differences:
the addition of a millivolt scale on the meter face and the provision for use of selective-ion
electrodes. Often a pH meter is purchased with a millivolt scale so that it can also be used
as a specific-ion meter. A specific-ion meter may read concentration directly or it may read
in millivolts, in which case concentration is determined by using a standard curve. When a
meter with millivolt readings is being used, a standard curve to convert from millivolts to
concentration must be developed. This conversion is made by measuring several samples of
known concentration and plotting the results.
There are on-line versions of these probes available that provide feedback for certain
parameters of interest in the treatment plant. These on-line probes are especially useful if
you are feeding fluoride to monitor for the proper feed on a continuous basis.
FIGURE 3-43 Typical pH meter
Courtesy of Thermo Electron Corp.
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102 WATER QUALITY
Turbidimeters
A turbidimeter measures the clarity of water by measuring the amount of light impeded by
or scattered by the suspended particles in the water sample. USEPA drinking water regula-
tions approve only the nephelometric method for measuring turbidity. Therefore, although
there are other methods, the nephelometric method will be the only one discussed.
Nephelometric turbidimeters are very similar to photometers in both appearance and
performance. The turbidimeter consists of the following major components:
Light source
Focusing device
Sample compartment
Detector (photomultiplier tube)
Meter
As shown by Figure 3-45, light passes through a focusing device into the sample com-
partment and through the sample. The light is reflected by the individual particles that
cause turbidity. Some of that reflected light strikes a detector, such as a phototube, located
90 degrees off the main light path. The detector measures the amount of light reaching it.
Particles that do not reflect light do not produce a turbidity reading. The meter indicates
the corresponding turbidity in nephelometric turbidity units (ntu).
Nephelometric turbidimeters are quick and relatively easy to standardize and operate.
Most meters have readouts that indicate turbidity values directly. The meters usually have
several scale ranges; the most common ones are 00.2, 01, 010, 0100, and 01,000 ntu.
Because all communities using surface water sources are required to test their treated
water daily for turbidity, the turbidimeter is a necessity at every surface water plant. It is
one of the most commonly used instruments.
FIGURE 3-44 Specific ion meter
Courtesy of Thermo Electron Corp.
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WATER LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENTS 103
A variation of the basic turbidimeter is the continuousmonitoring on-line type. Instead
of a sample compartment, this type has a flow-through chamber in which turbidity is contin-
uously measured (Figure 3-46). A complete online installation typically consists of the flow-
through nephelometric sensor, a meter-type turbidity indicator, and a chart recorder or
connection to a data recorder. Such installations are used to monitor the turbidity of raw
water, in-process water, and finished water. The regulations for surface water plants now call
for one of these units to be mounted on each filter effluent and the readings to be recorded at
least every 15 minutes during the filters operation. Specific regulations as to the turbidity
must be adhered to, and the instruments must be carefully maintained and calibrated.
FIGURE 3-45 Path of light through a nephelometric turbidimeter
FIGURE 3-46 Nephelometric turbidimeter with flow-through chamber
Courtesy of Hach Company
Phototube
Slit
Light
Source
Sample
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104 WATER QUALITY
Microscopes
A microscope magnifies extremely small objects so they can be seen and studied. The
naked eye can see objects as small as 40 m across, about half the diameter of a human
hair. Through very powerful magnification, the microscope extends human vision into the
incredibly small worlds of algae and bacteria. Two types of microscopes can be found in
well-equipped water laboratories; one is the binocular wide-field dissecting microscope
and the second is the compound microscope.
The wide-field dissecting microscope is the simplest optical microscope. Basically, it is
a hands-free magnifying glass that can magnify an object up to 20 times. This measure-
ment is abbreviated 20, meaning the diameter of the image is 20 times greater than the
diameter of the object. This type of microscope is used in membrane filtration technique
for bacteria to count the colonies on the membrane. It can also be used in customer ser-
vice work when a sample collected from a customer has particles that may need to be iden-
tified. These can come equipped with a light source for added illumination.
The other type of microscope is the compound microscope, which uses two or more
lenses. A compound microscope consists of five basic parts (Figure 3-47):
1. Stand.
2. Movable stage.
3. Head, including oculars or eyepiece lenses (a one-ocular head is called a monocular; a
two-ocular head, a binocular; a triocular has an additional eyepiece designed for
mounting a camera or digital feed to a computer or screen).
4. Objective nosepiece, a revolving set of lenses (the selection of different objectives gives
different magnifications).
5. Illuminator (light source) and condenser lens used to focus light onto the object being
viewed.
Typically, the compound microscope magnifies as much as 1,000. As is shown in
Table 3-1, the magnifying power of a compound microscope depends on the combined
magnification of the eyepiece (ocular) and the objective lenses. For example, a 20 objec-
tive lens combined with a 10 eyepiece produces a 200 magnification (20 10 = 200).
The compound microscope may be one of the most important tools in the water qual-
ity laboratory. It is used for counting and identifying the microscopic plant and animal life
typically found in water, including color-, taste-, and odor-causing algae and certain types
of bacteria (e.g., iron bacteria) related to water quality.
The newer models can be attached to a camera or even a computer to record the area
or field the microbiologist is looking at on the slide. These capabilities are valuable when
training others to use the microscope. In addition, when a question comes up, a picture
can be forwarded to others for assistance in identifying organisms.
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WATER LABORATORY EQUIPMENT AND INSTRUMENTS 105
Measurement of Organic Chemicals
Analytical instruments that measure trace levels of organic contaminants are relatively
sophisticated and somewhat expensive. Many large water utility laboratories use gas chro-
matographs, or gas chromatographymass spectrometers (GCMS).
Gas chromatographs are essentially sophisticated distillation units; they consist
mainly of ovens, columns, and detectors. The organic compounds in the sample are
vaporized, moved through the columns by an inert gas, separated, and then moved to a
FIGURE 3-47 Compound microscope
Courtesy of Olympus America, Inc
TABLE 3-1 Optical microscope magnification
Overall Magnification
Type of Objective 10 Ocular 15 Ocular
16 mm (10 or low power) 100 150
8 mm (20 or medium power) 200 300
4 mm (43 or high power) 430 645
1.8 mm (90 or oil immersion) 900 1,350
WaterQuality.book Page 105 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
106 WATER QUALITY
detector. The results are displayed on a chart called a chromatograph. The separation of
the various compounds takes place in these special columns by chemical characteristics
of the compound.
A mass spectrophotometer is nothing more than a special detector on the end of a gas
chromatograph. However, it has the ability to identify many organic compounds by their
mass (weight) and fragmentation pattern. A computer is usually an integral part of a gas
chromatograph or GCMS unit. It can help identify compounds through its library of
information on compound characteristics.
Many steps including extraction, drying, and concentrating a sample may be necessary
to prepare a sample for injection into these sophisticated instruments. You may see terms
describing cold-vapor extractions or solid-phase microextraction (SPME); both are
processes that remove the organics from the water and concentrate them in a solvent suitable
for injection into the instrument.
SELECTED SUPPLEMENTARY READINGS
Burlingame, G.A. and M.S. Pryor. 2009. A Tale of Two Utilities: Comparing Diverse
Distribution Systems. Opflow, 35(3):1417.
Manual M12, Simplified Procedures for Water Examination. 2002. Denver, CO:
American Water Works Association.
Manual of Instruction for Water Treatment Plant Operators. 1991. Albany, N.Y.: New
York State Department of Health.
Manual of Water Utility Operations. 8th ed. 1988. Austin, Texas: Texas Water Utilities
Association.
Posavec, S. 2002. Understanding Coliform Testing Methods. Opflow, 20(6):1418.
Schreppel, C. 2010. Plant Performance Picture Emerges with Instrumentation. Opflow,
36(1):2224.
Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. 21st ed. 2005.
Washington, D.C.: American Public Health Association, American Water Works
Association, and Water Environment Federation.
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107
C H A P T E R 4
Microbiological Contaminants
HISTORY
More than 2,500 years ago, Hippocrates, who is called the father of medicine, theorized
that many diseases were caused by drinking water, but he was unable to explain why. Over
the ages, great epidemics caused by contaminated drinking water periodically killed large
segments of populations. It was not until the nineteenth century that the germ theory was
developed by researchers, such as Friedrich Henle, Robert Koch, and Louis Pasteur.
Practically all pathogenic organisms that can be carried by water originate from the
intestinal tracts of warm-blooded animals, particularly humans (fecal-oral route). Some
waterborne diseases can be spread by carriersindividuals in whose bodies the disease
is active but who show few or no symptoms. One famous carrier was Mary Mallon, a
woman who became known as Typhoid Mary. In the 1930s, she infected perhaps as many
as 1,000 people in the United States with typhoid fever but never showed severe symptoms
of the deadly disease herself.
The disease-causing organisms that are considered the principal sources of potential
waterborne diseases are listed in Table 4-1. Most of these diseases can also be transmitted
by other means, such as through food (contaminated water used to wash or prepare) or
body contact (improper washing of hands and surfaces after handling contaminated
objects, in day-care centers, hospitals, and so on). Many of the diseases that caused tre-
mendous loss of life just 100 years ago have now been virtually eradicated in most areas of
the world through a combination of improved sanitation and the use of new medications
In 1990, US Environmental Protection Agencys (USEPAs) Science Advisory Board
(SAB), an independent panel of experts established by Congress, cited drinking water con-
tamination as one of the most important environmental risks and indicated that disease-
causing microbial contaminants (that is, bacteria, protozoa, and viruses) are probably the
greatest remaining health risk-management challenge for drinking water suppliers
(USEPA/SAB 1990). Information on the number of waterborne disease outbreaks from the
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) underscores this concern. CDC
indicates that, between 1980 and 1996, 401 waterborne disease outbreaks were reported. Of
the more than 750,000 associated cases of disease reported during this period, 403,000 were
from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Cryptosporidium incident of 1993. During this period, a
number of agents were implicated as the cause, including protozoa, viruses, and bacteria. In
2003 and 2004, 30 waterborne mixed-agent outbreaks were reported; approximately
2,700 persons became ill, and four people died. With the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks and
added security monitoring the CDC is now keeping track of waterborne illnesses as mixed
causes to include all sources of illness, including chemicals microbial agents and other
sources such as radiologicals.
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108 WATER QUALITY
Waterborne diseases are usually described as acute, which means that the symptoms
are sudden but in healthy people only last a short time. Most waterborne pathogens cause
gastrointestinal illness with diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and other
symptoms. Some waterborne pathogens can be associated with more serious disorders
such as hepatitis, gastric cancer, peptic ulcers, myocarditis, swollen lymph glands, meningi-
tis, encephalitis, and many other diseases.
Protozoa, bacteria, and viruses are microorganisms. Microorganisms are organisms
too small to be seen by the naked eye and can only be seen with a microscope.
TABLE 4-1 Waterborne diseases
Waterborne
Illness
Causative
Organism
Source of
Organism in Water
Symptom/Outcome
Gastroenteritis Salmonella (bacteria)
Clampyobacter
(bacteria)
Animal or human
feces
Acute diarrhea and
vomiting
Typhoid Salmonella typhi
(bacteria)
Human feces Inflamed intestine,
enlarged spleen, high
temperaturefatal
Dysentery Shigella Human feces Diarrheararely fatal
Cholera Vibrio cholerae
(bacteria)
Human feces Vomiting, severe diarrhea,
rapid dehydration, min-
eral losshigh mortality
Infectious
hepatitis
Virus (Hepatitis A) Human feces, shell-
fish grown in pol-
luted waters
Yellowed skin, enlarged
liver, abdominal pain;
lasts as long as 4
monthslow mortality
Amoebic
dysentery
Entamoeba histolytica
(protozoa)
Human feces, sewage Mild diarrhea, chronic
dysentery
Giardiasis Giardia lamblia
(protozoa)
Animal feces sewage Diarrhea, cramps, nau-
sea, general weakness;
lasts 130 weeksnot
fatal
Cryptosporidiosis Cryptosporidium Human and animal
feces
Diarrhea, abdominal
pain, vomiting, low-
grade fever
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MICROBIOLOGICAL CONTAMINANTS 109
The pathogens that are still of some concern as sources of waterborne disease are dis-
cussed in the following sections.
Bacteria
Bacteria are single-cell microorganisms that are smaller than parasites but larger and
more complex than viruses. They multiply by binary fissionthat is, by replicating their
single strand of DNA and dividing in half. The more common shapes are spheres, rod-
shaped, spiral, and branching threads, or filamentous. Bacteria range in diameter from 0.5
to 1 micrometers (m) and in length from 2 to 4 m. Some have flagella, a taillike struc-
ture for movement; others are nonmotile.
Pathogenic bacteria of interest in drinking water are Salmonella, pathogenic Escheri-
chia coli (E. coli), Shigella, Legionella, and Campylobacter.
Salmonella typhi causes typhoid fever, which has been virtually eradicated in the U.S.
due to sanitation. Enteropathogenic E. coli causes gastroenteritis in humans, most notably
diarrhea, but certain pathogens of the family such as E. coli O157:H7 can cause kidney
failure and death in certain susceptible individuals. Shigella causes bacillary dysentery that
is usually not life threatening. Campylobacter infections result in diarrhea and vomiting.
Legionella causes pneumonialike symptoms; infection of susceptible hosts occurs through
inhalation of the bacteria from aerosols. It is often found in cooling towers and colonizes
plumbing systems. An example of the aerosol route Legionella takes when infecting
humans is through the mist from showerheads.
Opportunistic pathogens are not normally a danger to persons in good health, but
they can cause sickness or death in those who are in a weakened condition. Particularly at
risk are newborns, the elderly, those who are immunocompromised, and persons who
already have a serious disease.
Included among the opportunistic bacteria are Pseudomonas, Aeromonas hydrophila,
Edwardsiella tarda, Flavobacterium, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Serratia, Proteus, Providen-
cia, Citrobacter, and Acinetobacter. These organisms are prevalent in the environment,
and with modern multibarrier treatment techniquesincluding improved coagulation
control, improvements in the type and construction of filters including membranes, addi-
tional types and combinations of disinfection, and improved monitoring of the treatment
process for particulate removalthe probability that they will be removed from the water
supply is greatly increased.
Viruses
Viruses are complex molecules that typically contain a protein coat surrounding a DNA or
ribonucleic acid (RNA) core of genetic material. Viruses have no independent metabolism and
depend on living cells for reproduction. They range in diameter from 10 to 25 nanometers (nm),
which is smaller than can be seen with an optical microscope.
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110 WATER QUALITY
Viruses can survive for varying periods of time in the environment outside of a
humans or an animals body, remaining alive in the presence of heat, drying, and chemical
agents. Some viruses are much more resistant than bacteria to chlorine in water, and the
adenoviruses are very resistant to ultraviolet light (UV).
Some types of viruses have caused acute epidemics of gastroenteritis. The waterborne
hepatitis A virus (HAV) is the source of some of the most serious health problems. HAV
causes infectious hepatitis, which can result in serious liver damage or death. The CDC
documented 23 outbreaks of disease caused by HAV between 1971 and 1985. Newly rec-
ognized viruses include noroviruses that cause rapid-onset diarrhea and vomiting; chil-
dren are particularly susceptible to the viruses.
Protozoa
The protozoan parasites of concern in drinking water are Giardia lamblia and Cryptosprid-
ium. Both parasites reproduce in the intestine of a susceptible host (humans or animals)
and shed environmentally resistant cysts (Giardia) or oocysts (Cryptosporidium) in their
feces. The cysts and oocysts can survive for long periods of time in the environment and
are fairly resistant to disinfection. Chlorine inactivates Giardia cysts, and the contact times
established in the Surface Water Treatment Rule are based on inactivation of this parasite.
Cryptosporidium is resistant to some chemical disinfectants but is very susceptible to UV,
which has become a widely accepted treatment for surface waters in the past decade for
this reason.
Giardia lamblia
Giardiasis is the most frequently diagnosed waterborne disease in the United States.
Symptoms include skin rash, flulike problems, diarrhea, fatigue, and severe cramps. The
symptoms may last anywhere from a few days to months. Sometimes there are periods of
remission when there are no symptoms, and then the illness recurs. The protozoan
attaches itself to the upper intestinal tract and produces cysts, which are shed in the
feces. Giardia cysts are relatively large, ranging between 8 and 18 m in length and
between 5 and 15 m in width.
One of the major reasons that giardiasis continues to be a problem is that the cysts
survive well under adverse conditions. They are highly resistant to chlorine and can live in
cold water for months. Three of the major hosts for Giardia cysts are humans, beaver, and
muskrat. Although water can be a major means of transmitting the disease, the largest
percentage of recorded cases is caused by person-to-person contact.
Cryptosporidium
Cryptosporidium is a parasite that has caused several outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis and
poses serious health risks. Sixteen species are currently recognized. Cryptosporidium par-
vum is found in humans and animals, while C. hominis is found only in humans.
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MICROBIOLOGICAL CONTAMINANTS 111
In healthy individuals, cryptosporidiosis is an infection that usually causes 7 to 14
days of diarrhea with possibly a low-grade fever, nausea, and abdominal cramps. The
effects on immunocompromised individuals can be life threatening. No antibiotic treat-
ment currently exists for cryptosporidiosis.
Oocysts averaging about 4 to 6 m in size may be found in all types of water, including
untreated surface water and filtered swimming-pool water. Outbreaks can be caused by
contamination of food and of water in swimming pools and sprinklers. The 1993 outbreak
in Milwaukee resulted in the deaths of 50 individuals, most of whom died of other diseases
related to their immunocompromised conditions or who were already suffering from an
underlying illness. An estimated 403,000 illnesses were attributed to this eventabout
two-thirds of the population served by the water system (Milwaukees population at the
time was about 617,000).
Prevention
Cryptosporidium infections are contracted by the ingestion of oocysts, and therefore effec-
tive control measures must aim to reduce or prevent oocyst transmission. Cryptosporidium
oocysts are resistant to the disinfectants used in most water treatment plants. Conven-
tional water treatment is effective at oocyst removal through coagulation and filtration.
Currently, UV light is the most effective treatment for inactivating oocysts.
INDICATOR ORGANISMS
The tests required to detect specific pathogens are still considered time intensive and
expensive, so it is impractical for water systems to routinely test for specific pathogens. A
more practical approach is to examine the water for indicator organisms specifically asso-
ciated with contamination. An indicator organism essentially provides evidence of fecal
contamination from humans or warm-blooded animals. The criteria for an ideal indicator
organism are that it should
always be present in contaminated water;
always be absent when fecal contamination is not present;
generally survive longer in water than pathogens;
be easy to identify.
The coliform group of bacteria has been used for 100 years as an indicator of drinking
water quality. These bacteria are generally not pathogenic, yet they may be present when
pathogens are present.
Coliform bacteria are easily detected in the laboratory. As a rule, where coliforms are
found in water, it is assumed that pathogens may also be present, making the water bacte-
riologically unsafe to drink. If coliform bacteria are absent, the water is assumed safe.
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112 WATER QUALITY
Many methods exist for determining the presence of coliform bacteria in a water sam-
ple, including the multiple-tube fermentation (MTF) method, the presenceabsence (PA)
method, the MMOMUG method, and the membrane filter (MF) method. Detailed
descriptions of the analytical procedures for these tests can be found in the latest edition
of Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater.
Coliform Analyses
The detection of coliform bacteria in a water sample by any of the four analytical tech-
niques is a warning of possible contamination. One positive test does not conclusively
prove contamination, however, and additional tests must be conducted. Samples are often
contaminated by improper sampling technique, improperly sterilized bottles, and labora-
tory error. Regulatory agencies recognize this fact, and drinking water regulations require
check or repeat sampling after findings that show a positive test for coliform in a sample.
Drinking water regulations and maximum contaminant levels for coliform bacteria are
discussed in chapter 1.
Sampling
Sterile containers must be used for all samples collected for bacteriological analysis. The
same sampling procedures should be used for coliform analysis and heterotrophic plate
count (HPC) analysis (refer to chapter 2). See Table 4-2.
Test Methods
The MTF and PA tests are designed on the principle that coliform bacteria produce gas
from the fermentation of lactose within 24 to 48 hours when incubated at 35C. Although
the bacteria themselves cannot be seen, their presence is signified by the gas that is formed
and trapped in an inverted vial in the fermentation tube.
Multiple-tube fermentation method
The MTF test (Figure 4-1) progresses through three distinct steps:
1. Presumptive test
2. Confirmed test
3. Completed test
Presumptive test. The presumptive test is the first step of the analysis. Samples are
normally pipetted into tubes containing a culture medium (lauryl tryptose broth [LTB])
with inverted filed vials containing the media in the tubes. The samples are incubated for
24 hours and then checked to see if gas has formed in the inner vial and cloudiness has
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MICROBIOLOGICAL CONTAMINANTS 113
(continued)
TABLE 4-2 Total coliform sampling requirements, according to population served
Population Served
Minimum Number of Routine Samples per Month
*
15 to 1,000

1,001 to 2,500 2
2,501 to 3,300 3
3,301 to 4,100 4
4,101 to 4,900 5
4,901 to 5,800 6
5,801 to 6,700 7
6,701 to 7,600 8
7,601 to 8,500 9
8,501 to 12,900 10
12,901 to 17,200 15
17,201 to 21,500 20
21,501 to 25,000 25
25,001 to 33,000 30
33,001 to 41,000 40
41,001 to 50,000 50
50,001 to 59,000 60
59,001 to 70,000 70
70,001 to 83,000 80
83,001 to 96,000 90
96,001 to 130,000 100
130,001 to 220,000 120
220,001 to 320,000 150
320,001 to 450,000 180
WaterQuality.book Page 113 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
114 WATER QUALITY
developed in the broth. If neither is the case, they are incubated for 24 hours more and
checked again.
If coliform bacteria are present in the water, the gas they produce will begin to form a
bubble in each inverted vial within the 48-hour period; this is called a positive sample or
reported as presence. If no gas forms, the sample is called negative or reported as absence.
If gas is produced after either the 24-hour or the 48-hour incubation period, the sample
must undergo the confirmed test.
450,001 to 600,000 210
600,001 to 780,000 240
780,001 to 970,000 270
970,001 to 1,230,000 300
1,230,001 to 1,520,000 330
1,520,001 to 1,850,000 360
1,850,001 to 2,270,000 390
2,270,001 to 3,020,000 420
3,020,001 to 3,960,000 450
3,960,001 or more 480
Source: Water Quality and Treatment (1999).
* In lieu of the frequency specified in this table, a noncommunity water system using groundwater and serving
1,000 persons or fewer may monitor at a lesser frequency specified by the state until a sanitary survey is con-
ducted and the state reviews the results. Thereafter, noncommunity water systems using groundwater and serv-
ing 1,000 persons or fewer must monitor in each calendar quarter during which the system provides water to
the public, unless the state determines that some other frequency is more appropriate and notifies the system
in writing. Five years after promulgation of the Total Coliform Rule (TCR), noncommunity water systems
using groundwater and serving 1,000 persons or fewer must monitor at least once per year.
Includes public water systems that have at least 15 service connections but serve fewer than 25 persons.
For a community water system serving 25 to 1,000 persons, the state may reduce this sampling frequency if a
sanitary survey conducted in the last 5 years indicates that the water system is supplied solely by a protected
groundwater source and is free of sanitary defects. However, in no case may the state reduce the sampling fre-
quency to less than once per quarter.
TABLE 4-2 Total coliform sampling requirements, according to population served (Continued)
Population Served
Minimum Number of Routine Samples per Month
*
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MICROBIOLOGICAL CONTAMINANTS 115
Confirmed test. The confirmed test is more selective for coliform bacteria. This test
increases the likelihood that positive results obtained in the presumptive test are caused by
coliform bacteria and not other kinds of bacteria. Cultures from the positive samples in
the presumptive test are transferred to brilliant green lactose bile (BGB) broth and incu-
bated. If no gas has been produced after 48 hours of incubation, the test is negative and no
coliform bacteria are present. If gas is produced, the test is positive, indicating the pres-
ence of coliform bacteria.
Bacteriological testing of most public water supplies stops after the confirmed test.
This is the minimum testing that all samples must undergo when the MTF method is
used. To check its procedures, the laboratory should conduct the completed test on at
least 10 percent of the positive tubes from the confirmed test.
Completed test. The completed test is used to definitely establish the presence of coli-
form bacteria for quality control purposes. A sample from the positive confirmed test is
placed on an eosin methylene blue (EMB) agar plate and incubated. A coliform colony
will form on each EMB plate.
A small portion of the coliform colony is transferred to a growth medium and
incubated for 18 to 24 hours. A second portion is transferred to an LTB and incubated
for 24 to 48 hours. The completed test is positive if (1) gas is produced in the LTB and
(2) red-stained, nonsporeforming, rod-shaped bacteria are found. If no gas is produced in
the LTB or if red-stained, chainlike cocci or blue-stained, rod-shaped bacteria are found
on the agar, the test is negative. Figure 4-2 provides a summary of the MTF method. (The
bacteria are not visible to the human eye. A microscope is needed to read the plates and
determine the bacteria type.)
FIGURE 4-1 Typical multiple-tube fermentation setup
Source: Opflow
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116 WATER QUALITY
FIGURE 4-2 Summary of the multiple-tube fermentation method
A. Presumptive test
B. Confirmed test
C. Completed test
Add water samples to five tubes containing inverted vials and
LTB and incubate 24 hours.
Gas produced.
Positive presumptive test.
No gas produced.
Incubate an additional 24 hours.
Gas produced.
Positive presumptive test.
No gas produced.
Negative presumptive test.
Coliform group absent.
Transfer portion of positive culture to BGB broth and incubate 48 hours.
Gas produced.
Positive confirmed test.
Coliform group present.
No gas produced.
Coliform group absent.
Transfer portion of positive culture to EMB agar plate
and incubate 24 hours.
Transfer small amount of
coliform colony from EMB plate
to nutrient agar slant and to
LTB and incubate both.
No gas produced.
Red-stained cocci or blue-stained,
rod-shaped bacteria found.
Negative completed test.
Gas produced.
Red-stained, nonsporeforming,
rod-shaped bacteria found.
Positive completed test.
WaterQuality.book Page 116 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
MICROBIOLOGICAL CONTAMINANTS 117
Presenceabsence test
The PA test is a simple modification of the MTF method. It is intended for use on routine
samples collected from a distribution system or water treatment plant. A 100-mL portion
of the sample is inoculated into a 250-mL milk dilution bottle containing special PA
media and a small inverted tube. The sample is then incubated at 35C for 24 and 48 hours.
The presence of total coliforms is indicated by the purple PA medium turning yellow
(indicating acid production) and by the formation of gas in the medium. All yellow and
gas-producing samples from this presumptive stage must then be confirmed as described
for the MTF-confirmed step using BGB tubes. Gas production indicates the presence of
total coliforms and must be reported as a positive sample (presence) in the monthly report
to the primacy agency.
Samples confirmed for total coliforms must also be analyzed for either fecal coliforms
or E. coli. A check or repeat sample must also be collected and analyzed. If the check/repeat
sample is positive this can result in an acute violation of the Total Coliform Rule (TCR) and
must be reported to the primacy agency within 24 hours after results become known.
Fecal coliform procedure. If the MTF or PA method is being used, as the presump-
tive positive samples are being inoculated into the BGB broth, 0.1 mL of the presumptive
broth is also transferred into an EC broth tube. (The actual name of the broth is EC and is
a test for Escherichia coli.) If the membrane filter method is used, bacterial growth is
transferred into an EC tube. This tube is then incubated for 24 hours in a water bath at
44.5C. The presence of gas in the tube confirms the presence of fecal coliforms.
E. coli procedure. The presence of E. coli can be determined using the MUG test dis-
cussed in the next section. A 0.l-mL portion of the presumptive media or a swab is used to
transfer a sample from a membrane filter into an ECMUG tube. A tube that fluoresces
under a long-wave UV light is confirmation for E. coli.
MMOMUG technique
The MMOMUG technique was approved by USEPA shortly after promulgation of the
TCR. MMO and MUG are acronyms for the constituents in the medium used in the tests.
MMO represents minimal media with ONPG (ONPG stands for ortho-nitrophenyl-beta-D-
galactopyranoside). E. coli produce a specific enzyme that reacts with ONPG to give a yel-
low color. MUG stands for 4-methylumbelliferyl-beta-D-glucuronide. Only E. coli produce
an enzyme that reacts with MUG. Therefore, a medium containing MMO and MUG can be
used to identify both total coliforms and E. coli in a single-sample inoculation.
Two procedures may be used. In the ten-tube procedure, ten tubes are purchased with
the medium already in them. A 10-mL portion of sample is transferred into each tube and
incubated at 35C for 24 hours. In the PA procedure, the medium is purchased in vials.
The medium is transferred into a bottle containing 100 mL of sample, is mixed, and is
incubated as in the ten-tube procedure. If total coliforms are present in either procedure,
WaterQuality.book Page 117 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
118 WATER QUALITY
the medium will turn yellow. If E. coli are present, the medium will also fluoresce blue
under a UV light.
Membrane filter method
The MF method of coliform testing begins with the filtering of 100 mL of sample under a
vacuum through a membrane filter. The filter is then placed in a sterile container/petri
dish (Figure 4-3) and incubated in contact with a selective culture medium.
A coliform bacteria colony will develop at each point on the filter where a viable coli-
form bacterium was left during filtration. After a 24-hour incubation period, the number
of colonies is counted (Figure 4-4).
A typical coliform colony on M-Endo media is pink to dark red with a distinctive
green metallic surface sheen. All organisms producing such colonies within 24 hours are
considered presumptive coliforms. For confirmation, representative colonies are inocu-
lated into LTB and BGB broth.
The USEPA is revising the TCR, and the proposed new rule will use E. coli as the
indicator for fecal contamination. Total coliform will be used as an indicator that there
may be a problem in the system and will trigger a system investigation.
Alternate methods
Other methods for coliform and E. coli detection are being developed using a combina-
tion of enzymes, -glucuronidase, and -galactosidase in combination with ONPG and
MUG. In tests that are positive for coliform, a yellow substance is produced that fluo-
resces at 366 nm UV after a 242-hr incubation at 35.0C 0.5C. There are various
methods of determination, from just adding the water sample to a test bottle containing
the media and incubating, to pouring the water sample into a tray containing the detec-
tion media with volumetric cells for counting, similar to the MPN method. The method
has been approved for use by USEPA but may need to be confirmed with the drinking
water primacy agency for your area.
HETEROTROPHIC PLATE COUNT (HPC) PROCEDURE
The HPC procedure is a way to estimate the population of bacteria in water. The test
determines the total number of bacteria in a sample that grows under specific conditions
in a selected medium.
Uses of the HPC Procedure
No single food supply, incubation temperature, and moisture condition suits every type of
bacteria being tested for, so a standardized procedure must be used to obtain consistent
and comparable results. The procedure therefore generally permits only a fraction of the
total population to be cultured. Often the number of HPC colonies is orders of magnitude
lower than the total population present.
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MICROBIOLOGICAL CONTAMINANTS 119
Plate-count tests are sensitive to changes in raw-water quality and are useful for judg-
ing the efficiency of various treatment processes in removing bacteria. For example, if a
plate count is higher after filtration than before filtration, there may be bacterial growth on
or in the filters. The problem would probably not show up during routine coliform analysis.
It is also common for water leaving a treatment plant to have a low bacterial population
but for the population to have greatly increased by the time the water reaches the consumer.
FIGURE 4-3 Placement of membrane on pad soaked with culture medium
FIGURE 4-4 Membrane filter after incubation with positive growth colonies
WaterQuality.book Page 119 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
120 WATER QUALITY
This occurrence is caused by bacterial aftergrowth (regrowth)bacteria reproducing in the
distribution system. Standard plate-count determinations may indicate whether this prob-
lem exists. Bacterial aftergrowth can generally result from water becoming stagnant in the
dead ends in the system, inadequate chlorination, or recontamination of the water after
chlorination.
Performing the HPC Procedure
The HPC is performed by placing diluted water samples on plate-count agar. The samples are
incubated for 48 to 72 hours. Bacteria occur singly, in pairs, in chains, and in clusters. The bac-
teria colonies that grow on the agar are counted using colony-counting equipment. Detailed
procedures are described in the latest edition of Standard Methods. These procedures must be
closely followed to provide reliable data for water quality control measurements.
Properly treated water should have an HPC of less than 500 colonies per milliliter.
Higher counts indicate an operational problem that should be investigated.
SELECTED SUPPLEMENTARY READINGS
Craun, M.F., Craun, G.F., Calderon, R.L., and Beach, M.J. 2006. Waterborne
Outbreaks Reported in the United States. Jour. Water and Health, 04 Suppl 2. London:
IWA Publishing.
Edberg, S.C., F. Ludwig, and D.B. Smith. 1991. The Colilert

System for Total Coliforms


and Escherichia coli. Denver, CO: American Water Works Association Research
Foundation and American Water Works Association.
Embrey, M.A., R.T. Parkin, J.M. Balbus, and George Washington University School of
Public Health and Health Services. 2002. Handbook of CCL Microbes in Drinking
Water. Denver, CO: American Water Works Association.
Hill, D.R. 2006. Basic Microbiology for Drinking Water Personnel, 2nd Edition. Denver,
CO: American Water Works Association.
LeChevallier, M.W., W.D. Norton, R.G. Lee, and J.B. Rose. 1991. Giardia and
Cryptosporidium in Water Supplies. Denver, CO: American Water Works Association
Research Foundation and American Water Works Association.
Leland, D.E., J. McAnulty, W. Keene, and G. Stevens. 1993. A Cryptosporidiosis
Outbreak in a Filtered-Water Supply. Jour. AWWA, 85(5):34.
Manual M12, Simplified Procedures for Water Examination. 2001. Denver, CO:
American Water Works Association.
Manual M48, Waterborne Pathogens. 2006. Denver, CO: American Water Works
Association.
Manual M57, Algae. 2010. Denver, CO: American Water Works Association.
WaterQuality.book Page 120 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
MICROBIOLOGICAL CONTAMINANTS 121
Manual of Instruction for Water Treatment Plant Operators. 1991. Albany, N.Y.: New
York State Department of Health.
Manual of Water Utility Operations. 8th ed. 1988. Austin, Texas: Texas Water Utilities
Association.
Miller, K.J. 1994. Protecting Customers From Cryptosporidium. Jour. AWWA, 86(12):8.
Moore, A.C., B.L. Herwaldt, G.F. Craun, R.L. Calderon, A.K. Highsmith, and D.D.
Juranek. 1994. Waterborne Disease in the United States, 1991 and 1992. Jour. AWWA,
86(2):87.
Pontius, F.W. 1990. Rule Changes Way Systems Will Look at Coliform. Opflow,
16(12):1.
. 1993. Protecting the Public Against Cryptosporidium. Jour. AWWA, 85(8):18.
Rochelle, P.and J. Clancey. 2006. The Evolution of Microbiology in the Drinking Water
Industry. Journ. AWWA, 98(3):163191.
Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. 21st ed. 2005.
Washington, D.C.: American Public Health Association, American Water Works
Association, and Water Environment Federation.
Water Quality and Treatment. 6th ed. 2010. New York: McGraw-Hill and American
Water Works Association (available from AWWA).
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123
C H A P T E R 5
Physical and Aggregate
Properties of Water
This chapter describes the physical properties of water. It coincides with Standard Meth-
ods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater, 21st edition (2005).
Physical testing of drinking water measures the physical properties of the water as dis-
tinguished from chemical or biological contaminants.
Several physical tests are either required by regulations or necessary for control of the
water treatment processes. Water systems using surface water sources perform physical
tests frequently because of changing water quality. Groundwater quality generally fluctu-
ates slowly or infrequently and so most physical, chemical and microbiological testing of
groundwater is performed periodically but less frequently. Tests ensure that optimum
treatment is provided and that the finished water meets state and federal standards.
ACIDITY
The definition of acidity is base neutralizing power. There are two types of acidity: phenol-
phthalein acidity (CO
2
acidity), which is prevalent above pH 4.3, and mineral acid acidity,
which tends to be in the lower pH ranges. Phosphoric acid, hydrochloric acid, and sulfuric
acid are all mineral acids. Acidity and alkalinity exist in the water at the normal pH levels
found in water since the existence of basic molecules such as negative ions does not
exclude the existence of the acid type of molecule positive ions.
Methods of Measurement
Mineral acids are measured by titration to a pH of 4.3 using methyl orange as an indicator
(orange on the alkaline side to salmon pink on the acid side). Mineral acidity plus acidity
caused by weak acids (e.g., carbonic acid) is measured by titration of the sample to the
phenolphthalein end point (pH 8.3). This is called total acidity or phenolphthalein acidity.
Phenolphthalein is colorless at a pH less than 8.3 and pink or red above pH 8.3.
To a theoretical chemist, a pH of 7 is considered neutral. To a water chemist, though,
who wants to know how much free or combined CO
2
is present and how much total alka-
linity is present, a pH of 7 has less meaning. The water chemist is interested in what makes
up the pH and how much buffering exists.
Significance
Acidity plays a more important role in industrial water applications, especially in neutral-
ization reactions. In drinking water, acids are associated with corrosive environments.
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124 WATER QUALITY
Chemical reaction rates are influenced by acidity. Acids are used in the regeneration of
ion-exchange systems. They are also used to lower the pH of water treated by nanofiltra-
tion and reverse osmosis membranes.
ALKALINITY
The definition of alkalinity is acid neutralizing power (see Table 5-1).
Types
Phenolphthalein alkalinity (P alkalinity) has a pH end point of 8.3. Methyl orange or
total alkalinity (MO alkalinity) has a pH end point of 4.3 and is directly related to the
amount of hydroxide (OH), carbonate (CO
3
), or bicarbonate (HCO
3
) alkalinity present.
More specifically, when water samples have a pH above 10, hydroxide anions (OH

)
are the primary constituent of the pH-causing ions. Titration with strong acid is complete
at the phenolphthalein end point (8.3). Hydroxide alkalinity is equal to phenolphthalein
alkalinity.
In water samples with a pH of 8.3 or higher, carbonate ions are the primary alkalinity
component. Titration to phenolphthalein end point is exactly one-half of total titration to
pH 4.3. Carbonate alkalinity equals total alkalinity.
If only hydroxide-carbonate is present, water samples will have a high pH, usually well
above 10. Titration from pH 8.3 to 4.3 represents one-half of carbonate alkalinity.
If only carbonate-bicarbonate is present, water samples will have a pH greater than
8.3 and less than 11. Titration to pH 8.3 represents one-half of carbonate alkalinity.
If only bicarbonate is present, water samples will have a pH of 8.3 or less (usually
less). Bicarbonate alkalinity equals total alkalinity.
TABLE 5-1 Alkalinity relationships
Result of Titration
Hydroxide
Alkalinity
Carbonate
Alkalinity
Bicarbonate
Alkalinity
P
*
= 0
* P = phenolphthalein
0 0 MO
P < MO

MO = methyl orange
0 2P MO 2P
P = MO 0 2P 0
P > MO 2P MO 2 (MO P) 0
P MO MO 0 0
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PHYSICAL AND AGGREGATE PROPERTIES OF WATER 125
CALCIUM CARBONATE STABILITY
The principal scale-forming substance in water is calcium carbonate (CaCO
3
)
.
Water is
considered stable when it will neither dissolve nor deposit calcium carbonate. This point is
referred to as the calcium carbonate stability or equilibrium point. The reactions and
behavior of calcium carbonate and calcium bicarbonate are therefore important in water
supplies. The actual amount of calcium carbonate that will remain in solution in water
depends on several characteristics of the water: calcium content, alkalinity, pH, tempera-
ture, and total dissolved solids (TDS).
Significance
Scale formation can cause serious problems in water distribution mains and household
plumbing systems by restricting flow, plugging valves, and fouling water heaters and boil-
ers. Corrosion can cause premature pipe or equipment failure. Public health and aesthetic
problems can also result if water is corrosive, because pipe materials (e.g., lead, cadmium,
and iron) will dissolve into the water.
Several methods can be used to determine the calcium carbonate stability of water. A
popular method is the Langelier Saturation Index (LSI). The LSI is equal to the measured
pH (of the water) minus the pH
s
(saturation). The pH
s
is the theoretical pH at which cal-
cium carbonate will neither dissolve into nor precipitate from water. Water at the pH
s
is
considered stable. Therefore, if pH pH
s
= 0, the water is in equilibrium and will neither
dissolve calcium carbonate nor deposit it on the pipes.
If pH pH
s
> 0 (positive value), the water is not in equilibrium and will tend to
deposit calcium carbonate on mains and other piping surfaces. If pH pH
s
< 0 (negative
value), the water is also not in equilibrium and will tend to dissolve the calcium carbonate
it contacts; no coating will be deposited on the distribution pipes, and if the pipes are not
protected, they may corrode.
The calcium carbonate stability of water is maintained in the distribution system by
adjusting the LSI of the water to a slightly positive value so that a slight deposit of cal-
cium carbonate will be maintained on pipe walls. Adjustment is usually made by adding
lime, soda ash, or caustic soda.
Indices other than the LSI use alkalinity as part of the equation or method to deter-
mine the stability of the water, especially its corrosiveness. One is the marble test, in which
calcium carbonate (limestone) CaCO
3
is dissolved in the water sample and the initial alka-
linity is compared with the final alkalinity. The Ryzner Index is used to perform a similar
calculation to the LSI; it indicates the corrosiveness of the water compared to the pH
s
.
Alkalinity is also important in determining how effectively the water reacts with coag-
ulants for plant treatment. The alkalinity ions acts as a reservoir of molecules that are
available to react with coagulants or other chemicals such as disinfectant to reduce the pH
change to the water which these chemical may affect, this effect is known as the buffering
capacity. Low-alkalinity waters have less buffering capacity and can produce less floc or
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126 WATER QUALITY
weak floc without the addition of chemicals to increase the buffering capacity of the
water. This is because many coagulants are acidic compounds.
Sampling
If calcium carbonate stability maintenance is used for corrosion control, finished water at
the treatment plant and in the distribution system should be evaluated routinely for cal-
cium carbonate stability. Evaluation is particularly important when treatment plant unit
processes or chemical doses are changed. If the LSI indicates unfavorable conditions, pro-
cess adjustments should be made. It is very important to remember that the LSI is only an
indicator of stability; it is not an exact measure of corrosivity or of calcium carbonate
deposition. The LSI is developed from results of alkalinity, pH, temperature, calcium con-
tent, and TDS (dissolved residue) monitoring.
Methods of Determination
If the temperature, TDS, calcium content, and alkalinity of the water are known, the pH
s
can be calculated. The following equation may be used:
pH
s
= A + B log (Ca
+2
) log (alkalinity)
In the equation, A and B are constants, and calcium and alkalinity values are expressed in
terms of milligrams per liter as calcium carbonate equivalents.Table 5-2 and 5-3 are used
to determine the values of the constants and logarithms.
The actual pH of the water is measured directly with a pH meter, and the LSI is calcu-
lated using the formula LSI = pH pH
s
.
Example:
A sample of water has the following characteristics:
Determine the saturation index, LSI:
An LSI of +1.4 indicates that this water is scale forming.
Ca
+2
=
300 mg/L as CaCO
3
Alkalinity =
200 mg/L as CaCO
3
Temperature = 16C
Dissolved residue = 600 mg/L
pH = 8.7
pH
s
=
A + B log (Ca
+2
) log (alkalinity)
pH
s
= 2.20 + 9.88 2.48 2.30
pH
s
= 7.3
LSI = 8.7 7.3 = +1.4
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PHYSICAL AND AGGREGATE PROPERTIES OF WATER 127
COAGULANT EFFECTIVENESS
The removal of suspended solids from surface water is necessary both to make the water
aesthetically pleasing to customers and to assist in the elimination of pathogenic organ-
isms. The Surface Water Treatment Rule (SWTR), the Total Coliform Rule (TCR), and
the Disinfectants Disinfection By-Products Rule (D/DBP) require more complete removal
of turbidity and dissolved organics than was previously practiced by most water systems.
This requirement in turn demands more efficient coagulation, flocculation, and sedimen-
tation. Effective coagulation is also a tool in removing organic chemical precursors from
the raw water.
TABLE 5-2 Constant A as a function of water temperature
Water Temperature, C A
0 2.60
4 2.50
8 2.40
12 2.30
16 2.20
20 2.10
TABLE 5-3 Constant B as function of total dissolved solids
Total Dissolved Solids, mg/L B
0 9.70
100 9.77
200 9.83
400 9.86
800 9.89
1,000 9.90
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128 WATER QUALITY
Significance
Coagulation and flocculation involve the addition of chemical coagulants such as aluminum
sulfate, ferric chloride, or polyelectrolytes to raw water to hasten the settling of suspended
matter. Plant operation is most efficient when the lowest turbidity is obtained in finished
water with the lowest cost for coagulant chemicals. Several laboratory tests can provide the
information necessary to accomplish this goal. These tests allow operators to select optimal
chemical dosages in the laboratory rather than using trial and error in the plant.
The tests can also be used to check the adequacy of flash mixing or flocculation mix-
ing in the plant. Test results may indicate when to improve or modify flash mixers and
flocculation basins to obtain more efficient operation. These treatment processes are
explained in detail in Water Treatment, another text in this series.
When coagulants are evaluated, the goal is to identify the one coagulant (or combina-
tion of coagulant and coagulant aids) that will produce low turbidity with the least expen-
sive dose of chemicals. Chemical prices must also be evaluated, because a low dose of an
expensive chemical may be more cost effective than a high dose of an inexpensive chemi-
cal. One must also consider the cost and ease of disposal of the coagulant and the contam-
inants removed in the process.
Sampling
Where the samples are collected for analysis depends on the procedure being used and the
information desired from the test. The tests should be conducted whenever there is a sig-
nificant change in water quality or when other conditions may require a change in coagu-
lant dose.
Methods of Determination
The following methods are commonly used to determine optimum coagulant effectiveness:
Jar test
Zeta potential detector
Streaming current detector (SCD)
Particle counting
Jar test
The jar test is readily available to most operators and has been commonly used for many
years. There is no standard procedure for conducting the jar test, nor is there standard test
equipment that must be used. A typical procedure for conducting a jar test is provided in
American Water Works Association (AWWA) Manual M12, Simplified Procedures for
Water Examination.
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PHYSICAL AND AGGREGATE PROPERTIES OF WATER 129
Briefly, the procedure is to collect a sample of the raw water and add progressively
larger doses of the coagulant chemical being tested to several jars of the sample. The test
should be run as quickly as possible after the sample has been collected because a change in
water temperature can have a significant effect on the results. Actual plant conditions of
flash-mixing speed and time, flocculation time, and settling time are then simulated in the
jars.
Visual observation of the floc and turbidity readings of the settled water in the jars
provide the data necessary to make determinations. The types of equipment available for
performing jar tests ranges from simple hand-shaken jars to computer-controlled testing
devices. A motor-driven jar test device is pictured in Figure 3-18 in chapter 3.
Figure 5-1 illustrates typical jar test results from a water supply in which alum is used
as a coagulant. The data show that the benefit of the coagulant decreases with doses larger
than 35 mg/L for turbidity removal. In other words, beyond that dose a very large increase
in the amount of chemical is required to produce a small increase in turbidity removal.
Therefore, 35 mg/L should be considered the optimal dose for alum alone for the water
tested for turbidity removal. Additional coagulant may be required to obtain the neces-
sary total organic carbon (TOC) removal as required by the D/DBP.
Zeta potential
Coagulation and flocculation are an electrochemical process in which the electrical resis-
tance between the suspended particles (colloids) in the water is lowered to the point that
they will adhere to each other and settle out as a heavy floc.
FIGURE 5-1 Typical jar test results
30
20
10
T
u
r
b
i
d
i
t
y
,

n
t
u
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
Chemical Dose, mg/L Aluminum Sulfate
Optimum Coagulant Dosage 35 mg/L
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130 WATER QUALITY
In many water plants, technicians use a zeta meter to assist in evaluating the effective-
ness of coagulant doses. Zeta potential may be viewed as the electrical charge on a sus-
pended particle that allows it to repulse other particles and thus stay suspended. The type
and amount of coagulant added reduces the zeta potential, and a zeta meter measures this
potential. The closer the reading is to zero, the more the particles tend to settle, thus indi-
cating more effective coagulation.
Normally, the zeta meter is not an on-line instrument. Samples may be collected at
various points in the treatment process to determine coagulant effectiveness, or various
coagulant doses may be tested on the raw water in bench-scale experiments. Trained per-
sonnel are necessary to operate the zeta meter and interpret the data it produces.
Streaming current detector
A streaming current detector (SCD; Figure 5-2) is an on-line continuous-monitoring
device based on the same electromotive principle as is the zeta meter. The detector mea-
sures the effectiveness of the coagulant chemical by determining the level of electrical
resistance in the treated water after chemical application.
The advantage of having a continuous-monitoring device is that it allows the operator
to evaluate changes in the chemical doses as changes in raw-water quality occur. A major
concern in installing an SCD is the maintenance (cleaning) of the electrodes and the cali-
bration of the meter to ensure accurate readings. Another advantage of the SCD is that it
can be used to automatically control coagulant dose by connecting the output signal from
the SCD to a coagulant feed pump. Location of the sample point for on-line control is
critical in that, for best results, the sample must be thoroughly mixed and representative of
the treatment process before it enters the instrument.
FIGURE 5-2 Streaming current monitor with remote sensor
Courtesy of Chemtrac Systems, Inc.
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PHYSICAL AND AGGREGATE PROPERTIES OF WATER 131
Particle counting
Instruments are available that enumerate the concentration of particles in a water supply by
size. (Figure 5-3). These instruments, known as particle counters, combine particle detec-
tion technology with electronic counting technology. A sensor detects the particle and con-
verts the information to an electronic signal that is used by the electronic counter.
Particle counters and turbidimeters are similar in that both use a fixed light source to
interact with the particles in water. Turbidimeters use light scattering. Particle counters
use the principle of light blocking. As was mentioned in chapter 3, particles that do not
reflect light and are not detected by a turbidimeter can be counted by a particle counter.
Particle counters and turbidimeters are different in that particle counters provide a
quantitative measurement, and turbidimeters provide a qualitative measurement. Particle
sensors count individual particles according to their size; turbidimeters do not. Particle
counters cannot count particles below a given size. Turbidimeters have the ability to detect
smaller particles. Even though the particle counter can tell you the size and number of the
particles, it cannot yet tell you what that object is.
Particle counting has been a technique in use for the past decade or longer for moni-
toring filter performance in regard to filter breakthrough and coagulation efficiency, and
FIGURE 5-3 Liquid particle monitor with remote sensor
Courtesy of Chemtrac Systems, Inc.
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132 WATER QUALITY
it is useful in monitoring pathogen removal. It is used for membrane filtrations equipment
in combination with the pressure hold test to monitor membrane integrity. As was noted
in chapter 4, the sizes of cysts and oocysts of the pathogens Giardia and Cryptosporidium
are in the micrometer range easily detected by the particle counter. Reducing the number
of particles to above the range of 45 m in the finished water should greatly reduce any
occurrence of these organisms.
As water quality regulations prescribe lower and lower contaminant levels, water
treatment plant operators will increasingly have to depend on sophisticated control tech-
niques such as particle counting for process control.
COLOR
Color in water may result from the presence of minerals, inorganic chemicals, metals (e.g.,
iron and manganese), the decomposition of organic matter from soils, aquatic organisms
and vegetation. A problem in surface waters, some groundwaters containing iron or man-
ganese and dissolved organic matter can also have significant color levels.
Color in water is classified as either true color or apparent color. True color is defined
as the color of water from which turbidity has been removed. Apparent color includes true
color and color caused by suspended matter.
Color in the yellow to brown range is determined by a visual comparison of the sam-
ple with either a known colored chemical solution or a calibrated color disk.
The unit of measurement is the color unit. Color units are the estimated color of a
diluted sample times 50, divided by the milliliters of sample taken for dilution. For fin-
ished waters, some pristine surface water supplies, or groundwater, the sample normally
would not have to be diluted and could be estimated directly without any division. Thus, a
50-mL sample with a low color of 1 would have a result of 1 color unit. Color is reported
in whole numbers from 1 to 500. Sample pH is always reported with the color units.
Other colors in the water, such as blue or red, have other causes and are not assigned a
numerical value. They may be listed as to their intensity or shade (e.g., light blue, aqua, pink).
Significance
Color in drinking water should be removed to produce a pleasing, acceptable appearance.
The color of a drinking water affects consumers acceptance. Consumers expect a color-
less product and will reject colored water; they may change to another source of water
even if the other source is less safe. Color may also indicate high levels of organic com-
pounds, which may produce high levels of trihalomethanes (THMs) and other DBPs on
contact with chlorine or other disinfectants.
Color data from raw- and finished-water sample points comprise one indicator of the
efficiency of the treatment plants processes.
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PHYSICAL AND AGGREGATE PROPERTIES OF WATER 133
Sampling
Samples collected should represent raw water, finished water, and distribution system
water, and should include water pH at the point of sampling. Sampling in surface water
systems is especially important.
Methods of Determination
The platinumcobalt method is the preferred method for color analysis. It is useful for
measuring color derived from naturally occurring materials, but it is not applicable to
color measurement of waters containing highly colored industrial wastes.
CONDUCTIVITY
Conductivity (specific conductance) is a measure of the ability of an aqueous solution to
carry an electric current. This ability depends on the presence of ions; on their total con-
centration, mobility, and valence; and on the temperature of measurement. Solutions of
most inorganic compounds are relatively good conductors. Conversely, molecules of
organic compounds that do not dissociate in aqueous solution conduct a current very
poorly, if at all.
The units for conductivity are the inverse of unit of resistance (ohm) or(1/ohm-m) or
mho (pronounced like Moe) per centimeter. In Systme International (SI) units, con-
ductivity is reported as millisiemens per meter (ms/m). To report results in SI units, divide
mho/cm by 10.
Conductivity (specific conductance) is a measure of the ionic strength of a solution.
Conductivity is a required water quality parameter of the Lead and Copper Rule. The
conductivity of potable waters in the United States ranges from 50 to 1,500 mhos/cm or
(s) (siemens).
Significance
Conductivity is a general parameter that assists the analyst in evaluating many aspects of
water quality. In the laboratory, conductivity measurements are used to
establish the degree of mineralization of a water to assess the effect of the total con-
centration of ions, which is particularly relevant to corrosion rates;
evaluate variations in the concentration of dissolved minerals in a water source;
estimate the concentrations of TDS in water supplied to a distribution system or from
points in the system;
approximate the milliequivalents per liter of either cations or anions in a water sample.
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134 WATER QUALITY
Sampling
A 50-mL aliquot of sample for conductivity measurements may be taken from an unpre-
served sample collected from a regularly used bacteriological sample point or from a sam-
ple collected at the entry point to the distribution system. The sample should be preserved
by cooling it to 39F (4C) until it is analyzed.
The sample should also be protected from exposure to the atmosphere, since the water
could desorb or adsorb gases (e.g., ammonia and carbon dioxide) that could dissolve in an
ionic state. This development would affect conductivity.
Methods of Determination
Laboratories analyzing a sample for conductivity may not have to be certified, but a
method approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) must be used if
the results are to be reported to the state for the Lead and Copper Rule.
An approved method uses a self-contained conductivity instrument with conductivity
cells containing either platinum or nonplatinum electrodes. Procedures for running the
test may be found in Standard Methods or Methods of Chemical Analyses of Water and
Wastes from USEPA. Conductivity measurements may be taken in the field.
HARDNESS
Hardness is a measure of the concentration of calcium and magnesium salts, which are
generally present in water as bicarbonate salts. Water hardness is derived largely from the
water contacting soil and rock formations. Hard waters usually occur where the topsoil is
thick and contains minerals and metals that will dissolve and where limestone formations
are present. Soft waters occur where soil is sandy, the topsoil layer is thin, and limestone
formations are sparse or absent. Another mineral in the soil, gypsum or calcium sulfate
(CaSO
4
), can also contribute to hardness.
Significance
Hard and soft waters are both satisfactory for human consumption. However, consumers
may object to hard water because it causes scale to form in household plumbing fixtures
and on cooking utensils. Hardness is also a problem for industrial and commercial users
because of scale buildup in boilers and other equipment.
According to the National Research Council,(National Academy of Sciences) water
with <75 mg/L as calcium carbonate (CaCO
3
) of hardness is considered soft water. Other
organizations say that water below about 100 mg/L of CaCO
3
is soft, between 100 and
about 175 mg/L of CaCO
3
is moderately hard, and over 175 mg/L CaCO
3
is considered
hard. Water that is most satisfactory for household use contains about 75 to 100 mg/L as
CaCO
3
. Waters with 300 mg/L as CaCO
3
are generally considered too hard. When water
is softened in a water treatment plant, it is either partially softened or blended to result in
WaterQuality.book Page 134 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
PHYSICAL AND AGGREGATE PROPERTIES OF WATER 135
a hardness concentration between 75 and 150 mg/L as CaCO
3
. Waters containing calcium
sulfate hardness at these same levels can cause gastric irritation in some individuals until
they become acclimated. USEPA has a secondary standard of 250 mg/L of sulfate as
CaSO
4
in drinking water with a TDS of 500 mg/L.
Very soft waters found in some sections of the United States have hardness concentra-
tions of 30 mg/L as CaCO
3
or less. These waters are generally corrosive and are sometimes
treated to increase hardness.
Sampling
If a water treatment plant softens water, hardness analyses of the finished water should be
conducted daily to determine whether the desired degree of softening has been achieved.
Analyses should be conducted on samples collected immediately after softening and
before the water enters a clearwell.
Hardness determinations should also be performed on raw-water samples whenever
weather conditions (e.g., spring rains) affect the supply. This sampling will reveal any varia-
tion in the hardness of the raw water and will provide advance information for chemical dos-
age changes that may be necessary for softening. Even if softening is not practiced, hardness
determinations should still be made periodically as a general water quality measurement.
At least 100 mL of sample should be collected in either glass or plastic bottles. Sam-
ples should be cooled to 39F (4C) and acidified with 0.5 mL/100 mL to a pH of <2 with
nitric acid unless they are going to be analyzed immediately. These acidified and cool sam-
ples may be stored for 28 days before analysis.
Methods of Determination
The ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) titrimetric method is the preferred method
of analysis. It consists of sequestering (tying up) the calcium and magnesium ions by
titrating with an EDTA solution. The sample is titrated in the presence of an indicator.
The initial solution is red, and it changes to blue when all the ions have been sequestered.
TASTE AND ODOR
Tastes and odors in water are difficult to measure. They are caused by a variety of sub-
stances including organic matter, dissolved gases, and industrial wastes. Odors in water
supplies are most frequently caused by algae or decaying organic matter. The intensity
and offensiveness of odors vary with the type of organic matter.
Odors are generally classified as aromatic, fishy, grassy, musty, septic, or medicinal. Indus-
trial wastes, such as phenolic or oil waste, are also responsible for some odors in surface waters.
The human sense of smell is much more sensitive than the sense of taste, so odor tests
are most commonly run in water treatment plants. The taste test, which classifies tastes as
sweet, sour, bitter, and salty, can only be run on water known to be safe for drinking; thus
its usefulness is limited.
WaterQuality.book Page 135 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
136 WATER QUALITY
Significance
An odor test can be used to evaluate how well a water treatment plant removes taste- and
odor-causing organic materials. The test can also be used to trace the origins of contami-
nation in source water. For example, an odor-causing industrial waste discharge might be
occurring upstream from a water treatment plant. Samples can be collected at intervals
upstream until the problem-causing area has been reached. The odors should become
stronger closer to the discharge and should not be evident in samples collected upstream
from the discharge. This technique is time consuming; however, it can be conducted by
water plant personnel, and extensive laboratory facilities are not necessary. An odor test
can also be used to detect problems in the distribution system. For example, odors occur
in dead-end water mains having a significant bacteriological buildup. A definite chlorine
odor can indicate the loss of free chlorine caused by stagnation, slime buildup, and/or
anaerobic conditions.
The threshold odor number (TON) is designed to help monitor all types of odors,
independent of source. The TON cannot, however, be used to indicate the concentration
of the odor-producing substance, because some substances produce strong odors at low
concentrations. For example, some chemical wastes, such as phenol in chlorinated water,
have been detected by the threshold odor test at a 0.001-mg/L concentration. Other odor-
producing substances, such as detergents, may not be detected until the concentration is as
high as 2.5 mg/L.
An odor with a TON of 3 might be detected by a consumer whose attention is called
to it, but it probably would not be noticed otherwise. If an odor appears gradually, con-
sumers will adapt to it, and it will be noticed less than if it appears suddenly. Finished-
water quality with a TON above 5 will begin to draw complaints from consumers. When a
TON of 3 or more is detected in a finished-water supply, quick action should be taken to
solve the problem.
Sampling
Water supplies with seasonal or recurring taste and odor problems should be analyzed
regularly and, as problems occur, corrective action should be taken. The tests may be time
consuming, so it is not generally possible to conduct more than a few tests per day.
Water samples should be taken from raw and finished waters. At least 1,000 mL of
sample should be collected for an odor analysis. Samples should be collected in clean bot-
tles that have not been used for any samples that might leave a taste or an odor. The bot-
tles should be washed with detergent and rinsed with distilled water and then odor-free
water. Glass sample bottles should be used; plastic containers may add some odor of their
own or an odor from substances that were previously in the container.
Aeration and mixing of the sample should be kept to a minimum before testing
because air strips or oxidizes odor-producing compounds. An air space should be left at
the top of the bottle so the sample can be thoroughly shaken before testing.
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PHYSICAL AND AGGREGATE PROPERTIES OF WATER 137
Odor tests should be run as soon as possible after collection. If the sample must be
stored, it should be tightly capped and placed in an odor-free refrigerator. The sample
should be analyzed no later than 24 hours after collection.
Odor-free water can be generated in the plant or laboratory with an activated carbon
filter purchased and installed on a cold-water tap. Be sure to follow the manufacturers
instructions for the use of the filter.
Methods of Determination
Two standard methods of quantifying taste and odor in water supplies are in use: the
threshold odor test and the flavor profile analysis (FPA).
Threshold odor test
Most tastes and odors are extremely complex, and the best way to detect them is with the
human sense of smell. A series of sample dilutions are prepared and placed in bottles for
observers to test. Each bottle contains 200 mL of liquid consisting of a mixture of sample
water and odor-free distilled water.
The bottles are arranged so that the observer smells the most dilute samples first and
then from a bottle of completely odor-free water as a reference. Then the next strongest
sample is smelled, and again the odor-free water, and the process is continued until an
odor is first detected. The TON may be calculated as follows:
Where:
V
s
= volume of sample, in mL
V
d
= volume of dilution water, in mL
The lowest obtainable TON is 1. If no odor is detected in an undiluted sample, the
TON is reported as no odor observed and no number is assigned. If an odor is first
detected in a bottle that has 100 mL of sample diluted to 200 mL with distilled water, the
TON is 2. TONs corresponding to various dilutions are shown in Table 5-4.
The threshold odor test is not precise and is based on human judgment. The ability to
detect odors varies among individuals, and if very accurate results are desired, a panel of
five or more persons is recommended to overcome this variability. Persons performing
odor tests should not have colds or allergies that would affect their sense of smell. They
also should be nonsmokers and should not use perfumes or aftershaves, which tend to dull
the sense of smell. Plant operators should make odor observations, but because they work
in the environment where the odor may exist their sense of smell can become desensitized
V V
V
s d
s
+
= TON
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138 WATER QUALITY
to an odor (anosmia). If they step out of the environment for a short period, their sensitiv-
ity may return. All tests must, of course, be conducted in an odor-free atmosphere.
Flavor profile analysis
The FPA was approved by the Standard Methods Committee in 1990 and first appeared
as a proposed standard method in the eighteenth edition of Standard Methods.
The FPA differs from the TON in that the samples are not diluted and each individual
odorant in the sample is evaluated and numerically rated. FPA can be applied to both
taste- and odor-causing compounds.
In the procedure, a panel consisting of four to six members and a panel coordinator
conduct each round of testing. Panel members must be selected for their desire to partici-
pate, their tested ability to accurately taste and smell samples, and their ability to interact
with other panel members. Dominant personalities are not desirable.
The panel members gather in an odor-free room. The panel coordinator prepares and
presents the samples to the panel members, and they independently write down the taste or
odor attributes they have observed. The coordinator writes each observation on a black-
board or flip chart and leads a discussion to reach consensus among the panel members.
Panelists are trained in the proper methods of tasting and sniffing samples and are
taught to identify and rate the attributes of both tastes and odors. They must also be
trained in how to prepare for a round of testing, i.e., no aftershave or perfume; no smok-
ing, gum chewing, or spicy food or drink 1 hour prior to the test; no colds or allergies.
TABLE 5-4 Threshold odor number corresponding to various dilutions
Volume of Sample (mL) Diluted
With Odor-Free Water to 200 mL
Threshold Odor Number
0.8 256
1.6 128
3.1 64
6.3 32
12.5 16
25 8
50 4
100 2
200 1
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PHYSICAL AND AGGREGATE PROPERTIES OF WATER 139
Standards and references for tastes and odors are commercially available to assist in
training panelists and reaching consensus. For example, to help panel members identify
the four taste attributes, standards can be made from sucrose for sweetness, citric acid for
sourness, sodium chloride for saltiness, and coffee for bitterness. Natural material is also
available for panel use; for example, geranium leaves may be used to assist the panel in
coming to a consensus on what constitutes a geranium odor in a water sample.
Panel members should follow all the safety precautions mentioned in the method
since this is the only laboratory test in which the sample is consumed, or at least placed
directly into the body.
TEMPERATURE
Temperature is measured on either the Fahrenheit (F) or the Celsius (C) scale. The
freezing point of water is 32F or 0C; the boiling point is 212F or 100C. Because tem-
perature is a factor in computing the Langelier saturation index, it is one of the water
quality parameters required by the Lead and Copper Rule.
Significance
Water temperature determines, in part, how efficiently certain unit processes operate in
the treatment plant. The rate at which chemicals dissolve and react is somewhat depen-
dent on temperature. Cold water generally requires more chemicals for efficient coagula-
tion and flocculation to take place. Water with a higher temperature may result in a higher
chlorine demand because of increased reactivity and also because there is usually an
increased level of organic matter, such as algae, in the raw water. For surface water plants
in the northern regions, the dropping of the plant effluent water temperature to about the
39F (4C) point can indicate the start of the cold-weather main breaks.
Sampling
Temperature readings must be taken on-site, either directly from the water or from sam-
ples immediately after collection. Immediate readings are necessary because the water
temperature will begin to change once the sample is taken.
Methods of Determination
A laboratory thermometer is used for temperature analysis. The thermometer is left in the
water long enough to get a constant reading, and the measured temperature is expressed
to the nearest degree or less depending on the thermometers accuracy. Digital battery-
operated thermometers are currently available. They have the advantage over glass bulb
type thermometers of being easier to read and less prone to break.
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140 WATER QUALITY
TOTAL DISSOLVED SOLIDS
Total dissolved solids, also referred to as total filterable residue, in natural waters consists
mainly of carbonates, bicarbonates, chloride, sulfate, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and
potassium. Dissolved metals, dissolved organic matter, and other substances also account
for a small portion of the dissolved residue in water.
Significance
Dissolved solids in drinking water tend to change the waters physical and chemical
nature. Distilled or deionized water has a flat taste; most consumers prefer water that con-
tains some dissolved solids. Different salts in solution may interact and cause effects that
each salt alone would not cause. The presence of some dissolved compounds or ions (such
as arsenic and mercury) can be harmful in water even where the total solids concentration
is relatively low.
It is generally agreed that the TDS concentration of palatable water should not exceed
500 mg/L. Lime softening and ion-exchange facilities both significantly reduce the quan-
tity of TDS in finished water.
Many communities in the United States use waters containing 2,000 mg/L or more
TDS because better-quality water is not available. These waters tend to be unpalatable,
may not quench thirst, and can have a laxative effect on new or transient users. However,
no lasting harmful effects have been reported from such waters. Waters containing more
than 4,000 mg/L TDS are considered unfit for human consumption.
Raw-water source samples can be dipped from just below the surface of the water in
the area of the intake structure. They may be collected in clean wide-mouth glass or plas-
tic 1-L containers. Filter effluent samples should be collected from an effluent sample tap
or drain line. The sample should be stored in a cooler away from sunlight for transporta-
tion to the laboratory.
TURBIDITY
Turbidity is an optical property caused by particles suspended in water. These particles
cause light rays to be scattered and absorbed rather than transmitted in a straight line,
making the water appear cloudy. Turbidity is the measurement of the clarity of a water
sample. Waters showing very little light scattering produce low-turbidity measurements;
those with a great deal of light scattering have high turbidity. The suspended particles
causing turbidity include organic and inorganic matter and plankton.
Turbidity should not be confused with suspended solids. Turbidity expresses how
much light is scattered by the sample. Suspended solids measurements express the weight
of suspended material in the sample. In most cases, turbidity cannot be correlated to sus-
pended solids concentration.
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PHYSICAL AND AGGREGATE PROPERTIES OF WATER 141
Interferences with turbidity measurement include color, high turbidity (raw muddy
water requires dilution and calculations to obtain a reliable reading), and gas bubbles.
Scratched sample cells, condensation, poor calibration, and stray light also interfere.
Significance
Turbidity is expressed in nephelometric turbidity units (ntu), and a reading in excess of
5 ntu is noticeable to consumers. Turbidity is significant in water supplies because it creates
a potential public health hazard, unpleasant appearance, and operational difficulties. The
most important of these is the potential public health hazard. The effectiveness of chlorine
or other disinfectants depends on the disinfectant making contact with the pathogenic
organisms in the water. Suspended particles in turbid water can shelter microorganisms
from the disinfectant and allow them to still be viable when they reach the customers.
Turbid water may also contain particles of organic matter that can react with chlorine
to form THMs or other DBPs.
Turbidity analyses are also used to evaluate in-plant operations. Turbidity measure-
ments taken after settling and before filtration reflect the performance of the coagulation,
flocculation, and sedimentation processes. A rise in turbidity after settling indicates that the
coagulant application should be changed and/or that operational corrections must be made.
Settled water before filtration should have a turbidity of less than 10 ntu. If water with
high turbidity reaches the filter, it will cause high filter head loss and shorten filter runs.
Changes in raw-water turbidity usually require that the coagulant dose be changed. Any
significant change in turbidity within the unit process should be an immediate warning
that operational adjustments are necessary. The operator should set up parameters that
define a significant change for a specific unit process and the type of water being treated.
For example, if the normal turbidity level doubles, i.e., the raw water goes from 3 to 6 ntu
for no apparent reason, operational adjustment is necessary.
Turbidity analyses are also used to monitor finished-water quality for compliance
with state and federal drinking water standards.
Sampling
Turbidity analyses are usually conducted on samples collected from raw water, sedimenta-
tion basin effluent, filter effluent, and finished water. Figure 5-4 shows some typical tur-
bidity sampling points.
At least 100 mL of sample should be collected in a clean glass or polyethylene
container. Samples should be shaken and analyzed immediately after collection because
the level of turbidity can change if the sample is stored. If it is not possible to run a turbid-
ity test immediately, the sample should be stored in the dark for no longer than 24 hours.
All filter plants should keep a continuous record of finished-water turbidity. Continuous-
reading turbidimeters with recorders installed on the filter-effluent piping will continuously
determine, report, and record the quality of the filter effluent. The turbidimeter signal can
WaterQuality.book Page 141 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
142 WATER QUALITY
sound alarms to indicate the need to shut down an improperly operating filter. This alarm
system increases the reliability of the filter operation and is especially important in assuring
the safe operation of pressure filters and high-rate (4 to 6 gpm/ft
2
[2.7 to 4.1 mm/sec]) filter
plants. It should be noted that the continuous-reading turbidimeter may not match the labo-
ratory meter exactly because of differences between the instruments and the methods used.
This would be similar to the differences between two cells used to analyze one sample for tur-
bidity; slight variations in the manufacturing of the equipment can vary the result.
Methods of Determination
The nephelometric turbidimeter measures the scattering of light in nephelometric turbid-
ity units. USEPA drinking water regulations specify the use of a nephelometric turbidime-
ter for all required monitoring.
Analysis is quick and easy with the nephelometric method. Nephelometry is useful for
in-plant monitoring, and results can be compared from plant to plant, which is an advan-
tage to operators seeking performance information from other facilities.
Under the requirements of the SWTR, water systems serving a population in excess of
500 must perform turbidity monitoring of filtered water at least every 4 hours that the plant
is in operation. A system may substitute continuous turbidity monitoring if the equipment
is validated on a regular basis using a procedure approved by the state. The Enhanced Sur-
face Water Treatment Rule (ESWTR) requires continuous monitoring of the individual fil-
FIGURE 5-4 Typical turbidity sampling points
Filtration
To Distribution
5
4
3
2
1
Presedimentation Coagulation
Flocculation
Sedimentation
Source
1. Turbidity of raw water entering the plant.
2. Turbidity reduction by presedimentation; helps the operator determine coagulant dose.
3. Turbidity removal by coagulation, flocculation, and sedimentation processes;
assists the operator in monitoring the efficiency of the process.
4. Turbidity after filtration; continuous monitoring of turbidity for each filter monitors for
turbidity break-through, which is one of the indicators of the need for filter backwashing.
5. Turbidity of all treated water leaving the plant; monitors compliance with drinking water
regulations for maximum allowable effluent turbidity.
WaterQuality.book Page 142 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
PHYSICAL AND AGGREGATE PROPERTIES OF WATER 143
ters in a surface water treatment plant and calls for the turbidity for each filter to be
recorded at a minimum of every 15 minutes. Figure 3-46 in chapter 3 is a picture of a
continuous-monitoring turbidimeter.
SELECTED SUPPLEMENTARY READINGS
Baker, L.A., P. Westerhoff, and M. Sommerfeld. 2006. Adaptive Management Using
Multiple Barriers To Control Tastes and Odors. Journ. AWWA, 98(6):113126.
Dietrich, A.M., G.A Burlingame, and R.C. Hoehn. 2003. Strategies for Taste-and-Odor
Testing Methods. Opflow, 29(10):1014.
Gordon, G., W.J. Cooper, R.G. Rice, and G.E. Pacey. 1992. Disinfection Residual
Measurement Methods. 2nd ed. Denver, CO: American Water Works Association
Research Foundation and American Water Works Association.
Jensen, J.N., and J.D. Johnson. 1989. Specificity of the DPD and Amperometric
Titration Methods for Free Available Chlorine. Jour. AWWA, 81(12):59.
Manual M12, Simplified Procedures for Water Examination. 2001. Denver, CO:
American Water Works Association.
Manual of Water Utility Operations. 8th ed. 1988. Austin, Texas: Texas Water Utilities
Association.
Meng, A.-K., and I.H. Suffet. 1992. Assessing the Quality of Flavor Profile Analyses.
Jour. AWWA, 84(6):89.
Pizzi, N.G. 2005. Water Treatment Operator Handbook. Denver, CO: American Water
Works Association.
Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. 21st ed. 2005.
Washington, D.C.: American Public Health Association, American Water Works
Association, and Water Environment Federation.
Suffet, I.H., J. Mallevaille, and E. Kawczynski. 1995. Advances in Taste-and-Odor
Treatment and Control. Denver, CO: American Water Works Association Research
Foundation and American Water Works Association.
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WaterQuality.book Page 144 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
145
C H A P T E R 6
Inorganic Chemicals
An inorganic chemical, substance, compound, or contaminant is one not derived from
hydrocarbons. An inorganic contaminant is an inorganic substance regulated by the
USEPA. Inorganic contaminants contained in this list are antimony, asbestos, barium,
beryllium, cadmium, chromium (total), copper, cyanide, fluoride, lead, mercury nitrate,
nitrite, selenium, thallium, and arsenic. Interestingly, nickel, which was once regulated by
USEPA was remanded; monitoring is still required even though there is currently no MCL.
In drinking water, other inorganic compounds are of interest. These include the diva-
lent cations, calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese.
CARBON DIOXIDE
Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless, noncombustible gas that is found in all natural
waters. Carbon dioxide in surface waters can originate from the atmosphere, but most
comes from biological oxidation of organic matter. Biological oxidation is also the pri-
mary source of carbon dioxide in groundwater.
Significance
Consuming excess carbon dioxide in water has not been found to have adverse health
effects. In fact, carbon dioxide is present in commercial carbonated beverages in concen-
trations far greater than those found in natural waters. However, carbon dioxide in water
forms carbonic acid, which can cause corrosion problems. In addition, carbon dioxide
values must be known to calculate proper lime dosages when softening water. If recarbon-
ation is used following lime softening, carbon dioxide values must be determined to con-
trol the process. In groundwater, a high level of carbon dioxide reduces the pH and
increases the dissolution rate of metals and minerals from the surrounding earth, iron,
manganese, and so on.
Sampling
Carbon dioxide analyses should be run on raw and finished water. Special precautions
must be taken during collection and handling of the sample if the titrimetric method is
being used. Exposure to the air must be kept to a minimum. Field determination of free
carbon dioxide immediately after sampling is advisable. If field determination is impossi-
ble, the sample should be kept cool and the analysis completed as soon as possible.
Samples may be collected in glass or plastic bottles. At least 100 mL of sample
should be collected. The bottle should be filled to the top with no air space left, and no
preservatives should be added. A piece of tubing from the faucet to the bottom of the
collection vessel should be used to minimize aeration of the sample from splashing or
WaterQuality.book Page 145 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
146 WATER QUALITY
bubbling. Fill the container with several volume changes while the tubing is submersed.
Slowly remove the tubing from the sample container with the water still flowing to ensure
that the container remains full with no air space.
Methods of Determination
The amount of carbon dioxide in water may be determined by using the nomographic
method or the titrimetric method. To use the nomographic method, the pH, bicarbonate
alkalinity, temperature, and total dissolved solids must be known. Results are most accu-
rate when the pH and alkalinity are analyzed immediately after sample collection. The
titration method may be performed potentiometrically or with phenolphthalein indicator.
CHLROINE RESIDUAL AND DEMAND
Chlorine is usually added to source water as the water enters the treatment plant (prechlo-
rination) and again just before it leaves the plant (postchlorination). In the plant, chlorine
is also often added at intermediate points during the treatment process. Postchlorination is
primarily administered to provide an excess of chlorine for continued disinfection in the
distribution system. Tests of chlorine levels in the plant and throughout the distribution
system are necessary to determine that chlorine dosage levels are adequate and to monitor
water quality.
Significance
Destruction of pathogenic organisms by chlorine is directly related to contact time and the
concentration of the chlorine. High chlorine doses with short contact periods will provide
essentially the same results as low doses with long contact periods. Chlorination also oxi-
dizes substances such as iron, manganese, and organic compounds, making their removal
from the water easier.
Successful chlorination requires that enough chlorine be added to complete the disin-
fection or oxidation process. However, chlorine must not be added in amounts that are
wasteful, creating unnecessarily high operational costs. Determining effective and efficient
chlorine dosage levels is the responsibility of the plant operator.
Chlorine Residual
There are two types of chlorine residual: combined residual and free available residual.
The process by which these are formed is illustrated in Figure 6-1.
The first amount of chlorine (for example, 1 mg/L) that is added to raw water is used
in oxidizing reducing compounds such as iron and manganese (from point 1 to point 2 in
the figure). The chlorine oxidizes the iron and manganese and in the process is used up
no residual forms and no disinfection occurs.
WaterQuality.book Page 146 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
INORGANIC CHEMICALS 147
If the initial chlorine dosage used is higher (for example, 2.5 mg/L), the reaction will
go to point 3. Between points 2 and 3, the chlorine reacts with the organic substances and
the ammonia in the water, forming chloroorganics and chloramines. These two products
are called combined chlorine residual. This is a chlorine residual thatbecause it is com-
bined with other chemicals, normally ammonia compounds, in the waterhas lost some
of its disinfecting strength. Compared with free chlorine, combined chlorine residual is a
less effective disinfecting agent. If it is not properly controlled, it may cause tastes and
odors characteristic of water in a swimming pool.
As the chlorine dosage is increased further (point 3 to point 4), the chloramines and
some of the chloroorganics are destroyed. This process reduces the combined chlorine
residual until, at point 4, the combined residual reaches its lowest point. Point 4 is called
the breakpoint. At the breakpoint, the chlorine residual changes from combined to free
available.
As the initial chlorine dosage is increased still further (beyond 4 mg/L in this exam-
ple), free available chlorine residual is formedfree in the sense that it has not reacted
with anything and available in the sense that it can and will react if necessary. In terms of
disinfecting power, free available residual is 25 times more powerful than combined resid-
ual, and it will not produce the characteristic swimming-pool odor that combined residu-
als do. Because free available chlorine residual forms only after the breakpoint, the
process is called breakpoint chlorination.
The free available chlorine residual at the consumers tap should be at least 0.2 mg/L
or at a level specified by the state. This level helps ensure that the water is free from harm-
ful bacteria. However, higher levels may be necessary to control special problems, such as
FIGURE 6-1 Formation of combined chlorine residual and free available chlorine residual
1 2 3 4
C
h
l
o
r
i
n
e

R
e
s
i
d
u
a
l
Chlorine Added
Combined
Residual
Free
Available
Residual
Breakpoint Chlorination Curve
C
h
l
o
r
i
n
e

D
e
s
t
r
o
y
e
d
b
y

R
e
d
u
c
i
n
g

C
o
m
p
o
u
n
d
s
Formation of
Chlorooranics
and
Chloramines
Free Available
Residual Formed
(Some Chloroorganics
and Chloramines
Remain)
C
h
l
o
r
o
o
r
g
a
n
i
c
s

a
n
d
C
h
l
o
r
a
m
i
n
e
s
P
a
r
t
l
y

D
e
s
t
r
o
y
e
d
B
r
e
a
k
p
o
i
n
t
WaterQuality.book Page 147 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
148 WATER QUALITY
iron bacteria. If maintaining a free chlorine residual in a distribution system becomes dif-
ficult, several possible problems are indicated. Stagnant water in dead ends or storage
tanks, biological growths, contamination of mains during main-break repair, and contam-
ination caused by cross-connections all cause dissipation of free chlorine residuals. Fur-
ther, a drop in chlorine residual in the distribution system may indicate inadequacies in the
treatment process itself.
Chlorine Demand
Test results for chlorine residual can be combined with operating data regarding the
amount of chlorine added at the plant to yield information on chlorine demand. Chlorine
demand is a measurement of how much chlorine must be added to the water to achieve
breakpoint chlorination or whatever free chlorine residual is desired.
The most significant reason for analyzing a water supplys chlorine demand is to
determine the proper dosage. However, changes in chlorine demand can also indicate
water quality changes. For example, if a water supply suddenly requires more chlorine to
maintain a residual (that is, if the water exhibits a higher chlorine demand), then the chlo-
rine is oxidizing some contaminants that previously were not present in the water supply.
When chlorine demand increases, two steps are necessary. First, the chlorine dose
must be increased to meet the higher demand. Second, the reason for the increased
demand should be investigated. A sudden increase in chlorine demand frequently occurs
in surface water because of seasonal water quality changes. Chlorine demand in ground-
water should not change substantially because the quality of groundwater is usually very
stable.
DISINFECTION BY-PRODUCTS
The disinfection by-products (DBPs) currently regulated are the trihalomethanes and the
sum of five haloacetic acids (HAA5). Continuing studies and research have revealed that
chlorine (and all other alternate disinfectants) reacts with organic compound precursors
in the water to form many different kinds of organic compounds. In current thinking,
many of these compounds are considered to be potentially toxic and are suspected of
being carcinogenic. Haloacetic acids, halonitriles, haloaldehydes, and chlorophenols are
just a few of the organic compounds associated with chlorine disinfection. Thus, chlorina-
tion has its good and its bad points; the water plant operator must know how to ade-
quately disinfect the water without producing undesirable levels of DBPs.
Sampling
Chlorine residual sampling is done at the treatment plant and at the consumers faucet.
WaterQuality.book Page 148 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
INORGANIC CHEMICALS 149
Treatment plant sampling
In-plant sampling of chlorine residual determines whether sufficient chlorine has been
added to the water before it leaves the treatment plant. This is the only way to be sure that
finished water leaving the plant contains the desired chlorine residual. Obtaining represen-
tative samples is the most critical part of in-plant chlorine sampling.
In some instances, a sample must be collected at a point near the location of chlorine
addition. In this case, analyses will probably show disproportionately high chlorine resid-
ual. To obtain data that approximate the actual chlorine residual in a particular basin, the
sample should be held for a time period equal to the basin detention time or, in any case,
at least 10 minutes. Under requirements of the Surface Water Treatment Rule, surface
water systems serving populations larger than 3,300 are required to provide continuous
chlorine residual monitoring where the water enters the distribution system.
Distribution system sampling
For systems that chlorinate, sampling for chlorine residual from the distribution system is
done to determine whether consumers are receiving water that is of good quality. In other
words, if there is no chlorine residual, the operator will have to determine the cause of the
reduced residual and take corrective measures to restore the chlorine residual to the area
to ensure the safety of the water supply. If the water samples are positive for bacteria and
chlorine residual is analyzed at the time of sample collection the information regarding
the level of chlorine residual may aid in determining if the contamination was in the water
sample or if the equipment used for the analysis was contaminated. A strong chlorine
residual in the sample collected may indicate that the water was not contaminated.
If analysis is made in the field, only about 10 mL of sample are required. Current regu-
lations require that chlorine residual samples taken for compliance samples must be ana-
lyzed immediately or at the most within 15 minutes of collection. If samples must be taken to
a laboratory, a 100-mL sample should be collected. Analysis should be completed as soon as
possible after collection. There is no recommended preservation for chlorine samples; chlo-
rine is unstable in water and residual chlorine will continue to diminish with time, and so
immediate field testing is preferred. Chlorine analyses performed after the 15 minute win-
dow are not considered acceptable results for compliance testing for regulatory purposes.
Agitation or aeration of the sample should be avoided because it can cause reduction
of the samples chlorine concentration. Chlorine will also be destroyed and subsequent
analysis will be erroneously low if samples are exposed to sunlight. The same sample bottle
should never be used for both chlorine residual and coliform analyses. Bottles used for coli-
form analysis contain a chemical (sodium thiosulfate) that neutralizes the chlorine residual.
Methods of Determination
The N,N-diethyl-p-phenylenediamine (DPD) test kit is the simplest and quickest way to
test for residual chlorine. The test takes approximately 5 minutes to complete. The old
orthotolidine method has been eliminated as an acceptable method and should not be
WaterQuality.book Page 149 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
150 WATER QUALITY
used. It is not as accurate as the DPD method, particularly for measuring free chlorine
residual.
Another technique, used primarily in laboratories because of its accuracy, is ampero-
metric titration. The method is unaffected by sample color or turbidity, which can inter-
fere with colorimetric determinations. However, performance of amperometric titration
requires greater skill and care than does the DPD method. Because of the equipment and
sample volumes required, the amperometric method is normally not used as a field test
outside of the treatment plant.
The chlorine demand can be determined by treating a series of water samples with
known but varying chlorine dosages. After an appropriate contact time, the chlorine resid-
ual of each sample is determined. This procedure indicates which dosage satisfied the
demand and provided the desired residual.
DISSOLVED OXYGEN
Dissolved oxygen (DO) in water is not considered a contaminant. Either an excess or a
lack of DO does, however, help create unfavorable conditions. Generally, a lack of DO in
natural waters creates the most problems, specifically an increase in tastes and odors as a
result of anaerobic decomposition.
The amount of DO in water is a function of the waters temperature and salinity. Cold
water contains more DO, and saline water contains less DO. Natural waters are seldom in
equilibrium (exactly saturated with DO). Temperature changes as well as chemical and
biological activities all use or release oxygen, causing the amount of DO in water to
change continually.
Significance
Nominal levels of DO in municipal water supplies are generally not a problem. Dissolved
oxygen has no adverse health effects and actually increases waters palatability. Most con-
sumers prefer water that has a DO content near the saturation point. However, a concen-
tration this high is detrimental to metal pipes because oxygen helps accelerate corrosion.
Introducing oxygen into water can be a method of treatment for purposes such as oxi-
dizing iron and manganese into forms that will precipitate out of the water. Dissolved oxy-
gen also has the ability to remove excess carbon dioxide. It degrades some organic
compounds that cause taste and odor problems, provided the contact time is long enough.
Where additional DO is desired for water treatment, some form of aeration is used. Var-
ious types of aeration processes are detailed in Water Treatment, another book in this series.
DO data from raw-water storage-reservoir samples can also be used to indicate the
general quality of the water. On the basis of these data, operators may be able to make
treatment changes or alter the way the reservoir releases are made to prevent taste, odor,
and other problems.
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INORGANIC CHEMICALS 151
Sampling
DO analyses should be conducted routinely on raw-water samples from surface water
sources, particularly if storage reservoirs are being used. Treated-water samples should
also be analyzed routinely if aeration is used as a treatment process; otherwise the tests
may be conducted on a weekly basis for general quality data.
DO should be determined on-site if the electrode method (see next section) is used. If the
modified Winkler test (see next section) is being used, the sample must be collected in a glass
bottle and fixed (treated with a chemical additive to retard change) on site. The sample
should be stored in the dark at the temperature of the collection water or water sealed and
kept at a temperature of 50F to 68F (10C to 20C) until the analysis can be performed.
Methods of Determination
The electrode method and the modified Winkler method (also called the iodometric
method) are preferred for DO measurements. Because the electrode method is not as sensi-
tive to interferences as is the modified Winkler test, it is excellent for analyzing DO in pol-
luted waters, highly colored waters, and strong waste effluents. Drinking waters and supply
reservoirs have few interferences that cause problems with the modified Winkler procedure.
INORGANIC METALS
The effects of metal in water are varied. Table 1-1 in chapter 1 provides information on
inorganic contaminants including metals covered under the National Primary Drinking
Water Regulations, the MCLG, MCL, or treatment technique. Information is provided
about potential health effects from ingestion of water, sources, and treatment technology
information.
Three types of metals are discussed in this section. Dissolved metals are metals in an
unacidified sample that pass through a 0.45-m membrane. Suspended metals are metals
in an unacidified sample retained by a 0.45-m membrane. Total metals are the sum of
suspended and dissolved metals or the concentration determined in an unfiltered digested
sample.
Sampling and Sample Preservation
Before collecting a sample, it must be decided what fraction is to be analyzed (dissolved,
suspended, total, or acid extractable). This decision will determine in part whether the
sample is acidified with or without filtration and the type of digestion required.
Serious errors may be introduced during sampling and storage because of contamina-
tion from the sampling device, failure to remove residues of previous samples from the
sample container, and loss of metals by adsorption on or precipitation in the sample con-
tainer caused by failure to acidify the sample properly.
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152 WATER QUALITY
Sample containers
Because of expense, the preferred sample container is made of polypropylene or linear
polyethylene with a polyethylene cap. Borosilicate glass containers also may be used, but
soft glass containers should be avoided for samples containing metals in the microgram-
per-liter range. Samples should be stored for determination of silver in light-absorbing
containers. Only containers and filters that have been acid rinsed should be used.
Preservation
The samples should be preserved immediately after sampling by acidifying with concen-
trated nitric acid (HNO
3
) to pH <2. The samples should be filtered for dissolved metals
before preserving. Usually 1.5 mL concentrated HNO
3
added to a liter sample (or 3 mL
1 + 1 HNO
3
added to a liter sample) is sufficient for short-term preservation. For sam-
ples with high buffer capacity, the amount of acid should be increased (5 mL may be
required for some alkaline or highly buffered samples). The sample should be checked
to ensure the pH of the sample has been reduced to below 2. Commercially available
high-purity acid should be used.
After acidifying the sample, it is preferable to store it in a refrigerator at approximately
4C. Under these conditions, samples with metal concentrations of several milligrams per
liter are stable for up to six months (except mercury, which is stable up to five weeks).
Methods of Determination
The presence of metals is determined using both colorimetric and instrumental methods.
Instrumental methods include atomic absorption spectrometry, which includes flame, elec-
trothermal (furnace), hydride, and cold-vapor techniques; flame photometry; inductively
coupled plasma emission spectrometry; inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry;
and anodic stripping voltametry.
Sources of Contamination
Introducing contaminating metals from containers, distilled water, or membrane filters
should be avoided. Some plastic caps or cap liners may introduce metal contamination;
for example, zinc has been found in black Bakelite-type screw caps as well as in many rub-
ber and plastic products, and cadmium has been found in plastic pipette tips. Lead may be
a contaminant in urban air and dust depending on the industry, construction, and demo-
lition taking place in areas where lead may have been used in the past. It used to be found
in gasoline, so the by-products of gasoline engine use would have contained lead, which
may have been deposited on a variety of surfaces including the soil in the area.
Take care not to introduce metals into samples during preliminary treatment. During
pretreatment, contact with rubber, metal-based paints, cigarette smoke, paper tissues, and all
metal products including those made of stainless steel, galvanized metal, and brass should
be avoided. Conventional fume hoods can contribute to sample contamination, particularly
WaterQuality.book Page 152 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
INORGANIC CHEMICALS 153
during acid digestion in open containers if the solutions boil and splatter their contents to
adjoining sample containers. Vessels should be covered with watch glasses and spouts
turned away from incoming air to reduce airborne contamination. Plastic pipette tips often
are contaminated with copper, iron, zinc, and cadmium. Colored plastics, which can contain
metals, should not be used. Certified metal-free plastic containers and pipette tips should be
used when possible. Glass should not be used if analyzing for aluminum or silica.
Metal-free water should be used for all operations. Reagent-grade acids used for pres-
ervation, extraction, and digestion should be pure. If excessive metal concentrations are
found, ultrapure acids should be used. Blanks should be processed through all digestion
and filtration steps, and blank results should be evaluated relative to corresponding sam-
ple results. Either corrections should be applied to sample results or other corrective
actions should be taken as necessary or appropriate.
Inorganic Nonmetallic Compounds
Inorganic nonmetallic contaminants include cyanide, fluoride, nitrate, and nitrite. The
analytical methods used for determination include wet-chemical techniques and instru-
mental methods such as ion chromatography.
Nitrate can occur in trace quantities and in high concentrations in surface water and
groundwaters depending on the type of soil and the land uses in the watershed for surface
water or the recharge zones for wells. Nitrite is an intermediate product formed when
ammonia is oxidized to nitrate and when nitrate is reduced. Cyanide is not normally
found in either surface water or groundwater. Fluoride, iron, and manganese are discussed
in detail in the following sections.
FLUORIDE
Fluoride is found naturally in many waters. It is also added to many water systems to
reduce tooth decay.
Significance
Research has demonstrated that drinking water containing a proper amount of fluoride
results in reduction in tooth decay during the years of childrens tooth formation (from
birth to between the ages of 12 and 15). This is assuming that the children are actually
drinking the tap water in the appropriate amounts to provide them with the correct dose
for their age and body mass.
Fluoride concentrations in drinking water that are optimum for reducing tooth decay
are based on average air temperature. Depending on air temperature, the regulatory agencies
set the levels the treatment plants that feed fluoride are allowed to introduce. Because more
water is consumed in warmer climates, fluoride concentrations should be lower in these
areas. Excessive fluoride concentrations can cause teeth to become stained or mottled.
WaterQuality.book Page 153 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
154 WATER QUALITY
This problem generally occurs only where natural fluoride concentrations exceed 2.0 mg/L
(the secondary MCL).
Close control of fluoride concentrations is necessary to ensure the maximum benefit
of fluoridation with an adequate margin of safety. A reduction of only 0.3 mg/L below the
optimum concentration can drastically reduce the dental benefits of fluoride. Specific
guidelines from the state should be obtained concerning recommended concentrations for
a given water supply if fluoride is being added to the water.
Sampling
Fluoride samples should be collected from raw and finished water in polyethylene bottles.
Raw-water samples are necessary because the total amount of fluoride reaching the con-
sumer is equal to the fluoride concentration in the raw water plus the fluoride added at the
plant. Although the fluoride level in most source water is fairly stable, it can vary some-
what and so should be periodically analyzed. The amount of fluoride to be added to the
raw water is calculated by subtracting the raw-water concentration from the desired
treated-water concentration.
Finished-water samples are tested to ensure that the fluoride feeders are operating
correctly and the final fluoride concentration is at the desired level. Nearly all regulatory
agencies require that samples of the plant effluent be tested daily.
Samples collected for fluoride analysis may be held for 7 days before analysis. They
should be stored in a refrigerator at 39F (4C) with no preservatives added.
Methods of Determination
Two methods for fluoride analysis are commonly used: the SPADNS (sodium,2-(parasulfo-
phenylazo)-1.8-dihydroxy-3,6-naphthalene disulfonate) method and the electrode method.
The electrode method requires a selective ion fluoride electrode connected to a pH meter
with a millivolt scale or to a meter having a direct concentration scale for fluoride. With
either method, interferences may require a distillation step prior to the test. The water to be
tested should be checked for interferences that might be present.
IRON
Iron occurs naturally in rocks and soils and is one of the most abundant of all elements. It
exists in two forms: ferrous (Fe
+2
) and ferric (Fe
+3
). Ferrous iron is found in well waters
and in waters with a low level of dissolved oxygen. Under anaerobic conditions, waters
can have significant dissolved-iron concentrations.
Dissolved iron in water is derived naturally from soils and rocks. It may also result
from the corrosive action of water on unprotected iron or steel mains, steel well casings,
and tanks. Surface waters may also occasionally contain appreciable amounts of iron that
originates from industrial wastes or from acid runoff from mining operations.
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INORGANIC CHEMICALS 155
Significance
Iron at levels normally found in properly treated drinking water does not present a health
issue. Even though iron poisoning can take place the normal dosage would be in the range
of 20 mg/kg or above for symptoms of iron toxicity to develop. Water quality limits on
allowable concentrations of iron in water supplies are based on the problem of discoloration
and undesirable taste and of the iron staining porcelain plumbing fixtures. Iron concentra-
tions above 0.3 mg/L can cause undesirable red water. Concentrations at or above this
level in finished water indicate that steps should be taken to remove iron. Details on iron
removal and control methods are detailed in Water Treatment, another book in this series.
Iron also provides a nutrient source for some bacteria that grow in distribution sys-
tems and wells. Iron bacteria, such as Gallionella, cause red water, tastes and odors,
clogged pipes, and pump failure.
Whenever tests show increased iron concentrations between the water plant and the
consumers tap, corrosion and/or iron bacteria may be present, and corrective action
should be taken. If the water is corrosive, pH adjustment might be considered first. If the
problem is caused by bacteria, flushing of the mains, shock chlorination (temporarily high
concentrations), or increased everyday chlorination may prove effective.
Sampling
Samples should be taken from raw and finished water. The samples should be collected in
glass or plastic bottles and may be stored as long as 6 months before analysis. At least
100 mL of sample should be collected. Samples should be preserved with approximately
0.5 mL of concentrated nitric acid per 100-mL sample to lower the pH to less than 2.
Methods of Determination
Iron concentration may be determined by the phenanthroline method or the atomic
absorption spectrophotometric (AA) method. The phenanthroline method is simple and
reliable. It is a colorimetric test and can be run with a spectrophotometer or filter photo-
meter. The AA method, used by large laboratories, is very accurate and is particularly
advantageous when large numbers of samples must be tested. Another method allowed in
the regulations is Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) analysis.
MANGANESE
Manganese, a metal, creates problems in a water supply similar to those created by iron.
Manganese occurs naturally in ores but not in a pure state. It exists in soils primarily as
manganese dioxide. It is found both in the manganous divalent form (Mn
+2
) and in the
quadrivalent form (Mn
+4
). Manganese is much less abundant in nature than is iron; there-
fore, it is found less often in water supplies and is often present at lower concentrations.
156 WATER QUALITY
It is also more difficult than iron is to oxidize or cause to precipitate because manganous
solutions are more stable than are ferrous solutions.
The most common forms of manganeseoxides, carbonates, and hydroxidesare
only slightly soluble. Consequently, manganese concentrations in surface waters seldom
exceed 1.0 mg/L. In groundwaters subject to anaerobic or reducing conditions, manganese
concentrations, like iron concentrations, can become very high.
Significance
Consumption of manganese when it is present in properly treated drinking water has shown
no known harmful effects on humans. Water quality limits on allowable concentrations of
manganese have been based on aesthetic problems rather than health concerns. Manganese
does not usually discolor water, but it stains clothes and bathroom fixtures black. Staining
problems can begin at 0.05 mg/L, a much lower concentration than for iron.
Raw-water and finished-water analyses will indicate whether manganese removal is
necessary or whether the desired removal has been achieved in the treatment plant.
Increases in manganese concentration in the distribution system are not generally experi-
enced, except that a rapid flow change in the distribution system may result in some
deposits breaking loose and entering consumers water. This problem is best controlled by
flushing the lines in areas where the problem occurs.
Sampling
Samples for manganese analysis should be taken from raw and finished water. The sam-
ples should be collected in glass or plastic bottles and may be stored as long as 6 months
before analysis. At least 100 mL of sample should be collected. Samples should be pre-
served with concentrated nitric acid. Approximately 0.5 mL of concentrated nitric acid per
100-mL sample should be added to lower the pH to less than 2.
Methods of Determination
The AA method or ICP mass spectroscopy (ICPMS) analysis are the preferred methods
of determination. Also approved for use are colorimetric methods, which are more readily
available and economical for the treatment plant operator.
pH
pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration present in water, or it can be stated as
the logarithm of the reciprocal of the hydrogen ion concentration, which is the same as the
negative log
10
of the hydrogen ion concentration in water.
pH = log
10
1/[H+]
= log
10
[H+]
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INORGANIC CHEMICALS 157
Expression of pH
Because pH is a logarithmic function, small changes in the measured pH mean large
changes in the hydrogen ion concentration. The usual method for reporting pH results is
to present the high and low pH along with an average pH or median value depending on
what the reporting agency requests.
Importance of pH
pH controls many chemical reactions, including coagulation, disinfection, water soften-
ing, corrosion, biochemical reactions, and ammonia removal. It can be affected by many
of the treatment processes in the plant, including ion exchange, corrosion control, disin-
fectant chemicals, aeration, and coagulation, to name a few. It also indicates to the design
engineer what construction materials to use. A question often asked in water treatment is
How many pH meters should I install and where do I put them?
SELECTED SUPPLEMENTARY READINGS
Clement, B. 1992. Computers Can Reduce Langelier Index Test Time. Opflow, 18(3):1.
Gordon, G., W.J. Cooper, R.G. Rice, and G.E. Pacey. 1992. Disinfectant Residual
Measurement Methods. 2nd ed. Denver, CO: American Water Works Association and
American Water Works Association Research Foundation.
Manual M12, Simplified Procedures for Water Examination. 2001. Denver, CO:
American Water Works Association.
Manual of Instruction for Water Treatment Plant Operators. 1991. Albany, N.Y.: New
York State Department of Health.
Manual of Water Utility Operations. 8th ed. 1988. Austin, Texas: Texas Water Utilities
Association.
Methods of Chemical Analyses of Water and Wastes. 1984. EPA-600/4-79-020. Cincinnati,
Ohio: US Environmental Protection Agency.
Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. 21st ed. 2005. A.D.
Eaton, L.S. Clesceri, and A.E. Greenberg, eds. American Public Health Association,
American Water Works Association, and Water Environment Federation.
Stubbart, J., W.C. Lauer, and T.J. McCandless. 2004. AWWA Water Operator Field
Guide. Denver, CO: American Water Works Association.
Water Quality and Treatment. 6th ed. 2010. New York: McGraw-Hill and American
Water Works Association (available from AWWA).
WaterQuality.book Page 157 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
WaterQuality.book Page 158 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
159
C H A P T E R 7
Organic Contaminants
All organic compounds or contaminants contain carbon in combination with one or more
elements. Organic compounds comprising the group called hydrocarbons contain only car-
bon and hydrogen (Figures 7-1 and 7-2). Many organics contain carbon, hydrogen, and
oxygen. Naturally occurring organic compounds often contain low concentrations of
nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur. Synthetic organic compounds may contain halogens
for example, chlorine or fluorine, and inorganic metals.
NATURAL ORGANIC SUBSTANCES
Organic compounds differ from inorganic metallic and nonmetallic compounds. In gen-
eral, the following characteristics describe organic compounds, but these may not be
applicable in all cases.
are combustible,
have lower melting and boiling points,
are only slightly soluble in water,
exhibit isomerism, in which more than one compound may exist for a chemical
formula,
have very high molecular weights,
serve as substrate or food for bacteria, and
have slower reaction rates.
Organic compounds find their way into water from three sources. The first source is
humic materials from plants and algae, microorganisms and their secretions, and hydro-
carbons. A few of the aromatic hydrocarbons may cause adverse health effects. Humic
materials are precursors in the formation of trihalomethanes (THMs).
The second source is domestic and commercial activities and effluent from waste-
water treatment plants and industries into surface waters such as rivers.
The third source is reactions that occur during water treatment and transmission.
Groundwater
It is usually rare for groundwater sources to contain elevated levels of natural organic com-
pounds, but one situation in which such levels can occur is in a relatively shallow well over-
lain by an existing or previously swampy area. If the taste, odor, and/or color are excessive,
treatment may have to be provided to make the water palatable in the same manner as for a
surface water source. It is not likely that such naturally occurring contaminants alone will
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160 WATER QUALITY
create a serious health hazard. In such cases, if the amount of organic matter in the ground-
water is relatively modest, it may not adversely affect taste, odor, or color. However, it might
create excessive levels of disinfection by-products (DBPs) when the water is chlorinated.
Groundwater is also occasionally contaminated by naturally occurring hydrocarbons.
In areas where natural gas and oil come in contact with aquifers, the water may be slightly
contaminated but still usable, with treatment, as a drinking water source. If the water is
heavily contaminated, it will probably not be a suitable water source.
Recent studies have shown that groundwater can be contaminated with synthetic
organic compounds (SOCs) created for use by industries (electronics, metals), military uses
FIGURE 7-1 Typical arrangement of carbon atoms
FIGURE 7-2 Typical hydrocarbons in chain configuration
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
Consecutive Chain Branched Chain
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
Ring With One Branch Ring With One Branch
(alternate representation)
Three-Dimensional
Framework
H H
H
H
C H H
H
H
C
H
H
C
H H
H
H
C
H
H
C
H
H
C H H C
H
H
C
H
H
C
H
H
C
H
H
Methane CH
4
Ethane C
2
H
6
Butane C
4
H
10
Propane C
3
H
8
WaterQuality.book Page 160 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
ORGANIC CONTAMINANTS 161
(explosives, rocket fuels) and in the production and use of fossil fuels, such as oxygen enhanc-
ing compounds. Some of these compounds have been found to attach themselves to water
molecules and move through the soil layers to become part of the groundwater makeup.
Surface Water
In general, surface waters are more prone to contamination by natural organic com-
pounds than are groundwaters. The various types of vegetation growing in the watershed
are one source of contamination. Many water systems regularly experience operational
problems caused by decaying leaves and plants that have been washed from farms and for-
ests during heavy rains in the spring and fall. This organic matter is generally decomposed
by biological action and breaks down eventually into carbon dioxide and water. However,
some organic compounds are quite complex and persist in the water environment for
some time. For example, humic acid, derived from the decomposition of plant matter, is
found in most surface waters and does not readily biodegrade (break down).
Microorganisms are another source of organic compounds in water. In addition to
cellular matter, many plants and microorganisms release organic matter into a water
source through their metabolic processes.
Various types of algae and vegetation flourishing in a lake or reservoir can also be the
source of objectionable organic compounds in water. If the concentration of this vegeta-
tion is low, it usually has no adverse effect on drinking water quality. However, a sudden
die-off of the vegetation can cause deterioration in water quality. Some adverse health
effects of large quantities of certain blue-green and red algae may also occur.
Serious taste and odor problems can also be caused when a reservoir becomes strati-
fied and matter near the bottom that has decomposed anaerobically (in the absence of free
oxygen) is brought into the water system. Excessive amounts of algae in source water can
also cause water treatment problems such as taste and odor, filter clogging, and formation
of slime in the treatment plant.
DBPs form when water containing organic substances is disinfected. In most cases,
the organic substances are naturally occurring, such as humic and fulvic acids resulting
from decaying vegetation. A group of chlorinated organic compounds called THMs was
one of the first products of the reaction of chlorine with humic substances to be recog-
nized. The principal THMs of concern are chloroform, bromodichloromethane, chlorodi-
bromomethane, and bromoform. At one time, chloroform was widely used in cough
medicine and other medications, but its use was discontinued when research determined
that chloroform was thought to be carcinogenic. The other THMs are also suspected of
being carcinogens or have been demonstrated to have other adverse health effects such as
possible birth defects. These issues are being studied to determine if any of this is fact.
Thus, the various THMs are regulated as a group, with a maximum contaminant level
(MCL) established for total THMs.
As more knowledge about DBPs develops, additional regulations limiting their con-
centration in finished water are expected. The next DBPs being considered for regulation
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162 WATER QUALITY
are a group of five haloacetic acids, abbreviated as HAA5. DBPs are discussed in more
detail in chapter 1.
Domestic and commercial activities contribute synthetic organic chemicals (SOCs) to
wastewater discharges, agricultural runoff, urban runoff, and leachate from contaminated
soils. Most of the organic contaminants identified in water supplies as having adverse
health concerns are part of this group. They include pesticides (such as atrazine and aldi-
carb), solvents and metal degreasers (such as trichlorobenzene, tetrachloroethylene,
trichloroethylene, and trichloroethane), and a family of compounds formerly in wide use,
the polychlorinated biphenyls.
Organic contaminants formed during water disinfection include by-products such as
THMs (e.g., chloroform) and HAAs (e.g., di- and trichloroacetic acids). Other compounds,
such as acrylamide or epichlorohydrin, are components of coagulants (e.g., polyacrylamide)
that can leach out during treatment. During finished-water transmission, undesirable com-
ponents of pipes, coatings, linings, and joint adhesives, such as polynuclear aromatic hydro-
carbons (PAHs), epichlorohydrin, and solvents, have been shown to leach into water. This
small amount of leaching decreases as the pipe ages.
SYNTHETIC ORGANIC SUBSTANCES
The category of synthetic organic chemicals (SOCs) has become a regulatory rather than a
chemical description. It has evolved to distinguish a group of mostly volatile organic
chemicals (VOCs), regulated first under the 1986 amendments of the federal Safe Drink-
ing Water Act, from SOCs regulated under Phase 2 and later regulations. However,
some of those SOCs are also VOCs (e.g., ethylbenzene, styrene, toluene, and xylenes, and
the fumigant pesticides). The bulk of SOCs are pesticides but also include the PAHs, the
polychlorinated biphenyls, and two water treatment polymers.
HEALTH EFFECTS OF ORGANIC CHEMICALS
The USEPA has designated three health-effects categories for organic chemicals:
Category IIt is known, or there is strong evidence, that the chemical is a carcinogen.
Category IIThere is limited but not positive evidence that the chemical is a carcino-
gen, and there are other known adverse health effects.
Category IIIThere is no firm evidence that the chemical is a carcinogen, but there
are other known adverse health effects.
Noncarcinogens
To the water system operator, the principal significance of a chemicals carcinogenic status is
the way the maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG) is established. For noncarcinogens,
the MCLG is a number indicating the level of the contaminant that health-effects experts
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ORGANIC CONTAMINANTS 163
consider acceptable in drinking water. The MCL is then set at the same level as the MCLG,
or as close to it as is considered technically achievable. The MCLG for these contaminants
will be changed only if new information on their toxicity to humans becomes available.
The noncarcinogenic effects of organic chemicals on humans vary; damage to the
liver, kidneys, cardiovascular system, and central nervous system are the principal effects.
Carcinogens
For carcinogens, USEPA policy is that the MCLG must be zero. In other words, it is pres-
ently assumed that any exposure to the chemical could cause cancer, so ideally none of the
chemical would be present in drinking water.
In the real world, though, there are two restrictions in controlling carcinogens: (1) the
ability to detect the chemical by reasonable and reliable laboratory technique and (2) the
technology to remove the chemical from water if it is found to be present. These factors
are considered when the MCLs are established, and the MCLs are set as close to the
MCLGs as experts consider to be realistically achievable.
From time to time, then, USEPA must review all MCLs for carcinogens, and if the
factors considered in setting the MCL have changed, the MCL will be changed. In short,
the intention is to continually edge the MCL for carcinogens closer to zero, so the allow-
able level is likely to be changed periodically. This may occur as the methods of testing
improve or as further data are reviewed and proven to be of merit. So far the only contam-
inants that have had a change in status are nickel (delisted) and arsenic (MCL reduced
from a level of 50 g/L to 10 g/L).
MEASUREMENT OF ORGANIC COMPOUNDS
No single analytical method is capable of measuring all of the organic substances in a
water sample. However, available analytical methods can be grouped into two categories,
general and specific.
General Analytical Methods
Threshold odor tests, flavor profiles, and color determinations, described in chapter 5,
have been used in the water utility industry for many years to obtain general measures of
the levels of natural organic compounds in water. Two other methods used occasionally in
monitoring water quality are ultraviolet light absorbance and fluorescence. These tests are
used in some plants for control of organic compound removal processes because the mea-
surement can be made quickly and easily.
Another test commonly used to determine the overall content of organic compounds
in water is the measurement of total organic carbon (TOC). The typical concentration of
TOC in water sources ranges from less than 0.5 mg/L to more than 10 mg/L. Highly col-
ored water may have a TOC concentration of more than 30 mg/L.
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164 WATER QUALITY
Total organic halogen (TOX) is another measurement that is being used increasingly
because it is specific to halogenated organic compounds. The presence of TOX in a sample
is an indication of the presence of either synthetic organic compounds or DBPs. Only
fairly sophisticated laboratories are currently capable of carrying out the procedures for
TOC and TOX determinations.
Specific Analytical Methods
The list of organic compounds that have been identified in drinking water samples has
grown from approximately 200 in 1975 to thousands today, and it is constantly lengthen-
ing. In many cases, of course, a compound may have been identified only in isolated sam-
ples or at extremely low concentrations. However, the growth in the list is primarily
because of steadily increasing improvements in analytical methods.
The three fundamental steps in the analysis of organic compounds are
1. extraction and concentration of the organic compounds in the sample,
2. separation of the extracted organic compounds in a gas chromatograph, and
3. detection of individual compounds.
Gas chromatography (Figure 7-3) requires very specialized equipment, detailed pro-
cedures, and trained operators, but in general the three steps are as follows.
Extraction and concentration
Organic substances are first extracted from a water sample. One method uses an organic
solvent such as methylene chloride or pentane. This process is called liquidliquid extrac-
tion. Another method strips the organic compounds out of the sample using an inert gas
such as nitrogen or helium. This process is called purge-and-trap analysis.
Separation
The complex solution must then be separated into its individual organic components. This
process is carried out with a gas chromatograph or a high-performance liquid chromato-
graph. Chromatographs have a column of long, thin tubing through which individual
organic compounds are driven off the sample as the temperature is elevated. Thus, these
processes may be viewed as sophisticated distillation or separation functions.
Detection
As the chromatograph separates the organic compounds by the temperature at which they
are vaporized, they travel to a detector. Several types of detectors are available, each with
certain advantages and disadvantages. The types in general use include flame ionization,
electron capture, electrolytic conductivity, photoionization, and mass spectrometry. An
organic compound is identified by comparing the signal the detector obtains (shown
WaterQuality.book Page 164 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
ORGANIC CONTAMINANTS 165
graphically in a gas chromatograph [GC] generated by the detector) with known stan-
dards for the compound. This process is generally aided by a computer connected to the
equipment.
Figure 7-4 shows a chart produced by a GC, showing the presence of trihalomethanes
in a water sample.
Sampling for Organic Compounds
The location of sampling points in a water distribution system is very important; certain points
should definitely not be used. The following are among typical locations to be avoided:
Public restrooms should not be used as sampling locations because the deodorizer
commonly used in restrooms contains an organic chemical that may be in the air in
sufficient concentration to contaminate the water sample.
Gasoline service stations should be avoided because of the prevalence of petroleum
products that could be in the air or that could have gotten on the sampling faucet.
Any location where there are unusual odors, such as a freshly painted room, or where
there is a smell from cleaning materials, should be avoided.
FIGURE 7-3 Steps in gas chromatography
Oven
Chromatographic Column
Carrier
Gas
Gas Chromatograph
LiquidLiquid Extraction
or
Gas Purge
1. Extraction and Concentration
2. Separation
3. Detection
Time
R
e
s
p
o
n
s
e
Gas Chromatogram Detector
WaterQuality.book Page 165 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
166 WATER QUALITY
A location where a pump or piping has recently been installed or repaired, especially
if organic solvents have been used for cleaning and degreasing, should be avoided
because of the possibility that organic solvents may have been used in the plumbing.
Other unsuitable locations are those where solvents may be present in the atmosphere
such as paint or hardware stores, barber and beauty shops (hair spray, etc.) and dry-
cleaning establishments.
Ultraclean glass vials having lids with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE; trade name
Teflon

) liners are used for collecting volatile organic compound samples. The samples
must be collected so that there is zero headspace in the vial; in other words, there must be
no bubble of air in the vial after it is filled. If any air remains in the vial, a portion of the
more volatile organic compounds will come out of solution and into the air space, which
will cause inaccurate analysis of the water sample. Trip blanks and field blanks should also
be incorporated into the normal sampling practices.
Each sample container must be completely labeled. A general rule is that the descrip-
tion of the sampling site must be complete enough so that a person unfamiliar with the ini-
tial sampling could return and collect a repeat sample from the same location if necessary.
FIGURE 7-4 Sample readout from a gas chromatograph
1
2
3
4
D
e
t
e
c
t
o
r

R
e
s
p
o
n
s
e
Retention Time, minutes
0.00 3.35 4.00 5.20 7.50
Key
1. Chloroform,100 g/L
2. Dichlorobromomethane, 5 g/L
3. Dibromochloromethane, 4 g/L
4. Bromoform, 2 g/L

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ORGANIC CONTAMINANTS 167
SELECTED SUPPLEMENTARY READINGS
AWWA Organic Contaminants Control Committee. 2008. Emerging Organic Contaminants:
What Are They? Opflow, 34(1):1617.
AWWA Organic Contaminants Control Committee. 2008. Treating Water Natures
Way. Opflow, 34(4):1416.
Manual of Water Utility Operations. 8th ed. 1988. Austin, Texas: Texas Water Utilities
Association.
Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. 21st ed. 2005. A.D.
Eaton, L.S. Clesceri, and A.E. Greenberg, eds. Washington, D.C.: American Public
Health Association, American Water Works Association, and Water Environment
Federation.
Water Quality and Treatment. 6th ed. 2010. New York: McGraw-Hill and American
Water Works Association (available from AWWA).
WaterQuality.book Page 167 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
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169
C H A P T E R 8
Radiological Contaminants
One of the more significant public health concerns regarding drinking water is the rela-
tively high level of natural radioactivity found in some water sources. Most radioactivity
in water occurs naturally, but there is also a threat of radionuclide contamination from
various industrial and medical processes.
The harmful effects to a living organism of consuming water containing radioactivity
are caused by the energy absorbed by the cells and tissues of the organism. This absorbed
energy (or dose) produces chemical decomposition of the molecules present in the living
cells. Each of the forms of radiation reacts somewhat differently within the human body.
RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS
A radioactive atom (Figure 8-1) emits alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays.
Alpha Particles (Radiation)
Alpha particles are the most prevalent naturally occurring radionuclide present in drinking
water and are therefore of the greatest concern. Alpha (a) particles are the heaviest particles.
FIGURE 8-1 Emissions from the nucleus of a radioactive atom
Beta
Particle
Alpha
Particle
Gamma Ray
Nucleus of a Radioactive Atom
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170 WATER QUALITY
Alpha radiation is not true electromagnetic radiation like light and X-rays. It consists
of particles of matter. Alpha particles are doubly charged ions of helium. Although they
are propelled from the nucleus of atoms at approximately 10 percent of the speed of light,
they do not travel much more than 10 cm in air at room temperature. They are stopped by
an ordinary sheet of paper. The alpha particles emitted by a particular element are all
released at the same velocity. The velocity varies, however, from element to element. Alpha
particles have extremely high ionizing action within their range.
Beta Radiation
Beta radiation consists of negatively charged particleselectronsthat move at speeds
ranging from 30 to 99 percent of the speed of light. The penetrating power of beta radia-
tion depends on its speed. It can travel several hundred feet in air and can be stopped by
aluminum a few millimeters thick. The ionizing power of beta radiation is much less than
that of alpha radiation.
Gamma Radiation
Gamma radiation is true electromagnetic radiation, which travels at the speed of light. It
is similar to X-ray radiation but has a shorter wavelength and therefore greater penetrat-
ing power, which increases as the wavelength decreases. Proper shielding from gamma
radiation requires a barrier of lead that is several centimeters thick or concrete several feet
thick. The unit of gamma radiation is the photon.
Unit of Radioactivity
The measurement of radioactivity disintegration is expressed in curies. Formerly, one unit
of radioactivity was considered to be the number of disintegrations occurring per second
in one gram of pure radium. Because the constants for radium are subject to revision from
time to time, the International Radium Standard Commission has recommended the use
of a fixed value, 3.7 10
10
disintegrations per second, as the standard curie (Ci).
The curie is used mainly to define quantities of radioactive materials. A curie of an alpha
emitter is that quantity which releases 3.7 10
10
alpha particles per second. A curie of a beta
emitter is that quantity of material which releases 3.7 10
10
beta particles per second, and a
curie of a gamma emitter is that quantity of material which releases 3.7 10
10
photons per sec-
ond. The curie represents such a large number of disintegrations per second that the millicurie
(mCi), microcurie (Ci), and picocurie (pCi)corresponding to 10
3
, 10
6
, and 10
9
curie,
respectivelyare more commonly used.
The roentgen is a unit of gamma or X-ray radiation intensity. It is of value in the study
of the biological effects that result from ionization induced within cells by radiation. The
roentgen is defined as the amount of gamma or X-ray radiation that will produce in one
cubic centimeter of dry air, at 0C and 760 mm pressure, one electrostatic unit (esu) of
WaterQuality.book Page 170 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
RADIOLOGICAL CONTAMINANTS 171
electricity. This is equivalent to 1.61 10
12
ions pairs per gram of air and corresponds to
the absorption of 83.8 ergs of energy.
The roentgen is a unit of the total quantity of ionization produced by gamma radiation
or X-rays. Dosage rates for these radiations are expressed in terms of roentgens per unit time.
With the advent of atomic energy involving exposure to neutrons, protons, and alpha
and beta particleswhich also have effects on living tissueit has become necessary to
have other means of expressing ionization produced in cells. Three methods of expression
have been used.
The roentgen equivalent physical (rep) is defined as that quantity of radiation (other
than X-rays or other generated radiation) which produces in one gram of human tissue
ionization equivalent to the quantity produced in air by one roentgen of radiation or X-
rays (equivalent to 83.8 ergs of energy). The rep has been replaced largely by the term rad,
which has wider application.
The rad (radiation absorption dose) is a unit of radiation corresponding to an energy
absorption of 100 ergs per gram of any medium. It can be applied to any type and energy of
radiation that leads to the production of ionization. Studies of the radiation of biological
materials have shown that the roentgen is approximately equivalent to 100 ergs/g of tissue;
it can be equivalent to 90150 ergs/g of tissue depending on the energy of the X-ray radia-
tion and type of tissue. The rad, therefore, is more closely related to the roentgen than is the
rep, in terms of radiation effects on living tissues, and is the term biologists prefer.
The rad represents such a tremendous radiation dosage, in terms of permissible amounts
for human beings, that another unit has been developed specifically for humans. The term
roentgen equivalent man (rem) is used. It corresponds to the amount of radiation that will
produce an energy dissipation in the human body that is biologically equivalent to one roent-
gen of radiation of X-rays, or approximately 100 ergs/g. The recommended maximum per-
missible dose for radiation workers is 5 rem/year; for nonradiation workers it is 0.5 rem/year.
RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINANTS IN WATER
Humans receive a radiation dose of about 200 millirems (mrem) or 0.2 rem from all
sources each year, and the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) estimates that
on average as much as 3 percent of this dose comes from drinking water. Local conditions
can, of course, greatly alter this proportion.
Some of the radioactive substances currently listed for testing as potential drinking
water contaminants are
Radium,
Uranium,
Radon, and
Artificial radionuclides.
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172 WATER QUALITY
Radium
Radium is the most common radionuclide of concern in drinking water. Naturally occur-
ring radium leaches into groundwater from rock formations, so it is present in water
sources in those parts of the country where there is radium-bearing rock. It may also be
found in surface water as a result of runoff from mining and industrial operations where
radium is present in the soil. The three isotopes (variations) of radium of concern in drink-
ing water are radium 226, which emits principally alpha particles; radium 228, which emits
beta particles and alpha particles from its daughter decay products; and radium 224, which
has a very short half-life of about 3.6 days compared with radium 226 and radium 228,
whose half-lives are measured in years. Currently federal regulations ignore radium 224,
but some states require monitoring for this isotope even though the sampling, shipping,
and testing are difficult to obtain meaningful results.
Uranium
Naturally occurring uranium is found in some groundwater supplies as a result of leaching
from uranium-bearing sandstone, shale, and other rock. Uranium may also occasionally be
present in surface water, carried there in runoff from areas with mining operations. Ura-
nium may be present in a variety of complex ionic forms, depending on the pH of the water.
Radon
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted.
Radon comes from the natural breakdown (radioactive decay) of uranium. It is the direct
radioactive-decay daughter of radium 226. The highest concentrations of radon are found
in soil and rock containing uranium. Significant concentrations, from a health standpoint,
may be found in groundwater from any type of geologic formation, including unconsoli-
dated formations.
Outdoors, radon emitted from the soil is diluted to such low concentrations that it is
not of concern. However, when it is liberated inside a confined space, such as a home or
office building, radon can accumulate to relatively high levels, and inhalation of the gas is
considered a health danger. Most cases of excessive levels of radon in buildings are caused
by the gas seeping through cracks in concrete floors and walls. In areas where high levels
of radon in the soil are a problem, foundation ventilation should be installed to reduce the
concentration of radon entering buildings.
The problem from a public water supply standpoint is that, if radon is present in the
water, a significant amount of the gas will be liberated into a building as water is used. Show-
ers, washing machines, and dishwashers are particularly efficient in transferring radon gas
into the air. The radon released from the water adds to the radon that seeps into a building
from the soil, adding to the health risk.
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RADIOLOGICAL CONTAMINANTS 173
Artificial Radionuclides
Significant levels of artificial radionuclides have been recorded in surface waters as a result
of atmospheric fallout following nuclear testing, leaks, and disasters. Otherwise, surface
water generally contains little or no radioactivity. Potential sources of serious water con-
tamination are accidental discharges from facilities using radioactive materials, such as
power stations, industrial plants, waste-disposal sites, or medical facilities. State and fed-
eral nuclear regulatory agencies monitor all uses of radioactive materials to prevent such
discharges. If an accidental discharge of artificial radionuclides takes place, the elements
most likely to be present are strontium 90 and tritium.
ADVERSE HEALTH EFFECTS OF RADIOACTIVITY
The effects of excessive levels of radioactivity on the human body include developmental
problems, nonhereditary birth defects, genetic effects that might be inherited by future
generations, and various types of cancer. All radionuclides are considered to be carcino-
gens (cancer-causing agents).
Radium is chemically similar to calcium, so about 90 percent of naturally occurring
radium that is ingested goes to the bones. Consequently, the primary risk from radium
ingestion is bone cancer. Uranium has not definitely been proven to be carcinogenic yet
the USEPA has set the MCLG at zero, but it accumulates in the bones, much as radium
228 does, therefore, as a policy matter USEPA considers uranium a carcinogen. The prin-
cipal adverse effect of uranium is toxicity to human kidneys.
Inhaled radon is considered to be a cause of lung cancer. Radon is also thought to
have some noncarcinogenic effects on internal body organs when ingested.
Although the proportion of radon added to a building by the water supply is usually
relatively small in comparison with the amount that seeps into the building from the soil,
the issue of radon in drinking water is still significant because of the many people being
exposed. USEPA estimates that between 1 and 5 million homes in the United States may
have significantly high levels of radon contamination and that between 5,000 and 20,000
lung cancer deaths a year may be attributed to all sources of radon. USEPA has not set, as
of this writing, a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for radon in drinking water.
RADIONUCLIDE MONITORING REQUIREMENTS
The level of restrictions that should be placed on radioactivity in drinking water has been
the subject of extensive research and much debate. Some experts feel that the requirements
should be much more restrictive, and others believe the danger is not serious and the
requirements should be relaxed.
Another factor that has contributed to the dilemma of regulation is the high cost of radi-
onuclide analyses. Although some progress has been made in the form of improved equip-
ment and automated operation, analyses still require expensive equipment and trained staff
to operate it. The cost is kept as low as possible by requiring an initial scan to determine if
WaterQuality.book Page 173 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
174 WATER QUALITY
significant radioactivity is present. Only if the level is higher than a specified point, which is
normally the detection limits for gross alpha or gross beta emitters but can be varied by the
drinking water primacy agency, would it be necessary to progress to further analyses.
Interim Regulations
The MCLs and monitoring requirements for radionuclides that USEPA promulgated as part
of the National Interim Primary Drinking Water Regulations in 1976 were basically as follows:
Combined radium 226 and radium 2285 pCi/L.
Gross alpha particle activity (including radium 226 but excluding radon and ura-
nium)15 pCi/L.
Average annual concentration of beta particle and photon radioactivity from manu-
factured radionuclidesto produce an annual dose equivalent to no greater than
4 mrem/year.
Gross alpha particle activity is used as an initial scan, and if it is less than 3 pCi/L, the
state may allow reduced monitoring frequency in the future. If it is more than 3 pCi/L,
additional analyses for specific radionuclides are required.
Final Regulation Changes
In December 2000, USEPA revised the regulations for radionuclides in drinking water. The
proposal suggested some modified as well as some new MCLs for radon and uranium. The
new standards are shown in Table 8-1. The radon MCL is still being debated at the time of
this publication (as mentioned in chapter 1 the possible implementation date for radon reg-
ulations is 2013 at the earliest.). It is estimated that at least 32,000 community and nontran-
sient, noncommunity water systems in the United States will be out of compliance with the
radon standard if it is established at the proposed level of 300 pCi/L. Discussion is still tak-
ing place on the agreements with the states on the proposed MMM or 3M treatment
technique for radonmeasure, mitigate and monitor at the points of use.
Sampling began in December 2003 and was based on system size. All systems had to
complete their initial monitoring by December 31, 2007. To determine the sampling pro-
gram for each substance at each entry point, any grandfathered data from June 2000
through December 8, 2003, that met the sampling and testing criteria were eligible for use,
except data for beta/photon emitters. The new regulations call for sampling each contami-
nant at each point of entry at a frequency based on the results of the original quarterly
and subsequent follow-up testing (see Table 8-2).
If a parameter is above the MCL, quarterly sampling must continue until the running
annual average is less than the MCL and all the samples used in the running annual aver-
age are below the MCL.
WaterQuality.book Page 174 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
RADIOLOGICAL CONTAMINANTS 175
SELECTED SUPPLEMENTARY READINGS
AWWA Inorganics Committee; AWWA Inorganic Contaminants Research Committee.
2009. Committee Report: A Survey of the Other Inorganics. Journ. AWWA,
101(8):7986.
Lowry, J.D. 1991. Measuring Low Radon Levels in Drinking Water Supplies. Jour.
AWWA, 83(3):149.
Pontius, F.W. 1992. USEPAs Proposed Radon MCL: Too High, Too Low, or Just
Right? Jour. AWWA, 84(10):20.
Pontius, F.W. 1994. Disposal of Radioactive Residuals Requires Careful Planning. Jour.
AWWA, 86(11):18.
TABLE 8-1 USEPAs final regulation for radionuclides in drinking water
Contaminant MCL Notes
Combined radium
226 and 228
5 pCi/L This remains the same as the interim standard of 5 pCi
combined radium 226 and 228
Uranium 30 g/L New standard; based on chemical toxicity so is a
weight-based standard
Alpha emitters 15 pCi/L Called adjusted gross alpha; calculated as gross alpha
activity minus radium 226 and uranium activity
Beta particle 4 mrem/year Primarily applicable to manufactured radiation and
photon emitters
TABLE 8-2 USEPA sampling frequency for radionuclides in drinking water for individual
contaminants at each entry point
Frequency Reason
Nine years Results of testing are below the detection limit of approved method
Six years Results of testing are equal to or above the detection limit but equal
to or less than one half the MCL
Three years Results of testing are equal to or greater than one half the MCL and
equal to or less than the MCL
Quarterly Results of the testing are greater than the MCL
WaterQuality.book Page 175 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
176 WATER QUALITY
Radioactivity in Drinking Water. 1991. Criteria and Standards Division, US
Environmental Protection Agency. Washington, D.C.: USEPA.
Water Quality and Treatment. 6th ed. 2010. New York: McGraw-Hill and American
Water Works Association (available from AWWA).
Wong, J.M. 2008. Radioactive! Treating Contaminated Water. Opflow, 34(5):2427.
WaterQuality.book Page 176 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
177
C H A P T E R 9
Customer Inquiries and
Complaint Investigation
Responding positively to customers inquiries and concerns about water quality can be
very beneficial for water utilities in many ways. The process of responding gives operators
an additional tool in tracking water quality through the distribution system and determin-
ing what customer concerns are. A customer complaint may be an early indication of a
quality problem. In addition, customers confidence in the quality of the water may be
strengthened by professionally conducted investigations into their concerns.
The previous chapters have established the basis for gathering the data and improving
the operators knowledge of water quality and the effectiveness of the treatment process.
These data are also useful in providing customers with the information they need to assure
themselves that the water they are receiving is safe. In addition, the data provide the infor-
mation needed to produce the annual consumer confidence report (CCR) as required by
regulation (see Chapter 1).
A telephone discussion withand, if needed, a visit froma well-informed utility
employee can certainly improve the utilitys public image for customers. Such discussions
or visits are also opportunities to educate customers regarding the utilitys operations and
water quality.
Water treatment professionals should keep themselves informed not only about
changes in regulations and government press releases, but also about any media articles
relating to possible water quality, such as main breaks, boil-water orders, and outbreaks
or potential outbreaks of diseases in the area or nation. This way you will be better pre-
pared to handle the questions and concerns of your customers.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES
Inquiries regarding water quality should be handled promptly and courteously. Many of
these are health- or aesthetics-related such as the quantity of fluoride, hardness, triha-
lomethane levels, or other parameters. Others may be as simple as whether the water
source is surface water or groundwater. These may be driven by a request from a medical
person for treatment or by news articles or discussions with relatives or friends.
When a complaint is received, an investigation should be undertaken according to the
philosophy that the customer would not be calling if there was not a problem. On average, a
water utility receives complaints from approximately less than 1 percent of its customers;
thus you may have a larger problem than the number of callers reflects. The problem might
be real or only perceived; regardless, the customer has a problem and would like it resolved.
The caller may be angry, frustrated, embarrassed, or uncomfortable about calling, so the
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178 WATER QUALITY
receiver of the call should allow the customer to explain the reason for calling before starting
to ask questions. Always obtain the customers name and address at the beginning of the dis-
cussion, which offers reassurance that you are interested and are focused on the area of con-
cern. This is a good approach for customers who are in a highly emotional state, because it
gives them the opportunity to vent their feelings so they can discuss the subject calmly.
The first order of business is to define the problem. The customer may not know how
to explain exactly what is bothering her or exactly what questions to ask. The receiver
should repeat to the customer what he has heard: You said, Mrs. Smith, that the water
coming from your water faucets is brown and has an odor? or You indicate that your
family is ill from drinking the water? With the problem established and agreed on, fur-
ther questions may be asked to gain details.
Complaint or Inquiry Form
It is helpful for the receiver to have a form to fill out while taking the complaint or inquiry.
The form should have three parts:
1. The receiving information, including name, address, phone number, date, and time
and type of complaint.
2. The investigation results, including lab results.
3. A description of the final disposition, including the customers satisfaction with the
investigation.
Investigation
Although it is often difficult, the investigator should approach the problem with an open
mind, having no preconceived notions about any part of the investigation. The customer
should be asked again to explain the problem, and the investigation should be limited to
that problem only.
In most investigations, water samples should be collected at a cold-water tap before
any customer treatment, either to confirm the problem or to prove that the water being
delivered to the premises matches the general condition of the water in the distribution
system. Temperature and chlorine residual should be tested on-site, and a general chemi-
cal sample (hardness, pH, alkalinity, and the like) and a bacteriological sample should be
collected for analysis in the lab.
If the solution to the problem is obvious, the customer should be informed immedi-
ately. If the solution is the customers responsibility, the investigator should advise the cus-
tomer about ways and means to implement the solution. If the solution is the utilitys
responsibility, the investigator should advise the customer how the utility will deal with
the problem if possible. If the problem is a perceived onethat is, not really a problem
the investigator must communicate this information tactfully to the customer.
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CUSTOMER INQUIRIES AND COMPLAINT INVESTIGATION 179
Final Disposition
Regardless of the details of the investigation, the investigator should carry it through to a
resolution. The customer should be notified of any laboratory results, kept advised of the
investigations progress, and contacted on its conclusion to ascertain his or her satisfac-
tion. The final result should be a satisfied customer. The completed complaint form
should be kept on file for future reference.
SPECIFIC COMPLAINTS
A vast majority of complaints fall into one or more of the following categories:
Objectionable taste and/or odor
Objectionable appearance of the water
Stained laundry and plumbing fixtures
Illness alleged to be caused by the drinking water
Taste and Odor
Surveys have shown that taste-and-odor complaints are the type received most frequently
by most water utilities, especially utilities treating surface waters. Sources of compounds
that cause taste and odor problems may be natural or may be caused by pollution. Natu-
ral compounds result from plant growth including algae or animal activities in the water-
shed or source water. Most such natural compounds produce fishy, earthy, or manure-type
tastes and odors. Industrial and agricultural/residential discharges into water sources gen-
erally produce chemical or medicinal tastes and odors.
Human perceptions of tastes and odors are highly variable. How individuals define
what they taste and smell depends on many factors, such as the persons age, health, previ-
ous experiences, level of sensitivity, and other senses as they interact with taste and smell.
An individual cannot describe an odor as potato bin if he/she has not smelled a potato
bin. And it is not unusual for an individual to think he/she detects an odor in cloudy or
colored water because of what he/she sees. All these factors make the investigation of
taste-and-odor complaints very tricky.
Receiving information
Once it has been established that taste and odor are the subjects of a complaint, the cus-
tomer should be asked to describe what she/he tastes or smells and what the source
appears to befor example, hot or cold faucets, kitchen sink, bathroom sink, or bathtub.
It should also be determined at this point if there are customer-owned water treatment
devices installed in the line and how long the problem has been evident. It is important for
the investigator to know this information.
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180 WATER QUALITY
Investigating
The investigator should try smelling and/or tasting the water from the same faucets in
which the customer has noticed the condition. To protect the investigator from a possible
contaminant in the home that could affect his/her health, the recommendation is to smell
first and taste (using a clean laboratory container) only if the odor is acceptable. If no taste
or odor is detected in the cold water, water from the hot-water system can be tested. Many
taste- and odor-causing compounds are volatile and can be tasted or smelled more readily
from hot water. It may also be possible that the taste or odor exists only in the hot water, in
which case the problem can be immediately located in the residences hot-water system.
If a customer detects an odor when it is already known that the water system is experi-
encing a taste-and-odor episode, allow the customer to describe the taste or odor to ensure
it is from the known condition. In such a case, the source of the problem can be explained
to the customer over the phone. If a customers detection of an odor appears to be an iso-
lated case, further investigation is required. If the investigation reveals no odor, more inves-
tigation may still be necessary to convince the customer that the problem is only a
perceived one. In any case, samples should be collected for study at the plant or laboratory.
In conducting the investigation, the investigator should attempt to imagine the many
potential sources of taste and odor. Following is a list of some of the more probable causes
and situations.
A general taste-and-odor incident is occurring in the source water, and the caller is the
first customer who has complained.
The customers water service is connected to a dead end or to a low-flow main in the
distribution system, and stagnant water is being drawn into the residences water service.
A cross connection has drawn some foreign substance into the water system.
Water system maintenance in the vicinity has stirred up stagnant water or sediment in
the mains.
Waste plumbing or the trap under the sink or bathtub is what is actually causing the
odor problem.
The taste or odor is originating in the hot-water system in the residence.
If a home water conditioner (water softener, carbon filter, or the like) is being used, it
could be causing the problem.
Customers who are in poor health or are elderly may be more inclined to imagine a
problem.
Customers may actually be tasting or smelling something that is not in the water sup-
ply (for example, medication they are taking).
The customer may be noticing the effect of some recent plumbing work in the build-
ing that resulted from a change in piping or from the cleaning solution the plumber or
heating contractor used.
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CUSTOMER INQUIRIES AND COMPLAINT INVESTIGATION 181
There may be a cross connection from a sink, garden hose, or flush valve in a toilet, or
contractor in the area may be using a system hydrant and allowing foreign material
into the customers water system.
Electrical problems may also be causing a problem, either a bad ground in the cus-
tomers building or something outside the home such as a power utility grounding
condition (after a lightning storm) or from stray current from electrical rail lines, trol-
leys, or passenger trains in the area.
After 9/11, one must also consider that there is the possibility of deliberate contami-
nation, which makes the investigation a priority.
Disposition of the complaint
After the problem has been identified, appropriate action must be taken. If the problem is
within the jurisdiction of the utility, corrective measures must begin as soon as possible. If
the problem is isolated within a residence, the investigator must work with the customer by
advising her/him of the steps she/he can take to eliminate the problem. In all cases, the
customer must be kept advised of all the steps being taken to solve the problem, including
the results of any laboratory testing. After the problem has been solved, the customer
should be contacted to verify her/his satisfaction with the situation.
Physical Appearance
Customers generally expect clear, odorless water to be available from their taps at all
times. When the water deviates from this norm, they become concerned and report their
concern to the water utility. The physical appearance of water can be affected adversely by
such things as excess air in the water, sediment from disturbed water lines, rust, particulate
matter, bugs, or worms. The latter two have been noted in systems providing drinking
water from unfiltered surface water supplies (some large cities, because of their watershed
protection programs, are allowed to operate unfiltered surface water systems) or, in the
past, from areas where the finished-water reservoirs are open to the atmosphere. Currently
all finished-water reservoirs must be covered. A purveyor that has been granted an exemp-
tion must provide filtration and disinfection before water from the uncovered reservoir
reaches the public.
Receiving information
The receiver of the complaint call needs to obtain an exact description of the offending
appearance of the water and when the customer first noticed it. On some calls, the receiver
may be able to diagnose the problem and offer assistance over the phone, particularly if
the cause is already known from a previous investigation in the same area or if there is a
general condition being experienced at the time.
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182 WATER QUALITY
Investigating
The investigator must observe the appearance of the water to develop information from
which to draw conclusions and offer solutions. In some cases, it may be necessary to ana-
lyze material in the water chemically or under a microscope. When the material and the
source have been identified, the investigator can take steps to correct the problem.
One rather common complaint received by some water systems is that the water is
cloudy when all it contains is entrained air. Sometimes the callers are new customers
who had not seen entrained air in the water where they lived before, but complaints may
also come from old customers who may just be noticing the phenomenon for the first
time. The problem occurs at certain times of the year, especially in cold-weather months,
when the water becomes saturated with air. Because a cold pressurized liquid holds more
gas than a warm liquid when the water warms in the customers building, the extra air is
released, similarly to how it is released from a water heater. When a glass of water is filled
bubbles are released, making the water look cloudy when it is fresh from the tap. The
cloudiness quickly clears, though, starting almost immediately at the bottom of the glass
and moving upward; the water is completely clear in a minute or so. This cloudiness can
also be the result of a defective faucet aerator or a throttled valve causing a restriction in
the pipeline and a drop in pressure that releases air. Another source of cloudy water can
be bad check valves in air compressors or compressed gas cylinders tied into water lines
such as you would find in medical facilities or food vending locations.
Disposition of the complaint
Most complaints of dirty or discolored water due to dissolved or suspended matter in the
mains can be cleared up by flushing the distribution system and the customers plumbing.
Regardless, once the problem and source have been identified, the investigator must follow
through to a conclusion. Again, the utility must take action if the problem falls under its
jurisdiction, and the investigator should suggest solutions to the customer if the problem
is isolated in the residence.
Staining of Laundry and Plumbing Fixtures
Staining of laundry and plumbing fixtures can occur when the water contains iron, man-
ganese, or copper in solution. It is relatively common for there to be some dissolved iron
and manganese.
When a groundwater system pumps directly from wells to the distribution system, the
water is generally clear as it comes from the customers tap. However, after the water is
exposed to air in a bathtub, toilet, or washing machine, iron oxidizes to red-brown ferric
hydroxide precipitate. In some situations iron is partially or completely oxidized in the
water mains, and customers get discolored water either continuously or sporadically.
The iron precipitate causes laundered white clothes to have an off-white color, and
brown stains build up on porcelain fixtures. A particularly exasperating problem for cus-
tomers is that, as they repeatedly scour the porcelain fixtures to remove the discoloration,
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CUSTOMER INQUIRIES AND COMPLAINT INVESTIGATION 183
they slowly break down the porcelains surface glaze, exposing the more porous ceramic
below; these areas then become discolored even faster and are harder to clean. In this case
there is generally no recourse but to replace the fixtures.
Another common complaint from customers when the iron content is high is that cof-
fee and tea turn so dark they look like ink. This darkness is caused by a reaction of the
iron with the tannic acid in the beverages.
Manganese is often present with iron in groundwater and may cause similar staining
problems, except that a dark-brown to black staining precipitate is formed.
Copper staining is usually most objectionable when it creates blue-green stains on
plumbing fixtures. Copper staining is caused by aggressive water that dissolves copper
from the customers piping system. Copper release from the customers piping can also be
caused by stray electrical currents, such as a bad ground or other situation (e.g., an appli-
ance or water fountain with electrical cooling); under these conditions the exterior of the
copper piping may develop a black coating.
Receiving information
The receiver of the complaint call needs to obtain a description of the problem and the
customers location. If the cause is already known from previous complaints, it may be
possible to give the customer advice over the phone about removing the stains or prevent-
ing future stains.
Investigating
If the complaint is new for the system or for a particular area of the system, the investiga-
tor should visit the customer and observe the problem. In some cases, staining can occur
as a result of a local problem such as a dead-end main, and special corrective action may
be possible.
Disposition of the complaint
If the problem is only a local condition, it may be possible to correct it by flushing mains
in the area. If the problem recurs regularly in the area, it may be necessary to set up a reg-
ular schedule for flushing the mains.
If the problem is found to be general throughout the system, the utility should take
steps to provide treatment to prevent staining from occurring. Methods of iron and man-
ganese control are covered in Water Treatment, another book in this series.
Illness Caused by Water
Contaminated drinking water can cause illness, and customers generally have been made
aware of this fact through information from educational institutions, the media, or their
doctor. Some customers call the water utility after visiting a doctor who says that one
source of their illness could be drinking water. Depending on the type of illness, the doctor
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184 WATER QUALITY
or medical facility is obligated to report the findings to health authorities up to and
including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The utility may then be
dealing with the local, county, state, or federal agency assigned to investigate the alleged
incident.
Receiving information
Calls concerning waterborne illness may be some of the most difficult to handle. In many
cases, the customer is unsure of terminology and does not know what questions to ask to
initiate the investigation. The receiver of the complaint must be very sensitive in attempt-
ing to gain information. Very seldom, with the exceptions of Giardia and Cryptosporidium,
will the infectious agent be known.
The chances of illness being caused by contamination of a well-run public water sys-
tem are quite remote, but it does happen, so the customers complaint cannot be immedi-
ately discounted. The receiver needs to determine the symptoms of the illness, the number
of people in the household who are affected, and whether the illness has been diagnosed
by a physician. The receiver must be very careful not to sound as if he/she has medical
knowledge when responding to or asking questions.
Investigating
Generally, in customer-initiated calls, the customers are seeking to learn whether drinking
water is a potential source of their illness. The investigators job is to provide enough infor-
mation that customers can reach their own conclusions regarding water quality.
Even if the person has an illness that is known as a waterborne disease, such as giardi-
asis or cryptosporidiosis, the illness could have been contracted through a source other
than the water system. The vast majority of cases are actually contracted through person-
to-person contact, although an occasional case of giardiasis can be traced to a persons
contact with untreated water during a camping or fishing trip.
Nevertheless, a sample for bacteriological analysis should be drawn from a cold-water
tap along with a sample for general chemical analysis to set the customers mind at ease. A
chlorine residual test should be conducted in the presence of the customer and the results
explained. The investigator should tell the customer that the bacteriological analysis will
determine the presence or absence of coliform bacteria and that these coliform bacteria are
an indicator for the possibility of pathogenic microorganisms being in the supply. It should
further be explained that the chemical analysis will compare the customers tap water with
the water being served to her/him from the distribution system. This will allow the investi-
gator to determine whether a problem was occurring in that part of the system or the per-
sons residents, possibly a cross connection. An innocent-looking water line penetrating an
outside wall may be connected to an undocumented alternate water source, or possibly
contamination could occur from an unknown customer filter, or mixed plumbingsuch as
a sprinkler system or treatment device.
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CUSTOMER INQUIRIES AND COMPLAINT INVESTIGATION 185
The investigator should also explain to the customer what precautions are taken to
protect the water supply and how the water is treated by the utility. The customer should
be encouraged to consult with a physician if that has not been done.
If investigations indicate the possibility that a waterborne illness is occurring, it is
prudent and necessary that the utility notify the primacy agency and possibly also the
state and/or local health departments and request their assistance.
Disposition of the complaint
The results of the bacteriological and chemical analyses should be relayed to the customer
as soon as possible and a discussion held as to the customers perception of the investiga-
tion. The complaint form should be filed for future reference.
SELECTED SUPPLEMENTARY READINGS
Burlingame, G.A. 2010. Taste at the Tap A Consumers Guide to Tap Water Flavor.
Denver, CO: American Water Works Association.
Hack, D.J. 1990. Phew! My Hot Water Smells Like Rotten Eggs. Opflow, 16(7):1.
Reinert, R.H. 1992. Quality Is Defined by the Customer. Jour. AWWA, 84(8):20.
Stubbart, J., W.C. Lauer, and T.J. McCandless. 2004. AWWA Water Operator Field
Guide. Denver, CO: American Water Works Association.
Water Quality Complaint Investigators Field Guide. 2004. Denver, CO: American Water
Works Association.
Wert, E. 2003. Solving the Mystery of Green Sand and Water. Opflow, 24(3):1821.
WaterQuality.book Page 185 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
WaterQuality.book Page 186 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
187
Glossary
AA See atomic absorption spectrophotometer.
absence See negative sample.
acidity Base neutralizing power.
agar A nutrient preparation used to grow bacterial colonies in the laboratory. Agar is
poured into petri dishes to form agar plates or into culture tubes to form agar slants.
air-strip To remove gases from water by passing large volumes of air through the water.
algae Primitive plants (one- or many-celled) that usually live in water and are capable of
obtaining their food by photosynthesis.
alkalinity Acid neutralizing power.
alpha particle A positively charged particle given off by certain radioactive substances.
It consists of two protons and two neutrons and is converted into an atom of
helium by the acquisition of two electrons.
alum The most common chemical used for coagulation. It is also called aluminum sulfate.
anaerobic Characterized by the absence of air or free oxygen.
analytical balance A sensitive balance used to make precise weight measurements.
anosmia The partial loss or desensitizing of the sense of smell.
apparent color Includes true color and color caused by suspended matter.
aspirate To remove a fluid from a container by suction.
aspirator A T-shaped plumbing fixture connected to a water faucet. It creates a partial
vacuum for filtering operations.
atom The basic structural unit of matter; the smallest particle of an element that can
combine chemically with similar particles of the same or other elements to form
molecules of a compound.
atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AA) A spectrophotometer used to determine the
concentration of metals in water and other types of samples.
atomic absorption spectrophotometric method An analytical technique used to identify the
constituents of a sample by detecting which frequencies of light the sample absorbs.
autoclave A device used for sterilizing laboratory equipment by using pressurized steam.
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188 WATER QUALITY
autoclaved Sterilized with steam at elevated temperature and pressure.
bacterial aftergrowth Growth of bacteria in treated water after the water reaches the dis-
tribution system.
balance An instrument used to measure weight.
BAT See best available technology.
beaker A container with an open top, vertical sides, and a pouring lip used for mixing
chemicals.
beam balance See single-pan balance.
best available technology (BAT) The best technology, treatment techniques, or other
means that are available for treatment of a water quality problem and that have
been found to be practical under field conditions.
beta particle An electron ejected from the nucleus of certain radioactive substances.
biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) A measurement of the amount of oxygen used in the
biochemical oxidation of organic matter over a specified time (usually five days)
and at a specific temperature (usually 35C). Used to indicate the level of con-
tamination in water or contamination potential of a waste.
BOD See biochemical oxygen demand.
borosilicate glass A type of heat-resistant glass used for labware.
breakpoint The point at which the chlorine dosage has satisfied the chlorine demand.
breakpoint chlorination The addition of chlorine to water until the chlorine demand has
been satisfied and free chlorine residual is available for disinfection.
buffering capacity The capability of water or chemical solution to resist a change in pH.
burette A graduated glass tube fitted with a stopcock, used to dispense solutions during
titration.
burner A high-temperature-heating device that uses natural or bottled gas. Also called a
gas burner or Bunsen burner.
calcium carbonate Scale-forming substance in water.
calibrate To adjust a measuring instrument so that it gives the correct result with a
known concentration or sample.
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GLOSSARY 189
carcinogen Any substance that causes cancer.
chlorination The process of adding chlorine to water to kill disease-causing organisms or
to act as an oxidizing agent.
chlorine demand The quantity of chlorine consumed by reaction with substances in
water.
Ci See curie.
coagulation The water treatment process that causes very small suspended particles to
attract one another and form larger particles. This process is accomplished by
adding a chemical, called a coagulant, that neutralizes the electrostatic charges
on the particles that cause them to repel one another.
coliform bacteria A group of bacteria predominantly inhabiting the intestines of
humans or animals but also occasionally found elsewhere. Presence of the bacte-
ria in water is used as an indication of fecal contamination (contamination by
human or animal wastes).
coliforms (total coliforms) See coliform bacteria.
colony counter An instrument used to count bacterial colonies for the standard plate
count test.
color A physical characteristic of water. Color is most commonly tan or brown due to
oxidized iron, but contaminants may cause other colors, such as green or blue.
Different from turbidity, which is the cloudiness of water. See true color and
apparent color for further explanations.
color comparator A device used for tests such as chlorine residual or pH. Concentra-
tions of constituents are determined by visual comparison of a permanent stan-
dard (usually sealed in glass or plastic) and a water sample.
colorimeter An instrument that measures the concentration of a constituent in a sample
by measuring the intensity of color in that sample. The color is usually created by
mixing a chemical reagent with the water sample according to a specific test
procedure.
colorimetric method Any analytical method that measures a constituent in water by deter-
mining the intensity of color in the water. The color is usually produced when a
chemical solution specified by the particular procedure is added to the water.
color unit (cu) The unit of measure of the color of water, measured by comparing the
color of a water sample with the color of a standard solution.
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190 WATER QUALITY
combined chlorine residual The chlorine residual produced by the reaction of chlorine
with substances in the water. Because the chlorine is combined it is not as
effective a disinfectant as free chlorine residual. In water treatment, this usually
refers to compounds formed by the combination of chlorine and ammonia.
community public water system As defined by the National Primary Drinking Water
Regulations, a system that serves at least 15 service connections or at least 25
full-time residents 60 or more days per year.
complaint investigation A professionally conducted investigation of a customers water
quality complaint.
completed test The third major step of the multiple-tube fermentation method. This test
confirms that positive results from the presumptive test are due to coliform bac-
teria. See also confirmed test; presumptive test.
composite sample A series of individual or grab samples taken at different times from
the same sampling point and mixed together.
compound microscope A microscope with two or more lenses.
confirmed test The second major step of the multiple-tube fermentation method. This
test confirms that positive results from the presumptive test are due to coliform
bacteria. See also completed test; presumptive test.
cross-connection Any connection between a safe drinking water supply and a nonpota-
ble water or other fluid. Also called cross-contamination.
C T value The product of the residual disinfectant concentration C in milligrams per
liter, and the corresponding disinfectant contact time T in minutes, or C T.
Minimum C T values are specified by the Surface Water Treatment Rule as a
means of ensuring adequate kill or inactivation of pathogenic microorganisms in
water.
cu See color unit.
culture tube A hollow, slender glass tube with an open top and a rounded bottom used
in microbiological testing procedures such as the multiple-tube fermentation test.
curie (Ci) The activity of 1 g of radium, or 3.7 10
10
disintegrations/sec.
cyst A resistant form of a living organism.
D/DBPs See disinfectantsdisinfection by-products.
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GLOSSARY 191
deionizer A device used to remove all dissolved inorganic ions from water.
deluge shower A safety device used to wash chemicals off the body quickly.
desiccator A tightly sealed container used to cool heated items before they are weighed.
This procedure prevents the items from picking up moisture in the air and
increasing the weight.
dilution bottle A type of heat-resistant glass bottle used for diluting bacteriological sam-
ples before analysis. Also called milk dilution bottle or French square.
disinfectants/disinfection By-Products (D/DBPs) A term used in connection with state
and federal regulations designed to protect public health by limiting the concen-
tration of either disinfectants or the by-products formed by the reaction of disin-
fectants with other substances in the water (such as the natural decomposition
products of organic matter, leaves, algae, bacteria, etc.).
disposition of complaint An official completion of a complaint investigation, including
an assessment of customer satisfaction.
dissolved oxygen (DO) The oxygen dissolved in water, wastewater, or other liquid, usu-
ally expressed in milligrams per liter, parts per million, or percent of saturation.
dissolved solids Any material that is dissolved in water and can be recovered by evapora-
tion of the water after filtering the suspended material. Also called filterable residue.
diurnal effect Related to daily activity and daytime hours versus nocturnal events or
nighttime hours. Can be seen as a daily pattern or trend (for example, daylight
causing algae to grow, which increases dissolved oxygen and pH while nighttime
will initiate the reverse effect).
DO See dissolved oxygen.
double-pan balance A balance that weighs material by counterbalancing material placed
on one pan with brass weights placed on the other pan.
EC See electrical conductivity.
E. coli See Escherichia coli.
EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) A chemical used to sequester, or tie up, calcium
and magnesium ions; used in the hardness test.
electrical conductivity (EC) A test that measures the ability of water to transmit electricity.
Electrical conductivity is an indicator of dissolved-solids concentration.
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192 WATER QUALITY
Normally an EC of 1,000 mho/cm
2
indicates a dissolved solids concentration of
600700 mg/L.
electrode method Any analytical procedure that uses an electrode connected to a milli-
voltmeter to measure the concentration of a constituent in water.
electrophotometer A photometer that uses different colored-glass filters to produce
wavelengths desired for analyses. Also called a filter photometer.
Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (ESWTR) A revision of the original Surface
Water Treatment Rule that includes new technology and requirements to deal
with newly identified problems.
equilibrium A balanced condition in which the rate of formation and the rate of con-
sumption of a constituent or constituents are equal.
Erlenmeyer flask A bell-shaped container used for heating and mixing chemicals and
culture media.
Escherichia coli (E. coli) A bacteria of the coliform group used as a substitute for fecal
coliforms in the regulations of the Total Coliform Rule.
ESWTR See Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule.
evaporating dish A glass or porcelain dish in which samples are evaporated to dryness
using high heat.
eyewash A safety device used to wash chemicals from the eyes. One type of device
resembles a drinking fountain and directs a gentle spray of water into each eye.
fecal coliform A bacteria of the coliform group indicative of fecal contamination. The
presence of fecal coliform in a water sample is a reportable violation of the Total
Coliform Rule.
field blank In organics sampling, a sample created in the field using the same sample
container but pouring a sample at the collection site using laboratory-grade
organic free water to determine if there is any contamination in the air at the
sampling location (normally only run if regular sample shows contamination).
filter (laboratory) A porous layer of paper, glass fiber, or cellulose acetate used to
remove particulate matter from water samples and other chemical solutions.
filter paper Paper with pore size usually between 5 and 10 m used to clarify chemical
solutions, collect particulate matter, and separate solids from liquids.
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GLOSSARY 193
filter photometer See electrophotometer.
filterable residue See dissolved solids.
filtering crucible A small porcelain container with holes in the bottom, used in the total
suspended solids test. Also known as a Gooch crucible.
flaming The process of passing a flame over the end of a faucet to kill bacteria before
taking a water sample for bacteriological sampling. The procedure is no longer
recommended because it may damage the faucet and is of questionable benefit.
flask A container, often narrow at the top, used for holding liquids. There are many
types of flasks, each with its own specific name and use.
flocculation The water treatment process following coagulation that uses gentle stirring
to bring suspended particles together so they will form larger, more settleable
clumps called floc.
flow-proportional composite A composite sample in which individual sample volumes
are proportional to the flow rate at the time of sampling.
free available chlorine residual The residual formed once all the chlorine demand has
been satisfied. The chlorine no longer combines with other constituents in the
water and is free to kill microorganisms.
French square See dilution bottle.
full-face shield A shatterproof plastic shield worn to protect the face from flying parti-
cles and chemicals.
fume hood A large enclosed cabinet equipped with a fan to vent fumes from the labora-
tory. Mixing and heating of chemicals are done under the hood to prevent fumes
from spreading through the laboratory.
funnel A utensil used in the laboratory for pouring liquids into flasks and other contain-
ers. Laboratory funnels are either glass or plastic.
gamma ray A form of electromagnetic radiation emitted in nuclear decay.
gas chromatography (GC) A technique used to measure the concentration of organic
compounds in water.
gas chromatographymass spectrophotometry (GCMS) A very sophisticated analytical
technique for analyzing and identifying organic compounds.
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194 WATER QUALITY
GC See gas chromatography.
GCMS See gas chromatographymass spectrophotometry.
genetic effect A health effect that shows up in subsequent generations.
glass-fiber filter Filters made of uniform glass fibers with pore sizes 0.7 to 2.7 m. Used
to filter fine particles and algae while maintaining a high flow rate.
Gooch crucible See filtering crucible.
grab sample A single water sample collected at one time from a single point.
graduated cylinder A tall, cylindrical glass or plastic container with quantity graduation
marks on the side and a pouring lip; used for measuring liquids quickly without
great accuracy.
gravimetric procedure Any analytical procedure that uses the weight of a constituent to
determine its concentration.
groundwater under the direct influence of surface water (GWUDI) A term used in state
and federal regulations to designate groundwater sources that are considered vulner-
able to contamination from surface water. Systems using such sources must generally
provide monitoring and treatment as if they were using a surface water source.
GWUDI See groundwater under the direct influence of surface water.
HAA5 Total concentration of the five haloacetic acids. See also haloacetic acids.
half-life (radioactive) The time required for one-half of a radioactive isotope to decay.
haloacetic acids Chemicals formed as a reaction of disinfectants with contaminants in
water, consisting of monochloroacetic acid, dichloroacetic acid, trichloroacetic
acid, monobromoacetic acid, and dibromoacetic acid.
hardness A characteristic of water caused primarily by the salts of calcium and magne-
sium. Causes deposition of scale boilers, damage in some industrial processes,
and sometimes objectional taste; may also decrease the effectiveness of soap.
herbicide A compound, usually a synthetic organic chemical, used to stop or retard
plant growth.
heterotrophic plate count (HPC) A laboratory procedure for estimating the total bacte-
rial count in a water sample. Also called standard plate count, total plate count, or
total bacterial count.
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GLOSSARY 195
hot plate An electrical heating unit used in a laboratory to heat solutions.
HPC See heterotrophic plate count.
ICPMS See inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.
ICR See Information Collection Rule.
incubate To maintain microorganisms at a temperature and in an environment favor-
able to their growth.
incubator A heated container that maintains a constant temperature for development of
microbiological cultures.
indicator A chemical solution used to produce a visible change, usually in color, at a
desired point in a chemical reaction, generally a prescribed end point.
indicator organisms Microorganisms whose presence indicates the presence of fecal con-
tamination in water.
inductively coupled plasmamass spectrometry (ICPMS) A method for determining
what metals are present in a water or wastewater sample using an argon plasma
flame to ionize the metals and then separate them in the mass spectrometer,
which determines the mass (atomic weight) of the substance and the quantity
present.
Information Collection Rule (ICR) A federal regulation requiring large water systems to
collect special information to build up a database that will assist in the develop-
ment of new monitoring and treatment regulations.
inorganic chemical A chemical substance of mineral origin not having carbon in its
molecular structure.
insecticide A compound, usually a synthetic organic chemical, used to kill insects.
IOC See inorganic chemical.
iodometric method A procedure for determining the concentration of dissolved oxygen
in water, also known as the modified Winkler method.
iron bacteria Bacteria that use dissolved iron as an energy source. They can create seri-
ous problems in a water system because they form large masses that clog well
screens, pumps, and other equipment.
ion-exchange resin Beadlike material that removes ions from water; used in deionizers.
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196 WATER QUALITY
isotopes Varieties of the same element with different masses (different number of neutrons).
jar test apparatus An automatic stirring machine equipped with three to six paddles and
a variable-speed-motor drive. Used to conduct the jar test for evaluating the
coagulation, flocculation, and sedimentation processes.
labware Any of a variety of laboratory equipmentwhether plastic, glass, metal or
other materialused in the preparation and analysis of samples in a laboratory.
Langelier saturation index (LSI) A numerical index that indicates whether calcium car-
bonate will be deposited or dissolved in a distribution system. The index is a gen-
eral indicator of the corrosivity of water.
magnetic stirrer A device used for mixing chemical solutions in the laboratory.
maximum contaminant level (MCL) The maximum permissible level of a contaminant in
water as specified in the regulations of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG) Nonenforceable health-based goals pub-
lished along with the promulgation of an MCL. Originally called recommended
maximum contaminant levels (RMCLs).
maximum residual disinfectant level (MRDL) The maximum free chlorine, chloramine,
and chlorine dioxide residual allowable in distribution-system water.
MCL See maximum contaminant level.
MCLG See maximum contaminant level goal.
membrane filter A filter made of cellulose acetate with a uniform small pore size. Used
for microbiological examination.
membrane filter (MF) method A laboratory method used for coliform testing. The pro-
cedure uses an ultrathin filter with a uniform pore size smaller than bacteria
less than a micron. After water is forced through the filter, the filter is incubated
in a special media that promotes the growth of coliform bacteria. Bacterial colo-
nies with a green-gold sheen indicate the presence of coliform bacteria.
meter An instrument (usually electronic) used to measure water quality parameters such
as pH.
methyl orange An indicator used in the measurement of the total alkalinity of a water
sample.
mg/L See milligrams per liter.
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GLOSSARY 197
mho (
-1
) A unit of conductance equivalent to the reciprocal of the ohm. This can be
measured on a mhometer.
microbiological Relating to microorganisms and their life processes.
milk dilution bottle See dilution bottle.
milligrams per liter (mg/L) A unit of the concentration of a water or wastewater constit-
uent: 0.001 g of the constituent in 1,000 mL of water. In reporting the results of
water and wastewater analysis it has generally replaced parts per million, to
which it is approximately equivalent.
MMOMUG technique An approved bacteriological procedure for detecting the pres-
ence or absence of total coliforms.
modified Winkler method A modification of the standard Winkler (iodometric) method
that uses an alkali-iodide-azide reagent to make the procedure less subject to
interferences.
Mohr pipette A pipette with a graduated stem used to measure and transfer liquids
when great accuracy is not required.
monitoring Routine observation, sampling, and testing of water samples taken from dif-
ferent locations within a water system to determine water quality, efficiency of
treatment processes, and compliance with regulations.
mottled Spotted or blotched. Teeth can become mottled if excessive amounts of fluoride
are consumed during the years of tooth formation.
MRDL See maximum residual disinfectant level.
muffle furnace A high-temperature oven used to ignite and burn volatile solids, usually
operated at temperatures near 600C.
multiple-tube fermentation (MTF) method A laboratory method used for coliform test-
ing that uses a nutrient broth placed in culture tubes. Gas production indicates
the presence of coliform bacteria.
mutagen A substance that can change the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
and thus change the basic blueprint for cell replication.
National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWRs) Regulations developed under
the Safe Drinking Water Act. The regulations establish maximum contaminant
levels, monitoring requirements, and reporting procedures for contaminants in
drinking water that endanger human health.
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198 WATER QUALITY
natural radioactive series A sequence of elements that exist naturally and decay into
each other in a serial fashion.
negative sample When referring to the multiple-tube fermentation or membrane filter
test, any sample that does not contain coliform bacteria. Also called absence.
nephelometer An instrument that determines turbidity by measuring the amount of light
scattered by turbidity in a water sample. It is the only instrument approved by
the US Environmental Protection Agency to measure turbidity in treated drink-
ing water.
nephelometric turbidimeter See nephelometer.
nephelometric turbidity unit (ntu) The amount of turbidity in a water sample as mea-
sured using a nephelometer.
neurotoxic Having a poisonous effect on nerve tissue.
nomographic method A method that uses a graph or other diagram to solve formulas
and equations.
nontransient, noncommunity public water system A system having its own water supply
and serving an average of at least 25 persons who do not live at the location but
who use the water for more than six months per year.
NPDWRs See National Primary Drinking Water Regulations.
ntu See nephelometric turbidity unit.
Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (OGWDW) The office within the US Envi-
ronmental Protection Agency having responsibility for the administration of the
Safe Drinking Water Act.
Ohm () A unit of resistance measured on an ohmmeter.
opportunistic bacteria Several types of bacteria that are not usually a danger to persons
in good health but can cause sickness or death in persons who are in a weakened
condition.
organic chemical A chemical substance of animal or vegetable origin having carbon in
its molecular structure.
oven A chamber used to dry, burn, or sterilize materials.
oxidant Any chemical substance that promotes oxidation.
WaterQuality.book Page 198 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
GLOSSARY 199
oxidize To chemically combine with oxygen.
PA test See presenceabsence test.
parts per million (ppm) The number of weight or volume units of a constituent present
with each one million units of the solution or mixture. Formerly used to express
the results of most water and wastewater analyses but being replaced by milli-
grams per liter. For drinking water analysis, concentrations in parts per million
and milligrams per liter are equivalent.
pathogens (pathogenic) Disease-causing organisms.
pCi See picocurie.
petrie dish A shallow glass or plastic dish with vertical sides, a flat bottom, and a loose-
fitting cover. Used for growing microbiological cultures.
pH A measure of waters acidity or alkalinity. A scale of 0 to 14 is used, with 0 being
extremely acidic and 14 being extremely alkaline.
phenanthroline method A colorimetric procedure used to determine the concentration of
iron in water.
phenolphthalein indicator A chemical color-changing indicator used in several tests,
including tests for alkalinity, carbon dioxide, and pH.
pH meter A sensitive voltmeter used to measure the pH of liquid samples.
photometer An instrument used to measure the intensity of light transmitted through a
sample or the degree of light absorbed by a sample.
pHs pH of saturation. The theoretical pH at which calcium carbonate will neither dis-
solve nor precipitate. Used to calculate the Langelier saturation index.
picocurie (pCi) The measurement of radioactivity most often used in drinking water
standards, equal to 10
12
Ci.
pipette Slender glass or plastic tube used to measure and transfer small volumes (usually
less than 25 mL) of liquids.
platinumcobalt method A procedure used to determine the amount of color in water.
PN See public notification.
WaterQuality.book Page 199 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
200 WATER QUALITY
point-of-use (POU) treatment A water treatment device used by a water customer to
treat water at only one point, such as at a kitchen sink. The term is also some-
times used interchangeably with point-of-entry treatment to cover all treat-
ment installed on customer services.
positive sample In reference to the multiple-tube fermentation or membrane filter test,
any sample that contained coliform bacteria. Also called presence.
potentiometric method Any laboratory procedure that measures a difference in electric
potential (voltage) to indicate the concentration of a constituent in water.
POU treatment See point-of-use treatment.
ppm See parts per million.
precipitate To separate a substance from a solution or suspension by a chemical
reaction.
precursor compound Any of the organic substances that react with chlorine and other
disinfectors to form trihalomethanes and other disinfection by-products.
presence See positive sample.
presenceabsence (PA) test An approved bacteriological procedure for the detection of
total coliforms. The results are qualitative rather than quantitative.
presumptive test The first major step in the multiple-tube fermentation test. The step
presumes (indicates) the presence of coliform bacteria on the basis of gas produc-
tion in nutrient broth after incubation.
primary enforcement responsibility or primacy The acceptance by federal government,
states or other government entity, regional body, or tribal unit of the responsibil-
ity for enforcing the Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.
probe method See electrode method.
progeny The various new elements that are formed as a result of transmutation of a
radioactive substance.
protozoa Small, single-cell animals, including amoebas, ciliates, and flagellates.
public notification (PN) A required notice to the public given by water systems that vio-
late operating, monitoring, or reporting requirements.
WaterQuality.book Page 200 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
GLOSSARY 201
public water system (PWS) As defined by the Safe Drinking Water Act, any system,
publicly or privately owned, that serves at least 15 service connections 60 days
out of the year, or serves an average of 25 people at least 60 days out of the year.
PWS See public water system.
QA See quality assurance.
QC See quality control.
quality assurance (QA) A program to ensure consistency in analytical results between
laboratories by periodically testing each laboratory through the analyses of a
precisely prepared blind sample.
quality control (QC) A laboratory program of continually checking techniques and cali-
brating instruments to ensure consistency in analytical results.
rad A measure of the dose absorbed by the body from radiation (100 ergs of energy in 1 g
of tissue). The abbreviation stands for radiation absorbed dose.
radioactive decay A process by which the nucleus of an atom transforms to a lower
energy state by emitting alpha, beta, or gamma radiations.
radionuclide A material with an unstable atomic nucleus that spontaneously decays or
disintegrates, producing radiation.
reagent bottle A bottle made of borosilicate glass fitted with a ground-glass stopper,
used to store reagents (standard chemical solutions).
recarbonation The process of adding carbon dioxide as a final stage in the limesoda ash
softening process to convert carbonate to bicarbonates. This process prevents
precipitation of carbonates in the distribution system.
receiver The water treatment system staff member taking information from a customer
regarding a water quality complaint.
reg-neg See regulatory negotiation process.
regulatory negotiation process (reg-neg) A US Environmental Protection Agency pro-
cess drawing on the experience of many people in the water works field to nego-
tiate the various issues in preparing a new draft regulation for public comment.
rem A quantification of radiation in terms of its dose effect on the human body; the
number of rads times a quality factor. The abbreviation stands for radiation
equivalent man.
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202 WATER QUALITY
representative sample A sample containing all the constituents that are in the water from
which it was taken.
routine (required) sample A sample required by the National Primary Drinking Water
Regulations to be taken at regular intervals to determine compliance with the
maximum contaminant levels.
Safe Drinking Water Act A federal law enacted December 16, 1974, setting up a cooper-
ative program among local, state, and federal agencies to ensure safe drinking
water for consumers.
sample bottle A wide-mouth glass or plastic bottle used for taking microbio logical and
chemical water samples.
SDWA See Safe Drinking Water Act.
Secondary Drinking Water Regulations Regulations developed under the Safe Drinking
Water Act that establish maximum levels for substances affecting the taste, odor,
or color (aesthetic characteristics) of drinking water.
selective absorption A method used in gas chromatography to separate organic com-
pounds so their concentrations can be determined.
sequestering A chemical reaction in which certain chemicals (sequestering or chelating
agents) tie up other chemicals, particularly metal ions, so that the chemicals no
longer react. Sequestering agents are used to prevent the formation of precipi-
tates or other compounds.
siemens (s) A unit of conductance equal to 1 ampere per volt.
single-pan balance A balance used to make quick, accurate weight measurements. The
material to be weighed is placed on the pan, and counterweights located on arms
(beams) beneath the pan are adjusted to balance the material, thus indicating the
weight. Also known as a beam balance.
SOCs See synthetic organic chemicals.
sodium hypochlorite A solution of chlorine dissolved in a diluted sodium hydroxide
solution used as a source of chlorine in water treatment. The chemical formula is
NaOCl. Also known as bleach. In old literature the term Javel (Javelle) water
may be used.
solid phase microextraction (SPME) A procedure used in the preparation of samples for
organic analysis in a gas chromatograph using a small treated column filter to
directly extract from the liquid the compounds to be analyzed. The compound
WaterQuality.book Page 202 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
GLOSSARY 203
extracted is determined by the coating on the SPME filter, which is then placed
in the GCMS for thermal desorption. The quantity of the substance present is
directly related to the concentration of the substance in the sample. Readings in
the parts-per-trillion levels are possible. The method can speed analysis time by
up to 70% because of the direct extraction without the use of solvents.
SPADNS method A colorimetric procedure used to determine the concentration of flu-
oride ion in water. SPADNS [sodium 2-(parasulfophenylazo) 1.8-dihydroxy-3,6-
naphthalene disulfonate] is the chemical reagent used in the test.
specific-ion meter A sensitive voltmeter used to measure the concentration of specific
ions (e.g., fluoride) in the water. Electrodes designed specifically for each ion
must be used.
spectrophotometer A photometer that uses a diffraction grating or a prism to control the
light wavelengths used for specific analysis.
splash goggles Safety goggles with shatterproof lenses designed to provide a tight cover-
ing around the eyes, protecting them from chemicals and flying particles.
SPME See solid phase microextraction.
stable Resistant to change.
Surface Water Treatment Rule (SWTR) A federal regulation established by the US
Environmental Protection Agency under the Safe Drinking Water Act that
imposes specific monitoring and treatment requirements on all public drinking
water systems that draw water from a surface water source.
SWTR See Surface Water Treatment Rule.
synthetic organic chemicals (SOCs) Generally applied to manufactured chemicals that
are not as volatile as volatile organic chemicals. Included are herbicides, pesti-
cides, and chemicals that are widely used in industries, such as ethylbenzene,
styrene, and toluene.
TCR See Total Coliform Rule.
TD A mark on a pipette meaning to deliver. The pipette is calibrated to deliver the
calibrated volume of the pipette with a small drop left in the tip.
teratogenic effect A health effect on a fetus.
test tube A slender glass or plastic tube with an open top and rounded bottom. Used for
a variety of tests.
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204 WATER QUALITY
THMs See trihalomethanes.
threshold odor number (TON) A number indicating the greatest dilution of a water sam-
ple (using odor-free water) that still yields a noticeable odor.
time composite A composite sample consisting of several equal-volume samples taken at
specified times.
titration A method of analyzing the composition of a solution by adding known
amounts of a standardized solution until a given reaction or end point (color
change, precipitation, or conductivity change) is produced.
titrimetric method Any laboratory procedure that uses titration to determine the con-
centration of a constituent in water.
TOC See total organic carbon.
TON See threshold odor number.
Total Coliform Rule (TCR) A regulation that became effective December 31, 1990, doing
away with the previous maximum contaminant level relating to the density of
organisms and relating only to the presence or absence of the organisms in water.
total coliform test Either the multiple-tube fermentation or the membrane filter test.
Both tests indicate the presence of the entire coliform group, or total coliforms.
total organic carbon (TOC) The results of a general analysis performed on a water sam-
ple to determine the total organic content of the water.
total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) The total of the concentrations of all the triha-
lomethane compounds found in the analysis of a water sample.
toxic Causing an adverse effect on various body parts (such as the liver or kidneys).
transect An imaginary line along which samples are taken at specified intervals. Transect
sampling is usually done on large bodies of water such as rivers and lakes.
transfer pipette See volumetric pipette.
transient, noncommunity public water system An establishment having its own water sys-
tem, where an average of at least 25 persons per day visit and use the water occa-
sionally or for only short periods of time.
transmutation The changes that take place in a radioactive substance due to radioactive
disintegration.
WaterQuality.book Page 204 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
GLOSSARY 205
trihalomethanes (THMs) A group of compounds formed when natural organic com-
pounds from decaying vegetation and soil (such as humic and fulvic acids) react
with chlorine.
trip blank In organics sampling, a sample container prepared in the laboratory with
laboratory-grade organics-free water. The container travels with the sample col-
lector throughout the sample run and is returned to the laboratory to determine
if contamination was present in the laboratory or any equipment used in the
sampling process.
true color The color of water from which turbidity has been removed.
TTHMs See total trihalomethanes.
turbidimeter An instrument that measures the amount of light impeded or scattered by
suspended particles in a water sample, using a standard suspension as a reference.
turbidity A physical characteristic of water that makes the water appear cloudy. The
condition is caused by the presence of suspended matter.
URTH See unreasonable risk to health.
US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) A US government agency responsible
for implementing federal laws designed to protect the environment. Congress has
delegated implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act to the USEPA.
USEPA See US Environmental Protection Agency.
USPHS See US Public Health Service.
US Public Health Service (USPHS) A government agency that established early stan-
dards for acceptable drinking water quality under provisions of the Interstate
Quarantine Act of 1893.
utility oven A laboratory oven used primarily to dry labware and chemicals prior to
weighing or to sterilize labware.
vacuum pump A pump used to provide a partial vacuum; needed for filtering operations
such as the membrane filter test.
viable Capable of living.
VOCs See volatile organic chemicals.
volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) Lightweight organic compounds that vaporize easily.
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206 WATER QUALITY
volumetric flask A squat bottle with a long, narrow neck used to prepare fixed volumes
of solution. Each flask is calibrated for a single volume only.
volumetric pipette A pipette calibrated to deliver a single volume only.
water still A device used to produce distilled water by evaporation and condensation of
tap water.
waterborne disease Any illness caused by a pathogenic organism carried by water.
zeta potential The resistance between suspended particles in water.
WaterQuality.book Page 206 Friday, April 30, 2010 2:46 PM
207
Index
A
acidity 125
measurements of 125
significance 125
total acidity 125
action levels 32
alkalinity 126, 127
coagulants 127
types of 126
amperometric titration 152
Arsenic Rule 34
artificial radionuclides 175
B
bacteria
in water 111
opportunistic bacteria 111
balances 94
best available technology (BAT) 1
breakpoint 149
breakpoint chlorination 149
C
C T value 28
calcium carbonate stability 127
Langelier Saturation Index (LSI) 127
marble test 127
Ryzner Index 127
sampling 128
significance 127
calibration curve 99
Campylobacter 111
carbon dioxide 147
carbonic acid 147
sampling 147
significance 147
carcinogens 4, 165
chain of custody 64
field log sheet 64
record keeping 64
sampling
samplers liability 64
samplers responsibility 64
chlorination 148
chlorine
combined chlorine residual 149
combined residual 148
demand 148, 150, 152
distribution system sampling 151
DPD method 152
free available residual 148
residual 148, 151
significance 148
treatment plant sampling 151
coagulants 127, 130, 131
coagulation 130, 131
coagulent effectiveness 129
coagulants 130, 131
coagulation and flocculation 130
jar test 130
particle counters 133
particle counting 133
sampling 130
significance 130
streaming current detector (SCD) 132
zeta potential 131
zeta meter 132
coliform bacteria 113, 120
coliform analyses 114
presenceabsence (P-A) method 114
test methods 114
alternate methods 120
completed test 117
confirmed test 117
E. coliprocedure 119
fecal coliform procedure 119
membrane filter (MF) method 120
MMOMUG technique 119
multiple-tube fermentation (MTF)
method 114
coliform bacteria (contd)
presenceabsence (P-A) test 119
presumptive test 114
ten-tube procedure 119
coliforms 24
colloids 131
color of water 134
apparent color 134
color unit 134
platinumcobalt method 135
sampling 135
significance 134
true color 134
colorimeters 97
conductivity 135
sampling 136
significance 135
consumer confidence report (CCR) 30
Consumer Confidence Report Rule (CCR Rule) 36
information 36
timetable 36
contaminants
chemical monitoring requirements 59
chemicals 58
copper
staining 185
corrosion 127, 147, 157
control 32, 128
Cryptosporidium 2, 27, 29, 30, 109, 112, 186
208 WATER QUALITY
prevention 113
customer inquiries and complaint investigation 179
final disposition 181
illness 185187
inquiry form 180
investigation 180
physical appearance 183
staining 184
taste and odor 181183
D
Disinfectant/Disinfection By-Products (D/DBP)
Rule 129
disinfectants 34
disinfection by-products 34
Stage 1 34
Stage 2 35
disinfection 27, 28
disinfection by-products (DBPs) 150, 162
sampling 150
dissolved oxygen (DO) 152
sampling 153
significance 152
Winkler method 153
Distribution System Rule 25
diurnal effect 42
Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List
(DWCCL) 26
E
E. coli 30, 111, 119, 120
electrical conductivity (EC) 97
electrophotometers 99
Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule
(ESWTR) 144
equilibrium point 127
F
Federal Register 38
Filter Backwash Recycling Rule (FBRR) 31
filtration 27, 28, 143
five haloacetic acids (HAA5) 150
flash mixing 130
floc 127, 131
flocculation 130, 131
fluoride 155
electrode method 156
fluoride concentrations 156
sampling 156
significance 155
SPADNS method 156
tooth decay 155
G
gas chromatography 166
concentration 166
detection 166
detector 166
extraction 166
gas chromatograph 166
separation 166
gastroenteritis 25
Giardia 186
Giardia lamblia 26, 27, 112
giardiasis 112
Ground Water Rule (GWR) 26, 35, 44
groundwater 35
H
hardness 136
EDTA method 137
hard water 136
sampling 137
significance 136
soft water 136
hepatitis A virus (HAV) 112
heterotrophic plate count (HPC) procedure 120
performing procedure 122
uses 120
hydrocarbons 161, 162
I
illness 185
complaint disopsition 187
complaint investigation 186
inorganic chemicals 147
carbon dioxide 147
chlorine demand 148
chlroine residual 148
disinfection by-products 150
dissolved oxygen 152
fluoride 155
inorganic metals 153
inorganic nonmetallic compounds 155
iron 156
manganese 157
pH 158
inorganic metals 153
methods of determination 154
sample preservation 153, 154
sampling 153
sources of contamination 154
inorganic nonmetallic contaminants 155
Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule
(IESWTR) 29
iron 156
INDEX 209
absorption spectrophotometric (AA)
method 157
Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP)
analysis 157
iron bacteria 157
phenanthroline method 157
red water 157
significance 157
J
jar test 130
Journal of the American Water Works
Association 38
L
laboratory certification 59
laboratory equipment and instruments 67
analytical laboratory instruments 94106
aspirators 90
balances 9497
laboratory equipment (contd)
analytical balances 95
digital balances 95
double-pan balances 94
locations 95
pan balance 94
rough balance 94
single-pan balances 94
beakers 68
Biochemical Oxygen Demand bottles 71
burettes 68
bottle-top burette 68
burners 92
gas burner 92
cleaning labware 77
colony counters 78
culture tubes 77
deionizers 90
deluge/safety showers 86
desiccators 78
dilution bottles 69
evaporating dishes 75
eye protection 86
chemical splash goggles 86
eyewashes 86
full-face shields 86
filtering crucibles 75
filters 92
filter paper 93
glass-fiber filters 93
membrane filters 93
fire blanket 87
fire extinguishers 86
flasks 69
Erlenmeyer flasks 71
volumetric flasks 71
fume hoods 78
funnels 71
gas chromatographs 106
graduated cylinders 71
hot plates 91
incubators 80
dry-heat incubators 81
low-temperature incubators 81
mechanical-convection incubators 81
water-bath incubators 82
jar test apparatus 82
labware 6777
heat-resistant glass 67
plastic 67
soft (nonheat-resistant) glass 67
magnetic stirrers 93
major laboratory equipment 7885
membrane filter apparatus 82
meters 97103
atomic absorption
spectrophotometer 100
calibration curve 99
color comparators 97
colorimeters 97
electrical conductivity meters 97
electrophotometers 99
nephelometric turbidimeters 102, 103
pH meters 100
photometers 97
plasmamass spectrometry 100
specific-ion meters 101
spectrophotometers 100, 106
turbidimeters 102
microscopes 103
compound microscope 104
wide-field dissecting microscope 103
ovens 83
autoclaves 83
muffle furnaces 83
utility ovens 83
petri dishes 72
pipettes 73
measuring pipettes 73
Mohr pipettes 74
serological pipettes 73
transfer pipettes 74
volumetric pipettes 73, 74
polycarbonate cylinders 71
porcelain dishes 75
reagent bottles 75
refrigerators 84
safety equipment 8690
sample bottles 76
210 WATER QUALITY
support equipment 9094
test tubes 77
vacuum pumps 94
water stills 90, 91
Langelier Saturation Index (LSI) 127, 128, 141
Lead and Copper Rule 31, 50, 135, 136, 141
corrosion control 32
lead and copper 31
lead and copper, health effects of 31
source water 32
Legionella 26, 27, 111
Legionnaires disease 28
lifetime distribution system evaluation (LDSE) 35
liquidliquid extraction 166
Locational Running Annual Average (LRAA) 35
Long-Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment
Rule (LT1ESWTR) 29
Long-Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment
Rule (LT2ESWTR) 30
M
manganese 157
AA method 158
ICP mass spectroscopy (ICPMS) 158
sampling 158
significance 158
staining 158, 185
marble test 127
maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG) 5
maximum contaminant levels (MCL) 4, 5
maximum residual disinfectant level goal
(MRDL/MRDLG) 5
membrane filter (MF) method 120
meniscus 67
microbiological contaminants 109
bacteria 111
coliform analyses 114
coliform bacteria 113
epidemics 109
heterotrophic plate count (HPC)
procedure 120
indicator organisms 113120
opportunistic bacteria 111
protozoa 112
sampling 114
test methods 114
viruses 111
waterborne diseases 110, 112
waterbourne diseases 109
millivolt scale 100
MMOMUG technique 119
multiple-tube fermentation (MTF) method 114
N
N,N-diethyl-p-phenylenediamine (DPD) test
kit 151
National Primary Drinking Water Regulations
(NPDWRs) 1, 4, 49
National Secondary Drinking Water
Regulations 22
nitrate 155
noncarcinogens 164
O
Optimal Corrosion Control 32
organic chemicals
carcinogens 165
health effects 164
measurement 106, 165168
general analytical methods 165
specific analytical methods 166
total organic carbon (TOC) 165
total organic halogen (TOX) 166
noncarcinogens 164
organic compounds 163
sampling 167
See also organic contaminants
organic contaminants 161
algae 163
disinfection by-products 163
humic materials 161
in groundwater 161
in surface water 163
microorganisms 163
natural organic substances 161
synthetic organic substances 164
THMs 163
P
particle counters 133
pH 158
importance 159
pH meters 100
combined/combination electrode 101
millivolt scale 100
scales 100
photometers 97
physical appearance of water
complaint disposition 184
complaint investigation 184
complaints 183
presenceabsence (P-A) test 119
primacy 1
primary enforcement responsibility
See primacy
Proposed Radon in Drinking Water Rule 37
INDEX 211
protozoa 112
Cryptospridium 112
Giardia lamblia 112
public water systems 2
classification 4
community public water systems (CWS) 3
nontransient, noncommunity public water
systems (NTNCWS) 3
transient, noncommunity public water systems
(TNCWS) 3
R
radiation 171
radioactive contaminants 171
alpha particles 171
artificial radionuclides 175
beta radiation 172
gamma radiation 172
in water 173
radium 174
radon 174
uranium 174
radioactivity
electrons 172
final regulation changes 176
gross alpha particle activity 176
health effects 175
interim regulations 176
photons 172
radioactive atom 171
radioactive materials 171
radionuclide monitoring requirements 175
unit of measurement 172
curies 172
radiation absorption dose (rad) 173
roentgen 172
roentgen equivalent man (rem) 173
roentgen equivalent physical (rep) 173
standard curie 172
Radionuclides Rule 30
radium 174, 175
radon 174, 175
red water 157
regulations
action level 32
Arsenic Rule 34
Consumer Confidence Report Rule (CCR
Rule) 36
contaminants 4, 26
current and future rules 2333
Disinfectant/Disinfection By-Products
(D/DBP) Rule, Stage 1 34
Disinfectant/Disinfection By-Products
(D/DBP) Rule, Stage 2 35
Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List
(DWCCL) 26
drinking water program requirements 33
exemptions 20
Filter Backwash Recycling Rule (FBRR) 31
grandfathering 2
Ground Water Rule (GWR) 35
laboratories 59
Lead and Copper Rule 31
legal limits 1, 25
Long-Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water
Treatment Rule (LT1ESWTR) 29
Long-Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water
Treatment Rule (LT2ESWTR) 30
maximum contaminant level goals 5
maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) 4, 5
maximum residual disinfectant level goal
(MRDL/MRDLG) 5
monitoring 20
monitoring and reporting requirements 20
National Primary Drinking Water Regulations
(NPDWRs) 1, 4
National Secondary Drinking Water
Regulations 22
online resources 37
Optimal Corrosion Control 32
primacy 1
Proposed Radon in Drinking Water Rule 37
public notification 1820
public water supply 1
public water systems 24
Radionuclides Rule 30
record keeping 20, 33
reporting 20, 33
Safe Drinking Water Act 1
sampling and testing 20
SDWA amendments 2
standardized monitoring framework 20
Surface Water Treatment Rule 2629
Tier violations
Tier I 18
Tier II 18
Tier III 18
Total Coliform Rule 24
Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule
(UCMR) 26
US Environmental Protection Agency
regulations (contd)
(USEPA) 1
variances 20
violations 18
Water Quality Parameters 33
roentgen 172
running annual averages (RAA) 5
Ryzner Index 127
212 WATER QUALITY
S
Safe Drinking Water Act 164
Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) 1
Salmonella 111
sampling 114
bacteriological sample points 53
calcium carbonate stability 128
carbon dioxide 147
chlorine residual samples 51
coagulent effectiveness 130
coliform analysis 52
collection 55
collection procedures
distribution system 56
special testing purposes 58
treatment plant 56
color 135
conductivity 136
containers 55
contaminants 50
customer faucets 54
dead-end sampling points 54
disinfection by-products 150
dissolved oxygen 153
dissolved oxygen (DO) 42
distribution system sampling 151
fluoride 156
hardness 137
holding times 62
importance 41
inorganic metals 153
in-plant sample points 4849
iron 157
manganese 158
organic compounds 167
preservation 62
problems 63
raw-water sample collection procedures 55
record keeping 61
sample
labeling 61
locations 48
points 50
taps 47, 56
sample cock 44
sample faucets 54, 59
sample-point locations 52
sample-preservation techniques 62
sampling frequency 50
sampling point selection 44
distribution system 49
groundwater 45
groundwater sources 44
raw-water sample point 44
raw-water transmission lines 44
reservoirs and lakes 46, 47
rivers 46
treatment plant 47
storage 62
taste and odor 138
temperature 141
time of sampling 62
total dissolved solids (TDS) 42
transportation 63
shipment 63
treatment plant sampling 151
turbidity 143
turbidity sample 52
types of samples 4144
composite samples 43
continuous samples 43
grab samples 41
well sampling 46
scale formation 136
See also calcium carbonate stability
Science Advisory Board (SAB) 109
Shigella 111
SPADNS method 156
specific-ion meters 101
spectrophotometers 100, 106
staining 184
complaint disposition 185
complaint investigation 185
standardized monitoring framework 20
streaming current detector (SCD) 132
Surface Water Treatment Rule 26, 129, 151
C T values 28
disinfection 27
disinfection residual 29
filtration 27, 28
groundwater 27
requirements 29
surface water 27
treatment technique 27
turbidity 29
waterbourne disease 27
surface-water 41
synthetic organic chemicals (SOCs) 164
T
taste and odor in water 137
complaint disposition 183
complaint investigation 182
complaints 181
flavor profile analysis 140
odor test 138
sampling 138
significance 138
threshold odor number (TON) 138
threshold odor test 139
INDEX 213
temperature 141
sampling 141
significance 141
thermometer 141
threshold odor number (TON) 138, 139
Tier violations 18
titration 68
total acidity 125
Total Coliform Rule (TCR) 24, 119, 129
coliforms 24
gastroenteritis 25
legal limit 25
MCL violation 25
total dissolved solids 142
significance 142
total filterable residue
See total dissolved solids
total organic carbon (TOC) 35, 131, 165
total organic halogen (TOX) 166
total trihalomethane (TTHM) 34
trihalomethanes 150
turbidimeters 102, 133
nephelometric turbidimeters 102, 103, 144
turbidity 130, 131, 142
nephelometric turbidimeter 144
nephelometric turbidity units (ntu) 143
sampling 143
sampling points 144
significance 143
U
Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule
(UCMR) 26
uranium 174, 175
US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) 1
V
viruses 111
hepatitis A virus (HAV) 112
volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) 164
W
water properties 125
acidity 125
alkalinity 126
calcium carbonate stability 127
coagulent effectiveness 129
color 134
conductivity 135
floc 127
hardness 136
taste and odor 137
temperature 141
total dissolved solids 142
turbidity 142
water quality 41
Water Quality Association 38
water quality monitoring 41
chain of custody 64
chemical contaminant monitoring 59
analytical techniques 59
chemical contaminants 58
groundwater 41
laboratories 5961
record keeping 61
sample labeling 61
sampling 4158
Water Quality Parameters 33
waterbourne diseases 27, 109, 110, 112
health risks 110
waterbourne illness 186
Winkler method 153
Z
zeta meter 132
zeta potential 131

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