Water Quality Overview with Links to Reports

The quality of water being consumed is a great determinant of the quality of life of people. Do you want to live a healthy life? Always take make sure the water you are consuming is of high quality.

What is water quality?

The United States Geological Survey [https://www.usgs.gov/special-topics/water-science-school/science/water-quality-questions-answers] (USGS) defines Water Quality as the water sustainability measurement for specific utility in consideration of biological, physical, and chemical factors. In short, water quality is dependent on the purpose of humans and the needs of land and species and it is measured in various parameters;

Chemical parameters of water quality

Involves measuring the contact of water and the environment characteristics like Hardness, Ph., and level of oxygen dissolved.

Physical parameter

This parameter applies the physical senses of smell, touch, taste, and smell to determine the color, taste, temperature, odor, and amount of dissolved solids.

Biological parameter

These are measurement that determines the presence of algae, protozoa, and viruses.

Did you know you can use the above parameters to test the water in the laboratory or at home? If you need highly accurate results of water quality analysis, a laboratory test is best as all biological, physical, and chemical parameters are measurable. However, high expenses are incurred in this process.

To avoid time high expenses of laboratory water quality testing, you can use home-based testing by use of color disks, strips, and digital instruments to determine the level of water contamination and its quality. To perfectly be able to test water quality, one must understand various categories of water quality.

What Are Recognized Categories of Water Quality?

Water Quality for industrial and domestic Use

“Process Water” is a specific name given to water used in the industrial setting. This type of water is used in power generation and manufacturing procedures. The standard quality requirement of process water is for preventing industrial product contamination. The process used to determine quality water for industries varies according to different reports like the “Green Book” ( FWPCA,1968 [https://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/382.html] ) criteria varies from the” Blue Book” criteria. However, WHO has set standards for pharmaceutical industries which are based on sanitization, storage, and bioburden control.

Water Quality for Human use

As part of public health policy, water quality for human use covers water for cooking and drinking. The Un Resolution 64/292 July 2010 declared that “ Portable water [https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/687002?ln=en] ” for human consumption is a right for every human being.

Environmental Water Quality

For the sake of preservation of both flora and fauna in wetlands, oceans, swamps, and lakes, Environmental water quality is of much importance. Various government organizations like the US EPA sets regulations for different subsections of environmental water quality like protection of waterfowl, shorebirds, and all aquatic wildlife. Environmental water quality has effects on the people and higher-order organisms whose food transfer is dependent on the ecosystem. With this in mind, it’s crucial to understand the importance of water quality.

What are the benefits of water quality?

Water quality has immense benefits in that it enables the end users to maintain their health and function if the water standards remain high as follows;

* Water quality has effects on human health

Human illnesses can result from poor quality of potable water used by humans for consumption or recreation. The burden of diseases like Cholera, hepatitis A, and polio globally is a result of the consumption of water contaminated with microbial bacteria (WHO).

* Effects of water quality on the environment

The survival of flora and fauna is dependent on water quality. Water contaminated by chemical leakages, oil spills, and garbage destroys the biological and ecosystem processes. Organizations like the US (NOAA) have proved oil spills in oceans have harmful impacts on aquatic organisms.

* Effects of Water quality on the industry

Close to every type of industry needs different quantities and quality of water to operate. For instance, Medical electronics and computer industries utilize deionized water free from dissolved minerals. In that case, water contaminated with minerals could result in the production of faulty products and equipment.

What factors affect the quality of water?

Runoff

This is the water that runs across the land surface into the water bodies. Water runoffs collect industrial and agricultural contaminants like litter and fertilizers that pollute water.

Atmospheric pollution

When carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and other air pollutants mix with air during rainfall, the resultant is contaminated water from the acidic rain.

Sedimentation from erosion

Soil erosion degrades the water quality as a result of naturally occurring chemicals in the soil being sediment in water bodies during soil erosion.

How do you test water quality?

The test on water quality can be done either at home or at a water quality laboratory.

Water quality testing in the laboratory

First, you need to collect water samples in bottles that are sterilized and conduct water analysis in a certified laboratory. This test takes a little bit longest but is the most accurate method. Laboratory water quality testing analysis hundreds of chemical, radiological, and biological parameters.

Water quality testing at home

This method is relatively fast in testing the concertation of various water components at home. The following procedure is approved by Jessica Ann, a World Bank water specialist;

i. TEST STRIPS: Depending on the concentration of water parameter being tested, the water strip changes in color when dipped in water. The strip paper method of water quality testing is cheap and is available for various parameters including Ph., nitrates, hardness, and TDS.

ii. COLOUR DISK KITS: Unlike test strips, color disk kits test only one parameter. The sample of water being tested is added with liquid powder in a plastic container then put in a color disk and then rotated till the color of water changes then analyzed in comparison with the water sample.

iii. USE OF DIGITAL INSTRUMENTS: They are electronic gadgets that are used in testing water quality at home. They particularly measure solids, pH, and temperatures.

Importantly, remember to follow guidelines of international organizations such as the World Health Organizations Guidelines for Drinking Water that set the water quality standards.

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