Turbidity – Everything You Need to Know


Turbidity refers to the measure of cloudiness or haziness of a liquid. Cloudiness in liquid is usually caused by particles suspended in it, such as dirt, oil, minerals, algae, bacteria, proteins, and more. Turbidity is usually measured by passing light through a sample and analysing the presence of such suspended particles in it. Higher turbidity corresponds to the increased quantity of particles present in the solution.

Turbidity Measurement – How it Started?

Turbidity was initially measured with what was known as the Jackson Candle Method. In this method, a vertical glass tube will be positioned above a candle, after which the sample liquid will be poured into the tube until the candle flame is not visible when viewed from above. The more water poured into the tube, the clearer the liquid. The unit of measurement for this method was called Jackson Turbidity Units. This method, however led to inaccuracies in turbidity measurement.

Kingsbury, Clark, and Williams discovered Formazin in 1926. This led to the introduction of a new unit of turbidity measurement called the Formazin Turbidity Units. This method paved the way for more accurate readings and is still being used today. There are quality equipment such as the Sigrist Aquascat used today to measure turbidity.

Why is Turbidity Important?

– Turbidity is the standardised metric used to determine the quality of water. This is adopted by drinking water facilities and pollution testing centres.

– Reducing or removing turbidity is the main purpose behind drinking water treatments. Turbidity will be measured multiple times throughout the procedure, unless the quality of water is in compliance with the regulations. Drinking impure water that contains particles such as soil, dirt etc lead to the spread of water borne diseases.

– As mentioned earlier, turbidity measurement using the Sigrist Aquascat meter helps easily detect the presence of suspended particles, after which the water is subjected to treatment.

– Besides drinking water treatment, turbidity is also used for pollution testing. Cloudiness in water means that it is polluted by external elements. Water containing sediments and toxins from industrial and construction wastes can adversely impact aquatic life, which further leads to other environmental concerns.

– Turbidity is also commonly used by various businesses involved in the food and beverage industry.

Tips to Properly Use the Turbidity Meter:

1. Always prepare the Sigrist turbidity meter as per the manufacturer’s instructions before beginning to use.

2. Wear gloves while taking the measurement

3. Vibrations can result in wrong readings, therefore take measurements on a stable surface.

4. Start measuring the turbidity as soon as you collect the sample for more accuracy.

5. Don’t forget to calibrate the turbidity meter.

6. Make sure that the cuvettes are clean, inside and out. Don’t use the ones that are etched or scratched.

7. Once you fill the samples, give some time for the bubbles to escape.

Ready to purchase a turbidity instrument? Get in touch with a manufacturer today!

The author is presently working at a water testing facility for over 4 years. In this article, he gives some insight on turbidity measurement using a turbidity instrument and its role in water quality. Visit https://prodetec.com.au/

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