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What Happens if Water Turbidity Gets Too High?
Wednesday, August 14, 2019

You arrive at the lake for a beautiful day of swimming and fishing. Except there's only one problem. The lake is cloudy and opaque.

This is not the picturesque lake day you had imagined.

Is that water still safe to swim in? Should you eat the fish you catch out of that lake? What is causing the murkiness?

In order to appreciate the implications for this lake, you need to gain an understanding of water turbidity. Read on to learn all you need to know about what turbidity!

What is Water Turbidity?

Turbidity is a measure of how relatively clear water appears to be.

If water is described as highly turbid, it means that a small amount of light is able to penetrate through the water. This indicates that there is a high number of particles or sediment suspended in or dissolved in the water.

If water has low turbidity, it appears more clear. There is less matter, or particles, suspended or dissolved in the water.

Although turbidity indirectly indicates the amount of matter in the water, it is actually a measure of the relative clarity of the water as defined by the amount of light that is scattered by particles in the water column.

Water Turbidity and the Environment

While highly turbid water does appear less aesthetically pleasing, it can also be an indicator of water quality. When considered in conjunction with other parameters, such as suspended solids, the percentage of dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, electrical conductivity, etc., it can help us understand whether the body of water is healthy or not.

Large amounts of matter in the water column limits the amount of sunlight that can penetrate the water. This can shrink the photic zone. In turn, this can decrease plant life in rivers, lakes or other bodies of water that are highly turbid.

Without plants or algae, which are sunlight dependent, the rest of the food chain is cut off. This makes for less diverse and overall less healthy aquatic environments.

Water Turbidity and Human Health

Although turbid water is not inherently unhealthy, it can contain particles that should not be consumed by humans. Some of these problematic particles can include metals or other types of sediment that can negatively affect human health.

Some studies have shown a decrease in harmful protozoa when water turbidity is decreased. Removing particles removes attachment places for bacteria and other harmful substances.

Check Your Water Turbidity Today!

Turbidity does not directly indicate whether the water is safe for swimming or fishing, but it does give you an indirect idea of what is going on with the water quality.

Drinking water must meet very stringent standards for water turbidity. If you notice a problem with your drinking water, or just want to know more about how to measure water turbidity, contact us today!

We can answer all of your water turbidity questions and help set your mind at ease.

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